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Coworking software — even if it isn’t a coworking space
We’ve said it before: coworking doesn’t always look like coworking.
Traditional coworking is amazing: it’s a fresh, experience-first approach to workspaces and community. But at Coworks, we get to see firsthand the various community-driven businesses that come to us for a solution to manage their members and their space. And they aren’t all about laptops and coffee.
The truth is that any business centered around community, collaboration, and shared physical space can benefit from using coworking space management software.
Coworking software for higher education
As startup culture continues to evolve, we see many colleges and universities invest more resources into entrepreneurship initiatives. For more on this, check out the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers. Rather than just offer classes, these centers provide workspaces, networking events, mentorship programs and more to support students and alumni in launching their own ventures.
Dedicated entrepreneurship centers on campus can and should be inspired by coworking and makerspaces to provide flexible work areas, collaboration zones, private call rooms, event space and more. Coworking software like Coworks helps these centers manage memberships, facilitate access to different areas, promote events, and foster an entrepreneurial community inside and outside the university.
Why university entrepreneurship centers matter
"It's also like a happiness factor. Are we creating an environment for students to really enjoy this experience? Because entrepreneurship is not easy. There's nothing easy about it, but it's sure as heck is worth it."
For example, platforms like Coworks allow university students and staff to book workspaces, meeting rooms, and other resources on-demand through a mobile app. It provides usage metrics to optimize space planning and demonstrate impact. Customizable membership management tools make it easy to onboard students and control access to different types of amenities and resources.
Other software features like calendars, announcement pages, and member directories help entrepreneurship centers mimic the engagement and collaboration of a true coworking environment. This allows them to facilitate relationships and knowledge sharing that drives innovation for budding student founders.
Coworking helps flavor ghost kitchens
Another area where coworking software shines is in managing shared commercial kitchens, also known as ghost or cloud kitchens. The ghost kitchen model allows food entrepreneurs and delivery-only restaurants to prepare meals in a communal professional kitchen outside of prohibitively expensive brick-and-mortar locations.
These sites contain multiple small kitchen spaces that food businesses can rent for short or long term use. The operators work side-by-side while benefiting from shared amenities like cold storage, pop-up counters, dishwashing stations and dining areas.
Hot desks to hot stoves: coworking and kitchens
An acronym for Helping Under-served Beginning Businesses, HUBB Kitchens provides all the services needed to operate a successful food business in one location.
Running a successful ghost kitchen relies heavily on smooth coordination between the different teams utilizing the space. Coworking software optimizes operations by allowing kitchen operators to clearly schedule and reserve different workstations and equipment. Automated billing ensures proper payment for all rentals and services based on usage.
Calendar management and announcement tools keep all users aware of closures, events or changes that impact the kitchen operations. User permissions allow access to be customized so each business only sees relevant information. Usage metrics help optimize the kitchen layout and identify opportunities to add more rentable workstations.
Essentially, ghost kitchens operate much like an office coworking space — just swapping desks for commercial cookware and staplers for stovetops! Applying software built for one to the other is a logical fit.
Coworking software invites social clubs to streamline their operations
Another growth area where coworking software can be critical is in managing membership-based social clubs. These exclusive communities sometimes center around luxury spaces, niche networking, or shared hobbies and interests.
These social clubs rely on members paying monthly or annual dues to gain access to amenities, events, and other perks. So the software needs to handle membership management, automated recurring billing, guest passes, and payment processing. Access control integration is a great addition — clubs want to ensure only paid active members can enter facilities and use services.
Birch Road and the art of gathering
Birch Road isn’t your typical coworking space. It’s a neighborhood social club, where coworking is just one of the options. A Chicago Food Magazine article said it’s a place where wine, work, and community intersect, and that just about nails the Venn diagram of the club’s mission.
Event and calendar management tools allow clubs to easily promote and ticket special events, classes, talks, and more. Mobile apps give members a dashboard to book spaces, RSVP, connect with other members, and stay updated on club happenings.
Reporting provides insights into member activity and behavior patterns to identify opportunities to improve engagement. And flexible membership structures allow special tiers, discounts, or criteria to be implemented.
