Few people know that a coworking space is more than just a few designer chairs, an open plan office, and high-speed Wi-Fi. However, any owner or operator can tell you that a successful coworking space has numerous elements working behind the scenes.
Luckily there are a few agile management software systems that can handle a wide range of services for your space all at once. These systems allow managers and members alike to enjoy the flexibility they’ve come to expect in a coworking environment.
However, there are several platforms to choose from and it may be confusing to single out which one will excel for your coworking space. Below are a few criteria to consider which may help tip the scales when making this crucial decision.
The Advantages of a Coworking Management Software
A truly agile coworking software brings peace of mind to the owner or operator of the space. It streamlines tasks and provides a central dashboard where many of the services the space provides can be monitored and adjusted.
Think of it as a CRM on steroids. For coworking members, the software might make signing into a space and booking a conference rooms easier or streamlining perhaps paying for or changing a membership plan is more streamlined. From the simple yet critical to the complex, a management software specialised for coworking spaces is designed to help things run smoothly and efficiently.
How to Choose the Right Software
Focus on Your Unique Business Needs
Your first consideration should be on the problem areas or challenges that your coworking space regularly encounters and then finding a solution that addresses it.
For example, if you have a problem tracking people who are visiting your coworking members, there are numerous visitor management systems to choose from, but it would still result in being an additional expense on top of other apps and services you need to run the space efficiently.
A good coworking space management software will either provide this functionality or have it integrated into the platform.
- Flexibility and Ease of Use
Another factor that may tip the scales is how customisable the platform is. Can you customise invoices, newsletters or other business materials made through the platform with your own brand? Does it provide email templates to help you make invoices and other business communications?
A white-label option is important for maintaining consistency in your brand when presenting materials and assets to other companies and your coworking members. Small details, such as the lack of consistent logos across your emails and newsletters could undermine the quality of your brand.
You can also gauge the flexibility of the platform by the number of integrations it has. Many of the available platforms integrate with payment transaction services (like Stripe or Xero) to easily facilitate accounting and billing.
The more integrations the management software has, the more likely it has multiple solutions that fit the specific needs of your space.
- Member Experience
While it might be exciting to find solutions to management problems on the back-end, it’s important to remember that the member experience is what really sells your space.
So if the software has a member-facing app (e.g. room reservation, visitor management, networking tools, etc.) pay attention to their use cases and customer feedback on their websites and in reviews.
The platform itself should also be easy to navigate and have a user-centered design. After all, the whole point of leveraging an all-encompassing management platform is to cut down on time troubleshooting overly complicated apps and streamlining your operation.
- Pricing and Scalability
This might go without saying, but does the pricing of the software make sense for your business? Many of the platforms out there have different tiers of pricing, including flat fees per location and smaller fees for each coworking member.
Depending on the size of your space, and how much you project it to grow in the near future, one pricing system might look better than the other.
Investigate whether the platform’s pricing will change if you scale to multiple locations. You’ll have to weigh the benefits of the platform against your budget and consider how much you would spend without it.
- Security Features
In a world where sharing and community is heavily emphasised, security often goes overlooked. But in coworking spaces this is just as important as anything else. It’s important to note how the coworking software handles the members’ data.
Take a look at the network security specs, how personal data is encrypted, the firewalls in place to guard against privacy theft, GDPR compliance, and so on.
You have to remember that the businesses occupying your space may have sensitive data stored in their computers and in their office, so a coworking management software that emphasises security and resilience adds value for both managers and members alike.
- Data and Insights
Finally, investigate whether the management software provides useful analysis from customer data. Can you easily make expense reports, comparison charts, or draw insights from traffic through your space?
Can the software identify, new sales leads or highlight missed opportunities? Elements of marketing insight should be available so that your coworking space can continue to grow.
Conclusion – Know Your Business
In the end, it’s all about knowing your business front and back. Intimate knowledge of every aspect, from hunting and tracking leads, to simply ordering office supplies will help you pinpoint the most significant pain points that a management software will be able to address.
And above all, it’s essential to find a coworking software that is flexible and scalable enough to support you as you grow.
Ideally, your memberships’ will increase, and in turn the need for more reliable, full-stack technology to support it. A coworking management platform that scores high in the above criteria is sure to bring your space to the next level.