5 Insider Tips for Running a Shared Workspace

By Amanda Fanoun · 09.06.2016 · 5 MIN READ

By David Kinnaird, President, essensys

Today’s modern workforce – from freelancers and entrepreneurs to large businesses – has never had so many workspace options. The rising cost of commercial real estate in urban areas and the increased competition among shared workspace operators accentuates the need for providers to stay competitive and to make cash.

Based on over 10 years’ experience with one of the UK’s largest providers of shared workspace, I’d like to share some insight to help you succeed. Whether you already operate shared space or have plans to integrate it into your offering, here is some food for thought.

Retain your members

To avoid churn and grow long term relationships and income, shared workspace operators need to diligently track key performance indicators (KPIs). New members are hard to come by and all have an acquisition cost, whether that’s through Pay Per Click ads, broker commissions or your own hard graft. Measure your success in engaging with leads and derive your key ratios here. Once your prospects are onboard as customers, measure member stay duration and use this as a KPI. Capture and categorize reasons for leaving too, using this insight to focus service improvement efforts.

You need easy access to this information – along with other occupancy data, sales and revenue stats – all in one place. The right technology platform gives you it in the form of actionable reports. Derive from these a plan to continuously improve operations and boost member satisfaction.

You can’t retain everyone. For example, some members may outgrow your space. But you do need to prioritize and fix all other factors that are in your control to ensure you retain who you can.

Polish your service delivery

Assuming your space is clean and well designed, and your coffee drinkable, what else is important? You need to create a frictionless journey through your space, making the most of self-service. The initial point of contact – from a prospect easily finding you online and booking tours to purchasing a desk or booking meeting rooms – must be simple and intuitive. Once in your space, your members need everything at their fingertips so that their day-to-day within the space requires minimal extra effort.

Features such as cloud-enabled door access control, 24/7 meeting room booking capability and on-demand access to third-party products and services will touch a new dimension of service for your members. While it’s all about the members, let’s be honest… operator profitability is in everyone’s interest. A seamless member experience transforms satisfaction. Members grow and renew with you, buying more of the products and services that you offer.

Increase member satisfaction

As well as the aforementioned length of stay stats, regularly measure satisfaction by asking members how they feel about what you do (or don’t do). This is about more than ‘Net Promoter Scores’. Face to face, email, phone, short and long answers… mix it up and bring it together.

An integrated software solution lets shared workspace operators easily interact with their members with direct messaging functionality, while gaining actionable insight around member patterns and trends. Use the latter to adapt member events and activities, tailoring your services to drive a member-focused environment. All this adds up to a sticky mix that again, will help you retain even the most fickle client for longer.

Use technology to improve operational efficiency

Starting with the basics, keep a beady eye on their bottom line. Typically, too much operational time and effort is wasted manually feeding multiple inefficient systems and spreadsheets. Members become frustrated waiting for their requests to be fulfilled or to receive basic information, and both their satisfaction and growth are stifled.

Replacing disparate hardware, software and applications with a solution based around a single, smart, software platform drastically reduces the overheads of managing multiple contracts and systems, and the manual labor involved in admin tasks. Now you can dedicate more time and resources to your members, for example in the form of running engaging events and building a valuable community.

Unlock real value through technology that has automation-based self-service at its core. Better manage your sites and engage deeper with your community. Specific requests such as booking meeting rooms, provisioning IT and communications, and resetting Wi-Fi passwords can all be done on-demand from anywhere, coordinated via the platform and mobile app. Give tenants the control they crave while taking the burden off your shoulders.

Speaking of community…

The modern workforce demands more than a desk, phone and Internet connection. Unlimited coffee, beer on tap,  office food service and Friday happy hours are a bonus. However, Members seek productive collaboration. A powerful social platform that helps build a digital interconnected member community is key to achieving this. For more, see my colleague Claire Luik’s recent blog piece How to drive revenue through community nurturing technology.

Tying it all together

Running a successful shared workspace in such a competitive industry is challenging for most operators. Making the most of easy-to-use software that enables an efficient, collaborative environment and features on-demand product and service access is essential for the growth of both operators and their members.

About the Author

Amanda Fanoun

I've been writing content about flexible office and technology for essensys since 2015. My focus is to bring engaging and insightful perspectives to the flexible workspace sector of the commercial real estate industry.