How would you like to work in traditional, cramped cubicles? Does it not excite you? We thought so. This is why communal or co-working spaces are such a big hit these days. They are hip, casual, and basically a deviation from the norm.
Communal work places basically feature a shared work environment where young professionals meet, network, and collaborate. Since 2011, co-working spaces have been on a steady rise. According to the 2017 Global Co-Working Survey, there are over a million employees in more than 13,000 co-working spaces worldwide. Most use such space as a shared office, business center, events space or artists’ space. In the Philippines, offices and commercial spaces for lease in Makati, BGC, and Cebu are among the top choices in establishing collaborative spaces.
A profitable venture, co-working spaces give us a glimpse of the future of workplaces around the world. Here are things you need to know to set up a communal work place:
Is there a demand?
This is probably the first question you have to ask if you are planning to set up a communal work space. Remember that the concept is still new and people are not just going to rent out spaces. Make a list of cities or communities that are potential clients. Reach out to start-up companies, host events, and drum up the idea on social media. You may also seek assistance from local chambers of commerce or business groups.
It is only after you have studied the demand can you decide on whether to go large or small scale, set a budget, or establish what kind of culture you want to exhibit.
Location is everything
As in any business, one of the most useful tips on setting up a communal work place is focusing on location. Your location will be the top consideration of potential companies and organizations who will rent out your space. Look for a place at the heart of business hubs, near public transportation, and is safe and convenient. A great option are condos for rent. There are big enough units, residential and commercial, from DMCI properties that are located in prime spots in the metropolis. They have great location, amenities, offer superb convenience, and even feel like home. In choosing a location, consider your budget, your market, and factor in culture.
Function before beauty
What are the non-negotiables in a workplace? Tables perhaps or a comfort room? Provide the important utilities such as air-conditioning and high-speed internet connection. With condo leasing, you get the basics such as toilet, a space for pantry, sink, provision for A/C units, proper ventilation, and so on. You can even have ground-level amenities for when employees need to walk around, get inspiration or need some peace and quiet.
Build a culture
How do you envision the space? What type of people will be working there? What kind of vibe do you want?
The thing that makes coworking spaces special is because of how they look and feel. Most employ open space designs, giving employees more room for mobility. Some look like coffee houses: cozy, warm, and relaxing. Some look like artist spaces complete with artworks and unique furniture.
In figuring out how to set up a communal work place, get to know your market and understand them. Put a lot of thought into how they move, what their interests are, how they work, how they collaborate, etc. Encourage creative and energetic environments. Just don’t pretend to be that “cool work place” if you’re not. A slide or a trampoline works for some, but that doesn’t mean it will work for you.
Branding and marketing
Collaborative workplaces are not only about the space. Bear in mind that you are also promoting a brand. You must have a name and not just an address. Prepare a logo and some marketing materials. The way you market your brand will influence people’s initial perceptions and impressions of you. A professional-looking website and responsive social media channels are necessary in making people aware that you exist; it also provides them a glimpse of what you offer.
Set up a collaborative environment
One of the things you need to know in setting up a communal work place is the fact that employees there will have to undergo an adjustment period. It is a new set-up, after all. Not all of them are working for the same company or for the same goals. But the fact that they are in a communal work space shows that they desire to collaborate and engage. Give them a platform to do that.
A 2017 Global Coworking Survey revealed that majority do not mind working in flexible desks. Most would also like a meeting room or a café. These are common spaces that encourage dynamic collaboration, which make employees more creative and productive.
You probably can’t give out free Starbucks just like Google. Well, you don’t have to. But can you provide a coffee maker or an espresso machine? These simple touches send out the message that you want the employees to be comfortable and to love staying at your place. An artwork, scent, plugs everywhere, a few potted greens, and soft music are just some of the small touches that will surely go a long way.
People thrive in communal workplaces because unlike traditional offices, employees are not in direct competition to anyone, their work identity can stand out easier, they have control, and they feel like they are a part of a community. The dynamism, collaboration, and the relaxed environment allow employees to focus on what matters — getting the job done.