Attracting members is one thing, keeping them is an entirely different game, both are equally important to the success and profitability of coworking spaces and the best coworking space software helps make this easy.
Boutique coworking spaces take at least 6 months to fill assuming a high proportion of acquired members remain. The tenancy for a member is, on average, 15 months — drop below this and the business will be under substantial strain, taking focus away from managing and developing the business and creating a vicious cycle of negative growth.
Understanding what’s important and planning for these accordingly is the key to successfully retaining and growing the business.
1. Member Community
The Number 1 reason members leave a coworking space is due to lack of interaction with other members. The Number 1 reason people join a coworking space is for social interaction with others, an enjoyable atmosphere and community. Finding a boutique coworking space that believes what you believe is incredibly important and members who identify themselves with a boutique coworking space’s cause or belief will become long-term customers.
The best coworking software frees up coworking space operators to facilitate this by hosting regular happy hours, actively connect members to each other, introduce new members to your community which also provides a great on-boarding experience so it’s win:win.
This area is so important that it will be the subject of deep dive in the coming weeks.
2. Bad Acoustics
People’s intolerance of poor acoustics might surprise you, and fixing acoustic problems once a space has been constructed can be very expensive. There are companies with legally mandated privacy standards that left a coworking space as a poorly isolated phone booth wasn’t an audit risk they were willing to take.
In smaller and private offices, noise tends to reflect from walls, leaks into other offices through suspended ceilings, poorly insulated walls and, especially, trendy glass walls. There’s a greater acceptance of noise in open and shared workspace areas, nevertheless all of these should be designed, constructed and furnished to dampen sound.
3. Not Enough Meeting Room Options, Privacy and Inability To Focus
A lack of access to space to have a 1–2–1’s, team meetings or take a phone call are reasons members start looking elsewhere. For teams, as well as individuals, a lack of privacy is a big reason for leaving and closely related is not being able to focus. Savvy leaders understand the damage to morale this can do to a growing company.
The best coworking software enables easy access to bookable meeting rooms, informal private spaces and phone booths is particularly important to companies with 8+ people as they are too big to contain all their conversations within an office. If your coworking space is to be successful ensure you offer various types of meeting space, ensure you strike a balance between utilisation and availability.
4. Member company outgrows the space
It’s natural and inevitable; successful growing companies continue to grow and succeed until your coworking space can no longer accommodate them. The circle of life, hakuna matata or something.
A good problem to have? Kinda…maybe…. with advanced planning there are ways you can prolong a tenancy. Build private offices with lockable interconnecting doors and modular / removable walls so that you can combine multiple smaller offices into larger ones. When doing this do not compromise on sound isolation.
However, If you’re a smaller space think carefully if you want a large percentage of your business occupied by a single company; when they eventually outgrow you there’ll be a large number of desks to fill.
Members are often entrepreneurs trying to grow a new venture and when things start to go bad the ‘luxury’ of a coworking space can be one of the first things to be cut. By this point in time it’s probably too late, we strongly recommend against giving them a discount. The time to address this was in the preceding months when the introductions you made to other members, mentoring you provided and the network you helped them build made them see coworking isn’t a luxury but a bargain-priced business growth machine!
Becoming less important
1. Unreliable Internet
Access to fast internet is becoming less of an issue over time, Between 2016 and 2017 it’s importance for choosing a coworking space halved and members are also become more tolerant of poor connections once they’ve joined a space — after all who hasn’t got a phone they can hotspot off these days.
2. Interior Space Is Worse For Wear
The good news is members don’t judge a book by it’s cover, with very few respondents report they don’t like it when a space is in bad shape. Given the choice between investing in your community; strengthening the bonds between members or installing fancy Edison globe lightbulbs… invest in your community.
In addition to these points constantly and consistently monitoring customer satisfaction will enable you to use your time efficiently, spot problems early and proactively address them. There are various ways to do this, questionnaires in emails, bespoke software, regular catch-ups with members, etc. Systematic, simple to use and easy to manage solution built are built into the best coworking space management platform. Make sure your coworking space software platform supports this.