Coworking Influencer

Notes from Coworking Convos: Monetize the idle areas of your space

Your space is more than just a hub of creativity and innovation. It's a flourishing ecosystem, an ever-evolving community. And let's face it, you've worked incredibly hard to create this vibrant, inspiring atmosphere. High five for that!

But let's get real for a moment. 

Even with a bustling community, there are pockets within your coworking area that might not be humming with activity. It's common, right? Those corners, nooks, and crannies, though part of your floor space, aren't being used and therefore aren't making you money.

Don't just shrug this off. 

Cat Johnson wants you to see it as a potential gold mine, because here's the thing: your unused space is unrealized potential and unearned revenue. 

But how, you ask? Guess what. Cat pulled together 3 experts to share their thoughts.

This isn't about cramming your space with random services or amenities. It's about nurturing your community. It's about offering them value. It's the extra care, the attention to detail, the passion to serve that makes your space stand out. That's your true selling point.

In the latest Coworking Convos, Cat Johnson welcomed experts from across coworking to share their own experience in designing for monetization, applying best practices around flexibility, and not being afraid to rearrange the furniture.

Rebecca Pan and Jason Pan are the Cofounders of Trellis Coworking in San Francisco. They shared their practical ideas:

  • They had a large utility-style boiler room they couldn’t use othersie, but found it was a great plotter room for architects,
  • A grab and go pantry provides purchasable snacks using the honor system
  • Overall, create revenue when you add useful amenities
  • They turned an unused living room area into a group of high tables and saw it immediately become a popular spot.
  • A meeting room doubles as a podcast room.
  • They now offer day offices people can book for an hour, a half day, or a full da

Few people have the space design and development experience of Mara Hauser. Workplace Studio is a multi-disciplinary interior design firm and consultancy that has completed interior design projects in 48 states and 5 Canadian provinces. In the past 2 years, the firm has consulted with over 40 existing coworking companies and coworking startups focused on workplace strategy, feasibility, brand, interior design, and operations. 

Her insights were a punch list of best practices and smart, ROI-driven strategies:

  • Every office should be a day office or meeting room until it's sold as something more
  • How can you reconfigure the space and furniture as needed?
    • Casters on tables for easy moving
    • Small desks and tables that be pushed together for larger tables
    • Make it easy for your staff to move things around
    • Include plenty of options for power points (both in the center and around the room)
  • Market and photograph your space in various ways.
  • Reconfigurable glass partitions and doors to make larger spaces (Hauser’s architectural experience shows)
  • People like change! Floor plans can be fluid. Freshen the decor.
  • Draping is a way to create a whole different environment, privacy, light control
  • Booths are loved. They feel enclosed and people can spread out.
  • Lounge furniture softens the space; mix in cocktail height and dining height.
  • Draw out the folks in private offices.
  • Get big monitors! Everyone has a great home office now. Make it plug and play.
  • Look at the background for zooms, as people will be drawn to use those areas.

Liz Elam is a veteran successful coworking operator and the founder of the largest coworking conference in the world, Global Coworking Unconference Conference (GCUC). Her share was fantastic, big picture thinking that sparked great conversation:

  • If you don't have an amenity or service, someone else might have it. Have a referral program to local spaces.
  • She changed the layout of her own space every night. Then once a week. Then once a month. That forced people to get out of their comfort zone and break habits.
  • Use aggregators!
  • Record and post your tour asap — that’s how to bring people in.

Coworking Convos is a monthly virtual event series hosted by Cat Johnson. Each month, a different topic is presented by guests with real experience, who are subject matter experts and walk the walk in the coworking and flex space industry.

Coworks is a sponsor of Coworking Convos, and we have the privilege of sharing these dispatches afterward — spotlighting the juicy tidbits and powerful takeaways shared in the hour-long conversation. 

But by no means does this replace the real value of being there! Check out the next Convo and be in the room when it happens.

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