If you wish to convert a room, rooms, bungalow, or garage as a coworking space you need to think like an operator. As a coworking space operator, designing your workspace right is a vital part of starting out on the right foot. You can give yourself a vastly greater chance of success if you can offer a broad range of space and membership types to attract people with different financial means and workspace needs.
Some people need a hardwired connection. Others, especially in open coworking areas, are fine with wifi. Offer both options to appeal to a broad range of professionals. (Remember, you can charge more for your spaces with hard-wired connections.) Some of your members will need locking storage. Others will have their whole world in their laptop or tablet. Offer locking storage options for those who want to store items at the space.
One of the important design elements of a coworking space is a courtyard feel, with the open coworking area as your central hub. This creates a vibrancy in the space and prevents your private office members from being isolated. People are in a coworking center because they want vibrancy and connection.
Help people feel like they’re in an open, welcoming space while they’re in your workspace. One way is to add human elements, such as plants and art and a few comfy, cozy seating areas.
To create an efficient, sustainable coworking space, you need to design for appropriate workspace dimensions. People will gravitate to the type of space plan that gives them the room they need for how they have to (or like to) work. If you offer more types of space, you can attract more types of professionals.
Here are the basic modules used:
Coworking station: 3-4 feet wide x 2 feet deep. The 2 foot dimension can be reduced down to 20-22 inches to leave more open space. (2 foot is a standard dimension, but if you’re making furniture, you can reduce this.) The smallest coworking area we’d recommend is 20 inches x 36 inches, if configured in a “library table” setup, with power down the middle of the table.
Dedicated desk: 2 feet x 5 feet with locking storage. Dedicated desks typically include a small filing cabinet attached under the desk.
Workstation: 6 feet x 6 feet: Workstations have locking storage and a hardwired connection. They also include a file cabinet underneath the desk and sometimes one cabinet overhead, as well. They should also be able to have a phone connected. For our Satellite locations, we like to custom design our workstations so they’re really beautiful, but you can buy pre-built cubes.
Avoid shopping for workspace furniture before knowing what you’re looking for. Know the dimensions of what you need for each type of workspace and the distribution of workstations in your coworking space.
If you have an office with a window, you can charge a lot more for it. But, if you take all your windows for offices, you make your coworking area very unpleasant. Prioritize the distribution of light throughout your space to make every area appealing and bright.
Try not to make just one big open space. You want people to feel like they’re in neighborhoods. Create areas with library rules and others where people can be noisier; create designated break areas; create designated kitchen areas. These things all add variety and work options for members.
It’s very important in a workspace that your provide access to electricity everywhere. Members won’t stick around if they can’t conveniently keep their computers and devices charged. Be sure you have outlets anywhere someone may be sitting. Library-style tables make this a lot easier. The power can be run down the table, and many people in open coworking areas prefer this kind of seating.
While these tips are applicable to the larger commercial arrangements there is no reason why you can not incorporate these features in your home office or work area that you wish to rent. Bring the outside in and the inside out to create open spaces.