Because of the social distancing required to reduce the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies have transitioned to a remote workforce, and because of the convenience and cost-saving benefits that many companies have experienced, it seems this setup is here to stay. Although many newly remote employees are happy to work from home, others like to have a separation between work and family, and for them, a coworking space is the answer.
These establishments will only become more popular over time, so if you own and operate a coworking space, create a productive and inclusive atmosphere so the people who pay you to work there will continue to call your facility home. To help you out, we have a list of tips and advice to make your coworking space a safe and comfortable place to work.
Inclusivity is Key
According to Pew Research, 71% of employees currently work from home. That group consists of many different types of people with different backgrounds, experiences, and preferred work styles. Because of this melting pot, your coworking place must be open and welcoming to everyone.
Modifications to your coworking space to promote inclusivity begin with cosmetic changes. Any artwork, posters, and pictures that are hung on the walls should be inclusive to everyone and should not create even a hint of mockery towards any particular group of people.
On top of that, you want to have a diverse staff so everyone feels welcome. To immediately tackle any other inclusivity issues that come up, you should add a comments box or offer an anonymous email address where members can send a message if they have concerns.
Remember that inclusivity also means creating a space where anyone can work, despite any potential physical limitations. To appeal to everyone, you may have to reimagine your office space and make adjustments to the workspaces so anyone can work comfortably. Some of these changes could include ergonomic chairs and keyboards or desks that are high enough to accommodate a wheelchair.
Another change that many coworking spaces are making is taking down any existing partitions, so those with crutches or mobility devices can easily move about the space. Creating this open space can also help workers to be more productive because the lack of walls translates to an open mind where creativity can grow and thrive.
Create a Social Atmosphere
A high-quality coworking space will allow everyone to work in a way that makes them comfortable, whether they are introverts or extroverts.
On one side of the spectrum, we are seeing that more people than ever are moving to coworking spaces because they want to feel like they are part of a community while also escaping the isolation often found at home. To help create that sense of community, it is a smart idea to set aside a section of your coworking space for socializing.
That could be an area where you provide coffee and snacks or a room with comfortable chairs and couches where people can take their breaks and lunches and speak with others while they relax.
Taking breaks is important during the workday because it gives people the chance to step away and refresh their brains. A unique way that you can encourage breaks is by having a policy where pets are allowed within the coworking space. Pets offer many perks in a work environment, such as building morale, encouraging conversation, and giving their owners a reason to get up and walk around during that break.
With that in mind, it is important to remember that other people prefer to work solo and are not as open to communication with others. If you have space, allow the option of private offices for those folks who do confidential work or are just not thrilled about sitting close to and socializing with others.
In addition to wanting to work on their own, some people deal with social anxiety and may need a space to escape to to regain their bearings. If you have an additional room where people can go to catch their breath, meditate, or take a moment to recover their composure, consider creating this type of special area.
A Productive Work Environment
While your coworking space should be inclusive, it also needs to be a place where people can get their work done properly and efficiently.
Workers have many different coworking spaces to choose from, so you want to create a place where employees feel like they are more productive than they are at your competitor. While you cannot manually do the work for them, you can add certain touches that will make the space more conducive to productivity.
For instance, one way to make people happier to return to your coworking space day after day and feel like they are getting more done is by opening the windows and allowing more natural light into the space. Natural light has a way of positively impacting our mood, so we feel better about our work. When we are happier at work, we are less hesitant to call out. Not only will you have happier clients, but by keeping light fixtures off, you can also save money on energy costs.
Another way to promote happiness and wellness is by emphasizing greenery throughout your coworking space. The color green creates a sense of calm which makes us feel happier in general, and when we are happier, the more productive we become.
In addition to painting the walls green, also consider adding plants around the premises. Plants can improve productivity by creating a natural environment that helps to put our subconscious at ease. On top of that, certain plants, like dracaena fragrans and sansevieria trifasciata, also remove harmful pollutants like benzene and formaldehyde from the air, which helps us to feel better overall.
In the end, running the best coworking space is all about continuously modifying the office to accommodate the needs of the workers who call your place home. Try the tips discussed here and it’s likely that members will stick around for the foreseeable future.