As the world gradually moves towards accepting the hybrid work model and remote working, the number of people using the epitome of flexibility—coworking spaces—is bound to increase.
Designed to accommodate the needs of businesses of all sizes, be they startups, small businesses, larger enterprises, or even freelancers, everyone can take advantage of these flexible work spaces.
However, be that as it may, this not only guarantees the growth of the coworking industry but also gives way to various other challenges.
Though the benefits of coworking spaces are numerous, for a coworking space to truly thrive, it needs to tick off all the requirements of today’s workforce, which range from state-of-the-art amenities and ergonomic furnishings to schedule and timing flexibility, modern layouts, and a solid infrastructure.
In order to provide a best-in-class experience to their members, it is necessary for coworking spaces to keep up with the rapidly evolving world, especially as technology advances with each passing day. And these technological advancements not only open doors to a better work experience but also create new challenges for the IT teams to provide top-notch IT setup for coworking spaces.
So, preparing IT infrastructure for coworking spaces sounds like quite a lot of work, right? But don’t you worry, because if you are looking to rearrange the IT infrastructure of your coworking spaces, you’ve come to the right place. We have prepared a comprehensive guide for you, which includes all the technology requirements for coworking spaces and how easily you can set them up in a few simple steps.
Grab your pens and paper and take notes as we further explore the simple steps by which you can prepare the IT infrastructure of your coworking space seamlessly and hassle-free.
A Roadmap for Building and Setting Your IT Infrastructure
As a coworking space provider or owner, it becomes imperative that your space is not only equipped with all IT equipment for shared workspaces but also flexible enough to accommodate any and all changes as per the constantly changing needs and requirements.
Having a reliable IT Infrastructure ensures uninterrupted business development and sets your members and even you up for success. While some coworking companies have round-the-clock IT support for shared offices to manage the daily needs of the office spaces, it is also essential to involve qualified professionals when situations call for it.
And during these times, it becomes all the more necessary for a coworking space provider or owner to keep in mind a few things and some simple steps so that your members get to enjoy an uninterrupted, world-class coworking experience. Some of them are mentioned below:
1. Understand the role of technology
2. Flexibility is the key
3. Have a space management software
4. Secure the space
5. Internet and WiFi
6. Other tools and apps
1. Understand the Role of Technology
Bid adieu to the days of sitting in tiny gray cubicles and being surrounded by melancholic, impersonal designs and embrace the vibrancy and warmth of coworking spaces instead.
Coworking spaces have taken center stage with innovation, creative and contemporary designs, and reliable and efficient technological solutions that not only help boost productivity but also increase profitability.
Hence, it is all the more important to understand the technology tools required to operate coworking spaces unhindered and smoothly.
Required Technology ToolsDue to their dynamic nature, coworking spaces can be used by anyone from IT professionals to entrepreneurs to startups and freelancers, and believe it or not, technology plays a great role in this, making it important to have the right set of tech tools to manage your coworking spaces more effectively. Some examples are:
- Coworking space management software
- Uninterrupted and high internet connectivity
- Access control
- Visitor management
Coworking Space TechnologyCoworking spaces are more often than not characterized by advanced IT infrastructure solutions, high-speed internet, software, and tools that help automate day-to-day tasks and save valuable time.
And as a coworking space provider or owner, these are some of the challenges that must be kept in mind for the smooth operation of the space. It is also crucial to possess good knowledge of various kinds of coworking space technology to help you stand out in the crowd and gain a competitive edge.
Cost-Effective TechnologyWell, technology is expensive, but that doesn’t mean you can’t provide your members with reliable and secure technology.
Opting for technology packages that integrate the tools and software your managed workspaces need for smooth functioning can help minimize costs to some extent.
Also, it is necessary to choose service providers with a scalable approach to easily accommodate your workspaces if you own multi-locational co-working spaces, so that all your spaces have the same reliable tech.
Also Read: Open Desks in an Office Area
2. Flexibility Is the Key
Flexibility is one of the most crucial reasons why people choose coworking spaces over traditional office spaces.
There is a high probability of spaces being occupied by diverse workforces from different backgrounds and fields of expertise. You could have businesses using coworking membership plans and occupying entire floors, or individuals opting for day passes, which allow them access to all workplace amenities for a single day without having to commit to any long-term decisions, or even renting out desks by the hour. The possibilities are infinite.
And as a coworking space provider or owner, it is necessary for you to accommodate all their needs and provide them with the required tech tools to make their experience hassle-free and seamless.
Having a dependable IT infrastructure with high processing power that allows members to access large amounts of data and high-speed internet connectivity, along with access to other hardware such as dedicated phone lines, office utilities, and so on, can help members operate their businesses more efficiently.
Being flexible and accommodating to any IT infrastructure changes as and when required is a critical part of setting up your coworking space for success, retaining customers, and making your members feel valued.
3. Have a Space Management Software
A coworking space management software is one designed specifically for better management of the highly dynamic coworking spaces and the workforce they cater to. These programs help you manage your data more efficiently and conveniently. The software itself helps bring order to tedious processes, is more effective, and saves a significant amount of time.
Over the years, coworking space management software has evolved tremendously, making the entire coworking process even more convenient. But with the endless options available, how do you choose the one that works best for you and your business? Below are some factors that one could keep in mind while choosing coworking space management software for their business:
Research the Software and Evaluate the ReviewsWith new options emerging every other day, the urge to choose the latest and best-equipped software is too hard to resist, but choosing this newer software could bring challenges of its own.
