For many of your members, accessing a coworking space means no longer working alone at home. It’s also the end of spending hours at a café finishing a presentation while being distracted by the conversation at the neighboring table and struggling to send the presentation due to faulty Wi-Fi. Your coworkers expect to finally have basic equipments to enjoy the best conditions for work and concentration. There are two major questions you must answer: First, what is your visual brand and what atmosphere do you wish to create for your coworkers? Second, what equipment and material do you need to achieve this?
Basic equipments for dividing up space
A coworking space is usually 50% open space, 18% regular offices, 17% meeting rooms, 8% for events, and the few remaining square meters for miscellaneous rooms.
Modularity is integral to the layout of your space. Indeed, coworkers must make the space their own in order for it to evolve according to their needs. Don’t be alarmed if certain issues with the furniture or layout still need to be resolved, the main thing is for your users to take full ownership of your space. While 18% of French spaces choose to be totally open, the rest choose a mix of fixed and flexible design, as opposed to only 3% that offer only traditional offices: modularity is key for your space!
Open space: originally designed for improving worker efficiency, but eventually acknowledged its bitter failure several years later. The loss of privacy and the noise cast doubt on this office arrangement, yet all coworking spaces are built around an open space, often incorporating partitioned offices, workstations, and various other setups. This is because in a coworking space it is understood that even if it is not customized for all uses, open space, used well, naturally facilitates meetings and exchanges between workers.
Open space here is designed for a functional modularity or even mobility, which allows the space to transform quickly for events. Note that very few coworking spaces have a room dedicated solely for events, often due to space and to encourage exchanges between coworkers and event visitors.
Modular layout: this type of layout has the advantage of being an excellent compromise between privacy and independence and easy access. You want to see your colleague face to face? No problem, but you can also isolate yourself if necessary. The wall partitions are also very effective and block noise.
A coworking space is a pleasant, friendly place where the visual setting is very important. Favoraunified style for the shade and color of your furniture. Color is dynamic and motivating for your coworkers. It’s up to you to find the right mood for your space and furniture.
Secure and mobile storage cabinets must be available. For furniture, choose simple, attractive pieces that are in harmony with your chosen ambiance. Find a happy medium in between designer furniture and furniture from a flea market; try to balance classic designs with more daring pieces. For chairs, look for comfort. Take the time to test them to make the best choice between rolling chairs and armchairs, between design and practicality. Finally, have plants in your space! Everyone will breath better.
A poorly planned space will be a noisy space. Certain items are indispensable, such as the meeting room, telephone cabinet, or waiting room. If you do not have them, you can expect complaints about the noise level in your coworking space. Several options are available: if you have many rooms, establish a chart outlining the different noise levels allowed in each, from total silence to noisy brainstorming. This promotes productivity for your coworkers and the social links within your community. You can also group your coworkers by industry: jobs related to communication and sales will be chattier and thus louder, while artistic professions will often need quiet.
If you do not have enough space partitioned, operate based on the time of day: quiet in the morning, unlimited talking and telephone calls after lunch, etc.
Basic equipments for different rooms
Ideally, you have to create several rooms so several atmospheres : a quiet and studious zone and a noisier, livelier area.
Whether your space includes several offices or an open space, the kitchen and eating area are generally lively, shared rallying points. Don’t underestimate their power, and reserve a relatively large space for them. This is where your coworkers will relax, chat, and build relationships. A well-used, lived-in kitchen is at the heart of an active community. This is also an opportunity to create a communal living area in which everyone can have a good time together and meet outside of working hours. It is a meeting place that contributes to your coworkers’ well-being. The eating area adds value to the space, because it allows coworkers to stay in during their breaks. This saves time and money for your users, since each person has the option to eat out or prepare their meals. You must determine what you want to make available to your coworkers: a coffee machine, kettle, microwave, stove, oven, refrigerator, utensils, dishes, etc. Coffee, like Wi-Fi, is vital to your space! It may sound silly but this drink is truly a daily ritual, an essential for many coworkers. Many coworking spaces offer free coffee in the kitchen to encourage social interaction and add value to the basic service. Some even set aside a dedicated coffee room. Pay attention to your coffee machine, it must hold up to constant use and provide a large volume of coffee each day. And don’t forget to include tea. Non-coffee or tea- drinkers will be all the more appreciative.
The meeting room is a professional workplace, indispensable to a coworking space. It enables your coworkers to meet with each other or with clients. It is an asset and selling point, as some coworkers are purely interested in this service alone. We also recommend that you rent it out as a source of income.
Above all, a meeting room must be tailored to members’ needs: client presentations, training, staff meetings. For an average-sized coworking space, a meeting room for ten people is generally sufficient. Don’t forget to ask the cleaning fairy to regularly visit the meeting room. Also encourage your members to clean or at least dispose of any waste (paper, bottles, food trays) in the room after using it.
It is important that the room is adequately equipped. This includes the traditional white board, video-projector, audiovisual or videoconference system, VGA/HDMI and Mac connectors, computer chargers, conference phone, TV… Don’t forget a water fountain or to provide bottled water.
A meeting may be a decisive moment for your coworker (contract negotiations, presenting a prototype, or brainstorming), so you must provide everything he or she needs to have total confidence. You want his or her experience in the room to be a complete success. Don’t skimp on the quality of the furniture, both for your members and also for you, because this place represents you. Install adjustable tables so the room can be reconfigured as needed.
Your space will eventually have a distinct ambiance, determined by your coworkers’ activities. For example, will they need a space to make phone calls? It is essential to have a space in which your coworkers can exhale, breathe, and relax. For your relaxation area, why not have a large entrance, an unoccupied room, or a terrace for phone calls, informal discussion, and private conversations?
Try to give this room the welcoming and relaxing feeling that your find in a hotel lounge where guests wander, sit back in an armchair, chat pleasantly, etc.