In essence, running a private social club has many parallels to managing a coworking community. So using an integrated platform designed for these functions can greatly simplify operations for club owners and staff.
Coworking software help makerspaces build a community
Makerspaces and member driven workshops have also become popular avenues for hobbyists, artists, and DIYers to gather, create, and learn new skills together. These creative spaces provide equipment — like 3D printers, CNC machines, woodworking tools, laser cutters, craft supplies, electronics, and more — for members to collaborate and work on passion projects.
MASS Collective helps members make with materials and community
Members at MASS Collective are from all walks of life, ages, backgrounds, and disciplines. Complete beginners work alongside folks who want to learn a new hobby as well as veteran craftspeople with 40 years of experience.
To make the model sustainable, makerspaces charge membership fees to provide managed access to all these expensive assets. Coworking software like Coworks can help optimize makerspace operations through:
- Online equipment reservations and managed calendars
- Digital membership management
- Usage tracking and billing based on duration of equipment rentals
- Ability for members to reserve workstations or storage lockers
- Events promotion and class registration
- Monitoring equipment to signal preventative maintenance
All these features allow makerspace owners to run their community workshops efficiently while providing members flexibility to use the space how they want.
Coworking software supports beauty and wellness collectives
Health, beauty, and wellness businesses like salons, spas, gyms, yoga studios, therapy spaces, and more are also increasingly banding together under the same roof to form collectives. Sharing space allows each practitioner access to more customers, more amenities, a flexible workspace and lower costs.
Coworking software helps facilitate these wellness collectives by allowing the individual businesses to coordinate appointment booking and billing across the shared space. Practitioners can list their services, set availability, and publish calendars so members can easily schedule appointments. Customized booking settings control where and when each provider offers sessions. Streamlined membership management also allows package deals, common credits, and reciprocal arrangements across wellness providers.
District Studios makes coworking beautiful
"District Studios is a salon suite for beauty and wellness professionals. We provide a unique opportunity for passionate hairstylists, nail techs, estheticians, and laser techs, and more to have their own private space with a vibrant community."
This allows the collective to operate smoothly as one unified brand, while the individual businesses retain their autonomy. The specialized software eliminates the hassle of manually synchronizing schedules, memberships, and finances across all participants.
Key software features to manage shared community spaces
The above examples highlight the real diversity of business models that have so much in common: they rely on efficient utilization of shared spaces and resources. Coworks coworking space management software provides several essential features to successfully manage these membership-based community operations:
Mobile apps - Allow members to easily book rooms, equipment, appointments; RSVP to events; contact other members; and access amenities.
Billing & Payments - Flexible installment plans; metered, usage-based, and subscription billing; automated invoices; integrated payment processing.
Access Control - Doors, equipment, services restricted by member type and access level; integrates with campus cards, mobile codes, biometrics.
Reservation Systems - Calendars for booking rooms, equipment, and services; ability to search availability and make bookings.
Membership Management - Tiered access levels, customized discounts and criteria; member dashboards and profiles.
Usage Tracking - Metrics for occupancy, equipment utilization, sales activities; drives optimization.
Admin Portal - Manage members, billing, teams, inventory, events, and access rights, in a single dashboard.
Integrations - Ties into workplace tech like WiFi, CRMs, accounting, and calendars.
Coworking space management platforms provide robust tools to operate businesses centered around community engagement and efficient utilization of shared physical spaces and assets.
University entrepreneurship centers, ghost kitchens, private social clubs, DIY maker spaces, wellness collectives, and more can benefit from these all-in-one solutions. They provide the infrastructure to handle the logistics of memberships, billing, access control, scheduling, and activity tracking.
So if you're looking for ways to optimize — or even revolutionize — your community-driven business, don't try to manually hack together disjointed spreadsheets, calendars, and systems. Lean on the purpose-built platforms like Coworks, which is made for these spaces. You'll save huge administrative headaches and provide members with a seamless, engaging, collaborative experience.
The technology and business models may seem novel, but coworking software makes it easy to focus on what matters: building a thriving community.