Hence, going back to the roots is the most convenient; the best way to learn about any software quickly is to either search online for its reviews or gather insights and feedback from the users.
So, choosing the ones that have already been time-tested, user-affirmed, and suit your requirements is the best option.
Intuitive and Attractive DashboardHaving an efficient member portal is a critical aspect of good space management software. Members should be able to see their upcoming events, bookings, invoice history, membership management, and even connect with other members through emails or newsletters.
Also, having intuitive and user-friendly coworking space management software would allow the members to easily learn how to use the software and use it on their own without anyone’s help, thereby making the entire user experience smooth and convenient for the members.
Software ScalabilityIf your office space is flexible, so should your software. As a coworking operator, choosing space management software that is able to scale and accommodate all needs when the situation calls for it is crucial.
It is essential to consider the scalability features of space management software, i.e., whether it accommodates all your requirements depending on your business’ expansion or contraction.
The software should also be flexible enough to monitor the flow of members from one workspace location to another seamlessly.
One such coworking software to consider is the Corporate Product Suite (CPS) by Stylework. This coworking management software is specifically designed to help manage coworking spaces more efficiently. It not only optimizes office spaces and improves workspace allocation but also helps enhance productivity. The user-friendly application also enhances the overall customer experience and simplifies the management of daily administrative tasks.
4. Secure the Space
With the flexibility to show up and leave any time one desires, having an infallible security system is necessary, especially one that ensures smooth access for all members. One such tool that offers this agility and seamlessness is keyless access control.
Keyless access control allows members and clients to access the coworking space hassle-free while securing the space, giving both the operators and members the freedom to come and go as and when they require. Also, access control can be used for monitoring members as they move around inside the coworking space.
Access control methods for coworking spacesAs efficient as keyless access control is, it could have only been possible because of the following:
- Key cards: These cards open electronically powered doors if one swipes, taps, or inserts them.
- Smart cards: These cards possess a microchip that is difficult to replicate, thereby offering a higher level of security.
- Magnetic stripe cards: These cards are checked by a magnetic stripe reader and provide access to the user once they are verified and accepted.
- Mobile phones: Members can use mobile apps that ensure cloud-based access to the working space. The unlock can occur within the app or through a highly secure connection via Bluetooth and NFC (near-field communication).
5. Internet and WiFi
Coworking spaces need secure and high-speed internet connectivity for their members to work effectively. Seamless and fast Internet connectivity is perhaps not the first, but one of the main things a prospective coworking space member looks at. In fact, having uninterrupted, high-speed, and secure internet connectivity can help gain new clients as well as motivate existing customers to renew their memberships.
Also, some important things to keep in mind while choosing a wireless network for coworking spaces are mentioned below:
Subscription-based WiFiIt is necessary to choose a flexible WiFi contract that accommodates the flexible model of a coworking space. The WiFi bandwidth should be able to accommodate your growing workspace community. Choosing subscription-based WiFi that helps control the internet access for the amount of time a member needs it, from an hour to a week or even a year, should be your way to go.
All-time support and network monitoringMake sure to choose a WiFi service that has round-the-clock support for any network-related queries and issues, in addition to twenty-four-hour network monitoring and regular updates on the overall network health.
Invest in wired connectionsInitially, setting up a new WiFi connection is a lot easier when compared to a wired connection, but it does have a lot more security risks, and ensuring fair sharing of bandwidth also becomes harder.
Setting up wired connections is not only more secure, but it will also allow you to manually control the amount of bandwidth that can be accessed.
Nonetheless, having a combination of the two Wi-Fi and wired—is the option to go by.
6. Other tools and apps
The above-mentioned tools and software are dedicated coworking tools deemed essential. However, there are several others that, when integrated or used along with the above-mentioned options, enhance the coworking experience as a whole and increase the benefits of coworking spaces a tad more; some of them are mentioned below:
Billing and paymentsHaving dedicated billing software or apps is always a great as well as an essential option for any business, as it will help the members organize the expenses methodically and effectively, making it easier for them to manage their expenses.
Sales and email marketingMarketing platforms not only help make selling memberships easier but also help gather a large amount of data and insights from existing contacts, and when the time calls for it, with the mass emailing feature, these platforms can also help boost your business.
Video SurveillanceHaving video surveillance might be an additional expense, but it can be used if you wish to employ extensive measures to properly secure your coworking spaces and gather more insights into your shared office space usage.
Cyber securityWith coworking spaces allowing members to bring their own devices, there’s also an increased chance of people bringing otherwise avoidable malware and viruses.
For maintaining cybersecurity in coworking spaces, you could enforce the download of malware or antivirus programs, or you could also require a scan of each device before it is connected to the network.
Setting up the IT infrastructure of a coworking space can certainly be a laborious and hectic task, but that doesn’t make it any less important; in fact, it does just the opposite.
However, in the end, it all comes down to what your business really requires and prioritizing the rest accordingly. Pay attention to your workspace community and get regular feedback in order to get a better insight into what they actually need and understand their unique requirements.
And having a solid IT infrastructure will not only make the overall management of the working space easier but also enhance the co-working experience as a whole. So, all the efforts and finances you decide to put into this task will always be worth it.