Coworking Space Design—3 Things To Consider
Coworking spaces have existed for years, but they’re now gaining popularity faster than ever before. The growing “unattached” workforce is a major contributing factor to the rapid influx of coworking facilities.
After all, the entrepreneurs, freelancers, remote workers and startup teams who aren’t tied down to a particular corporate office locale need somewhere to work. Home offices and coffee shops serve a purpose but aren’t long-term solutions.
Coworking spaces can be the solution that accommodates a diversified group of people with various business needs. Even so, can coworking spaces be profitable? The answer is absolutely—if they’re well-designed.
Are you interested in opening a coworking space? Let’s look at the ins and outs of designing a space that creates a flexible, functional environment for a diversified group of workers—and can earn you a profit to boot.
1. Start with the interior design
As you create your coworking space, keep in mind that your clientele will be professionals who don’t have to—or don’t want to—work in a traditional corporate environment. Therefore, avoid design trends that imitate stereotypical corporate office spaces, like drab square cubicles or glitchy fluorescent lighting.
Your coworking space should embody the ideal working environment—one that fosters inspiration, collaboration and fun. When it comes to interior design, three aspects can make or break a coworking space: style, flow and flexibility.
A well-designed coworking facility should include beautiful spaces. The facility should be inviting and a little reminiscent of home—only cleaner and better organized.
We recommend that you hire a commercial interior designer, or a commercial interiors firm that includes space planning and design along with furniture. Just as people are drawn to individuals with great personalities, they are also drawn to spaces with personality and style. The aesthetics of your coworking space will influence the ambiance, which will affect the culture amongst the workers.
Coworking spaces need to accommodate different work styles as well as various business needs. The best way to accomplish this is to be flexible and provide choice to clients, both regarding furniture and structure. For instance, consider incorporating:
- Balance-ball chairs
- Big tables
- Comfy seating
- Individual desks
- Moveable walls
- Standing desks
Form and function are equally important in office design, especially for coworking spaces. Be intentional in how you organize the space to meet people’s needs.
For example, place meeting rooms near the front of the office, close to reception. Doing so means visitors have a short walk to their destination.
Private workspaces and quiet areas should be in the back of the coworking space. That will minimize disruptions and noise overflowing from groups that are collaborating in the meeting rooms.
Communal spaces, like a kitchenette or lounge, are best placed toward the center of a coworking space. The communal areas ought to be readily available for everyone in the space.
2. Create various types of workspaces
Providing a variety of workspaces goes hand-in-hand with flexibility and client choice. For example, a freelancer may want to work at an individual desk one day and choose to hunker down in a cozy nook the next.
An ideal coworking space will enable workers to:
Startup teams and small businesses need spaces for collaboration with peers—either formal, like a meeting room with a drawing board to share ideas, or informal, like lounge areas and touchdown spaces.
People who interact with clients—or are building a top secret innovation—need private spaces for confidential meetings and phone calls. Soundproofing is a crucial aspect of private workspaces.
Open concept coworking spaces and facilities with flex space are perfect for hosting conferences and group meetings.
Whether to take a break during the workday or to unwind at the end of it, people enjoy having nooks and lounges to socialize.
You’ve heard what happens to people who are all-work-and-no-play. Create spaces for people to have fun and decompress. Many coworking spaces offer amenities like:
- Ping pong table
- Pool table
- Refrigerator with cold beverages (i.e. beer and sodas)
3. Incorporate practical decor
Brightly painted walls, funky wallpaper murals and ping pong tables are all well and good. However, there are practical aspects of design to keep in mind as you flesh out the interior of a coworking space.
By making smart decisions about things like plants and lighting, you can influence the ambiance of a coworking space for the better.
Faux plants can add a splash of color to an interior space and make it feel more inviting—as long as the polyester leaves don’t gather too much dust. Real plants, however, have much more to offer because they:
- Balance the energy
- Create feelings of relaxation
- Purify the air
- Soften the noise
Remember the buzzing fluorescent lights you should avoid at all costs? No one wants that type of light in a coworking space.
Lighting is essential because it influences people’s moods and their productivity. And since the lights in a coworking space are often on 12+ hours a day, 5+ days a week, you want to use commercial-grade bulbs and hardware that can handle constant use.
Adjustable lighting is a plus because the brightness can be customized based on changing needs. For example, an after-hours party might call for dim lights. A dreary, cloudy day at the office would require bright lights.
LED lights are an expensive up-front investment, but they last a long time. Some lighting providers even offer brightness-adjusting and color-changing options that are controllable via smartphone or tablet.
Bonus: Forget what Yoda said—size does matter
Coworking spaces that are too small make people feel closed off, crowded or claustrophobic.
On the other hand, coworking facilities that are too large cause people to feel disconnected or isolated.
If you’re still looking for a space to build out your coworking facility, think about:
- The number of people you plan to serve
- The amount of space required
- Whether the combination of people and space you’re envisioning will generate the ROI you need
If you’re already locked into a place, you’ll need to find ways to maximize that space to suit the needs of your clientele. This is an area in which working with a designer can be particularly useful.
Whether you’re still in the planning stages, or you’re looking to revamp a space you already have, our team can help you create a well-designed and functional coworking space. Call us at 877.779.3409, or use this form to send us an email.
FREE CHECKLIST AIS vs THE “BIG” BRANDS
Download this free comparison, and find out if AIS is a good fit for your company.