A coworking space is a location where people can collaborate and share ideas. You can visit a coworking space to meet new people, complete tasks, and possibly even find a job.
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Co-working spaces are a cost-effective solution for small businesses and remote workers who need a workspace but cannot afford to rent an independent office space. Recently, co-working spaces have gained immense popularity as they are economical and help small and medium businesses boost productivity.
According to a report by Reportlinker, the market for co-working spaces is expected to grow from $13.60 Billion in 2021 to $16.17 Billion in 2022. Perhaps the reason for acceptance of the co-working trend is that not everyone can comfortably work from home. A shortage of space, a lack of a conducive environment, or family priorities make it difficult for many corporate workers, freelancers, and entrepreneurs to work from home to build a good career. In such situations, co-working spaces offer a reasonable and comfortable alternative.
If you own a co-working space, you will agree that the domain presents unique business challenges regarding client satisfaction. A recent survey by Clutch revealed the following top six co-working space challenges encountered by workers –
- Distractions and noise
- Lack of privacy
- Limited space
- Insufficient equipment
- Inability to personalize the workspace
- Security/safety issues
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The good news is that overcoming challenges in co-working spaces is possible. If addressed in time – it may improve your brand reputation and help retain your membership base. Here’s a look at some practical solutions to the top 6 challenges of working in a shared office space:
1. Distractions and noise
Co-working spaces allow members to interact and network with each other. But a side effect of an interactive co-working space is a disturbance. Distractions and noise are the number one complaint received by co-working spaces. To solve the problem of noise and distractions, offer noise-cancelling headphones to members, confine business discussions to meeting or conference rooms, or offer private areas for teams to sit.
2. Lack of Privacy
Privacy at the workplace is essential for employees to feel comfortable and focused. Finding privacy in co-working spaces is difficult, especially in a big team. Here are some reasons why you should strive to offer better privacy to your members in your co-working space:
- Ideation: It is easier for employees to privately discuss their ideas with trusted colleagues before proposing them to the larger group.
- Concentration & Creativity: Privacy is essential for tasks that need quiet reflection, concentration, and creativity.
- Employee Involvement: It is easier for employees to engage and involve in a workplace that balances collaborative and private spaces.
To solve the challenge of lack of privacy, offer private rooms and shared spaces to your members. Members can also be allowed to reserve private areas for a few hours whenever needed.
3. Limited Space
Co-working spaces with shared desk membership often struggle with limited spaces. When two or more employees are compelled to share a single desk, or if people are seated too close together for comfort – it affects employee satisfaction and productivity. People mustn’t feel limited by their physical surroundings at the workplace. Solving the problem of limited spaces usually means investing in a larger space. However, you can also opt for temporary solutions like adopting a hybrid working model wherein some employees can work from home while some work from the office. You can also book one or more cubicles to rotate among employees so that everyone can have extra space.
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4. Insufficient Equipment
Smooth-functioning office equipment is essential to efficient work in an office. Co-working spaces may offer a great work environment and attractive perks, but they often fall short on quality equipment. Insufficient equipment may result in operational difficulties for members. Some of the standard requirements for equipment are:
- Fast and secure internet connection
- Accessible outlets
- Extension cords
- Printers and scanners
- Audio-visual presentation equipment
- Comfortable seats for employees
- Stationery supplies
- Kitchen or pantry appliances and supplies
Solving the problem of insufficient equipment requires long-term planning and budgeting. If your co-working space lacks the right equipment, you could cut down some other perks and divert those funds towards buying your team’s equipment. You could also plan to book equipment offered by the co-working space before someone else occupies it.
Additionally, you can also provide other facilities such as automated tools to simplify the work of your employees. For example, you can invest in inexpensive email marketing tools such as Salesmate, ActiveCampaign, SendinBlue, and MailChimp.
5. Inability to Personalize the Workspace
Personalizing their designated space in the office helps employees feel comfortable. Some people want pictures of their family, others decorate their desks with colourful accessories, and others like motivational posters or awards to make the space their own.
But in co-working spaces, if your team has a floating desk membership, your seats may not remain the same every day. Some co-working offices have policies that forbid members from using their branding or personal decorations on the premises. This inability to personalize the workspace may not sit well with members.
Co-working spaces should define branding and space personalization guidelines for their members. Some items, certain kinds of wall décor, or desk color may be allowed. Also, members who wish to personalize their space may pay extra for reserving their seats/area in the office. Then they may redecorate that area to suit their preference.
6. Security & Safety Issues
Many members cited safety and security issues as a prime concern in the survey by Clutch. Using common wi-fi may compromise critical business data. Also, co-working spaces don’t take any responsibility for member-owned equipment or device on their premises.
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Co-working spaces must go the extra mile to assure members of the safety and security of their working space. Here are some tips for better security in a co-working space:
- Offer members a lockable storage space for storing any valuable equipment.
- All meeting and conference rooms must be soundproof.
- Access to the shop floor should be restricted with different access cards.
- Extensive cybersecurity checks should be put in place to ensure network safety.
- Surveillance cameras, alarm systems, and guards maintain a visitor log for the office.
Every work environment has its challenges. Minor adjustments can go a long way in establishing long-term memberships and bringing about satisfaction for members in a co-working space. Similarly, there are challenges faced by co-working members, but members and co-working space managers should both strive to reach a middle ground in the relationship. Co-working spaces should do what best they can to make members feel comfortable in the space, while members must understand that the co-working experience is different from that of exclusive office space.
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Kelly Barcelos is a progressive digital marketing manager for Jobsoid. She is responsible for leading the content and social media teams at work. Her expertise and experience in the field of HR enable her to create value-driven content for her readers – both on Jobsoid’s blog and other guest blogs where she publishes content Regularly.