In recent years, a slew of co-working spaces has been sprouting up across the globe. More and more business people are flocking there, leaving their home and corporate offices behind. Alas, depending on how well designed and organized it is, a co-working space can be a boon or bane of one’s productivity. It is up to owners, operators, and managers to set high standards and provide an optimal environment for positive workspace experience. There are many moving parts to keep an eye on, but we shall underline the most crucial ones.
First of all, the layout and main design solutions must reflect the wants, needs, and habits of the target audience. Note that many co-working spaces feature an open office plan. This is more than a passing fad: it maximizes chance encounters, interaction, networking, and collaboration opportunities. At the same time, this type of layout tends to produce higher noise levels and hampers the workflow of those in need of peace and quiet.
To offset this drawback, managers and owners can combine open and communal areas with quiet and enclosed rooms. Indeed, it is not uncommon to see co-working offices with a diverse set of areas, including permanent workstations, temporary “hot desks”, private team rooms, breakout spaces, conference rooms, chill out zones, and private rooms. Try to weigh all the pros and cons before taking the plunge. Striking a fine balance is paramount.
One aspect that gets overlooked in many co-working spaces is acoustics. Namely, keeping the noise to the minimum helps everyone stay focused and productive. It is best to consult a professional here and do a proper assessment of the space. And, do not fret if the findings are worrisome. There is a wide array of solutions that mitigate noise levels: sound deadening floor coverings, wall panels, ceiling treatments, area rugs, carpets, etc.
Security is another major concern. Depending on the type of members, it may be wise to have someone managing the space, such as a receptionist checking daily passes. In addition, see if you can bolster security with key/card software, lockable storage, and video surveillance. Likewise, have a system in place for lost keys and key cards. For instance, if your space is open around the clock, you might want to consider a 24-hour locksmith in order to prevent lockouts and other problems.
Upon entering co-working space, people first notice its design and furnishings. They will, however, also expect a minimum set of amenities that elevate day-to-day habits. Wireless, fast-speed internet is on the top of the list of priorities, followed by ergonomic chairs and desks. Beyond that, co-working offices usually contain kitchen facilities, change rooms, lavatories, printers, copiers, coffee machines, showers, lockers, and entertainment.
Finally, let us not overlook storage space. It is a game-changer in every office, a tool for banishing clutter and mess. There is a multitude of solutions to ponder, from small desk organizers and drawers to floating shelves and cabinets. It is probably a good idea to utilize vertical and wall-mounted units because you get to save precious floor space that way. Make sure to keep everything that is not required on a regular basis out of the way and sight.
When designing a co-working space a “build it and they will come” mentality does not cut it. It is essential to plan and organize ahead of time. So, make the most of the benefits (like communal spirit) and keep detriments (such as noise) at bay. Never lose sight of functionality and individual work patterns. Awaken inspiration and creativity without distracting and overwhelming people. Provide the right utilities and comfortable and ergonomic furniture. It is time to put together a space conductive to reaching the productivity Zen.