Coworking spaces, like other businesses operating on margins, usually start operations “in the red.” It then becomes vital for the health and...
Reclaim Your Time Through Automation: How to Maximize Efficiency in Your Coworking Space
Every coworking operator knows the feeling of too much going on: room bookings are flying in, the toilet’s on the fritz, there’s a new member waiting for onboarding, and fifty other things on the to-do list.
Over the past four years of owning and operating a coworking space and speaking to countless other operators, I've encountered a consistent issue: the small tasks pile up, leaving little time for investing in what matters most.
I’ve helped dozens of coworking spaces over the years integrate automation and streamline workflows. This has led to major improvements in both time management and profitability.
And once you’ve figured out the right things to automate, you’ll create more space to focus on what matters – member satisfaction and community (and the boost in revenue that comes from an efficient and popular space!).
The Everyday Hidden Time Traps in Coworking Spaces
One of the most common issues I hear from coworking space operators is the struggle to get it all done -- so many hats to wear, so many things to respond to. In an environment designed for collaboration and flexibility, these mundane operational tasks often take up too much time.
While the biggest fear is losing a new customer, the deeper issue here is time mismanagement. When we are low on time we can’t get ahead of things so we don’t have documented processes, and can’t easily delegate or use automation.
Many operators are aware of these issues, but are hesitant to address it, often due to a misguided belief they need to be involved in daily processes and a misunderstanding of automation and its benefits.
However, the root cause of this challenge is not just the absence of technology but a lack of strategic implementation across the entire space and within the team. Without the right tools and processes, coworking spaces risk losing crucial team members and owners risk burnout, impacting both profitability and reputation.
From Overwhelmed Operator to Thriving Community Hub: Real World Story of Strategic Automation and Delegation
Let’s take a look at a prime example from a small space in a suburban market in the Midwest. After a first year ramping up, they reached their original goal of 50 members. However, with no support staff, the owner was overwhelmed with the millions of details to manage and the constant interruptions of the busy space.
Between juggling booking details, responding to non-urgent issues (coffee is not an emergency), dealing with facility surprises and billing members, the owner was left little time for creating a magical member experience, hiring some support, hosting amazing events or strategic planning.
Through working together, we took a hard look at everything they had that could be streamlined and automated, and after creating systems, policies, and processes for delegation, along with automating as much as possible, the owner soon saw a dramatic shift.
Better systems and standards, automating bookings, and other improvements freed up their time, allowing them to focus on community building. They were able to hire and train a part-time host to help support operations -- without impacting the member experience or derailing budgets.
This not only improved member satisfaction but allowed them to attract and retain members who were in alignment with how they chose to do business.
The transformation was clear: from a space struggling to keep up with administrative tasks to a thriving hub of productivity and innovation.
5 Essential Steps to Master Automation in Your Coworking Space
The solution to reclaiming your time and making your space more efficient lies in strategic automation. Here are key steps to achieve this:
- Assess and identify opportunities:
What’s taking up the most time? Do an internal audit, analyze your current processes and identify areas where automation can have the most significant impact. This often includes bookings, billing, and member communication.
- Choose the right tools:
This is often where people go wrong! Not everything may need an expensive tool — a spreadsheet can work as well as something fancier. Select automation tools that are not only efficient but also align with the unique needs of your coworking space. And don’t forget to examine the features of the tools you already have — sometimes the quick fix is already in the building and sometimes the tool is simply enforcing a policy!
- Document and delegate:
Setting up the systems with documentation will make them easier to pass off to others on your team or outsource to a VA (virtual assistant). It will also allow you to see where things get bogged down, or what’s taking the most time.
- Implement new processes gradually:
Introduce automation and new systems gradually to ensure a smooth transition. Provide structured training, documentation and support to your team, and give your members time to adapt to new systems.
- Monitor and make adjustments:
It’s not going to be as simple as flipping a switch. You’ll need to monitor the performance of processes and be ready to make adjustments. Collect feedback from your team and members to ensure the changes are positively impacting their experience.
Taking back your time puts you in the driver’s seat
By embracing automation, coworking spaces can expect to see increased efficiency, improved member experiences, as well as a reduction in costs and errors. Yes, there will be a time investment up front, but then you’ll immediately start to reap the rewards of time back in your hands. This found time can be redirected towards enhancing member services and growing the business.
With more efficient operations and staff time spent on metrics that move the needle, your coworking space can also expect to see increased profitability due to reduced operational costs and improved member retention.
Coworking space operators I’ve worked with often report a newfound sense of control and confidence in their business management. This translates into a more vibrant and dynamic coworking community, which is the reason you got into coworking in the first place!
Ready to get your time back and boost revenue in your coworking space?
If you're ready to transform your coworking space with effective automation strategies, I'm here to guide you. For a limited time, I’m offering a free strategy session to help you identify key areas for automation in your space and develop a tailored implementation plan to get you there. Book your session now.
Even a few small changes can help you find more work/life balance as an operator, and take your coworking space to the next level of efficiency and success.
Abigail Schilling is a seasoned coworking space expert — and your personal competitive advantage as you build and grow your own space.
With over twenty years in leadership with expertise in business and marketing, and as the owner/operator of three coworking spaces in Oregon, she saw firsthand the struggles facing coworking space operators.
Abigail founded Space Savvy Studio, a coworking operations agency offering services like administrative support, marketing, and custom tech solutions, focusing on improving operations and member experiences in coworking spaces.
Known for her strategic vision and dynamic leadership, she is committed to empowering others in the coworking industry with her experience and creative solutions.