Opening a Coworking Space 101: Workspace Technology

Workspace Technology

Don’t skimp on technology. Internet infrastructure is the most essential service you will provide in your Coworking space. Your members rely on your workspace technology to run their businesses and yours won’t tick properly without it. Starting a shared workspace will require capital outlay at the beginning in some areas that you can skirt around, but when it comes to workspace technology, this is a pillar that you must make an investment in.

Well before construction begins on the workspace, partner with a technology company who can advise on all of your IT infrastructure needs before your Coworking space opens. For example, cabling your space is a task that is much easier and cheaper when done during the build out phase. Planning to be 100% wireless? Think again. Run cables at fit out for wired internet connectivity for optimal connections for your members, and to save strain on your budget down the line.

Network, VOIP and Wi-Fi

Only high-quality infrastructure and data networking designed for multi-tenanted buildings can deliver the support and member experience that your members will demand. The right Wi-Fi infrastructure can even help you to attract corporate memberships that seek not only network privacy and security, but also the flexibility and mobility that comes with Coworking. Here are a few key points to remember when it comes to your workspace technology system:

  1. Multiple, disparate systems won’t work.
    They will require a dedicated IT specialist or pricey consultant to provision, manage and monitor, resulting in greater overhead, resource consumption, and poor member experience.
  2. Technology is constantly changing.
    Running a space and managing your workspace technology systems won’t allow you to upgrade your infrastructure or keep pace with advancing technologies. You run the risk of missing out on new ways to increase revenue, tenant stickiness, and even losing customers to the next best technologically advanced workspace.
  3. Don’t Underserve Your Members
    Patched IT systems leave gaps in security and quality of service. The objective is to tier appropriate services to the different types of users within your shared workspace. Outsource the task to experienced service providers who understand the intricacies of multi-tenanted properties and can enable you and your customers to self-serve and consume IT services such as bandwidth and advanced voice services at the click of a button.
  4. Disparate Systems Don’t Scale
    Planning to open a second location once your first reaches capacity? Multiple systems in more than one location mean double or triple the work and cost to replicate and manage. Implement a fully-managed system built for multi-tenanted workspaces in order to scale easily when you grow.

Internet and Wi-Fi

Due to the flexible nature of Coworking, you won’t be able to run without Wi-Fi, however, you absolutely cannot overlook network cabling throughout your space. In fact, it should be a priority when you fit out your space. Running cable can be expensive at first, but it’s even more costly if you do it after opening your Coworking space. Cabled connectivity will reduce the strain on your Wi-Fi network and noticeably improve speeds, especially among resident members.

When implementing your Wi-Fi, you must focus on security. Complex passwords won’t cut it. You will leave your business and members susceptible to malicious users who can easily hack your system. Enterprise-level security and a double authentication process to access your wireless network may be more tedious a process but will result in a much more secure network for all. Your guest Wi-Fi network should also be secured. Not only can you control who is on your network, but you can capture contact information for marketing purposes with their consent.

Phones

Despite the increase in mobile phone usage over the past decade, there are many companies that opt for VOIP services. If you’re building out your Coworking space with corporates in mind, phones are an IT feature that drive additional revenue that you won’t want to miss out on.

About Software

In addition to internet, Wi-Fi, and phones, the way you gather and utilize data is vital to the efficiency and success of your Coworking business. From member onboarding and service provisioning to billing, and your member portal a workspace management platform that underpins your Coworking space enables you to be more agile and efficient across all areas of your business and improves member experience.

It’s been proven over and over that manual spreadsheets don’t work. You may not be planning to open a second or third workspace immediately, but having a platform in place from day one will facilitate scaling your business model across multiple locations for easy management and high-level views of your operation, from CRM to payment collection. In-house and freelance software developers won’t fit the bill either. Software development is complicated, expensive, it doesn’t scale, and will end up overshadowing the time you spend nurturing your community.

At least 60 days before you open your space, implement a software platform that provides an integrated set of tools to manage a Coworking space and its members. Give your workspace a competitive edge with a comprehensive platform that addresses the multiple moving parts of your Coworking operation. Streamline tasks, reduce HR overhead, and free up resources while extending additional benefits and services to your members.

Up Next: Business Essentials of Opening a Coworking Space

Opening a Coworking Space
mm

David Kinnaird

I’m a longtime workspace operator and Managing Director for essensys North America. Before entering the serviced office industry over a decade ago, I worked in the British Army and later progressed to senior IT operations management roles. I live in Connecticut and enjoy family time with my wife and three kids.
0 Shares
Share
Tweet
+1
Share