Coworking spaces offer workspace, community, and other services to a variety of creative individuals, and their design is imperative to how well they function. The experience your members have in your coworking space relies heavily on a smart and flexible layout.
When coming up with a strategic design, it’s important to consider the “co” in coworking, which relates to collaboration, community, and coexisting. Whether you’re hiring a designer, design-build firm, or looking for ways you can improve your current setup, these are our must-read tips for coworking space design.
Coworking spaces need privacy too
For a balanced coworking space, you’ll need to create areas that provide privacy. With so many different businesses operating from one area, being able to have a private conversation or work area can be a challenge. With sufficient sound proofing, you can give your tenants the best of coworking spaces: a bustling and stimulating work environment, and quiet and privacy when they need it.
There are 5 basic principles of soundproofing: mass, absorption, conduction, mechanical decoupling, and resonance. A professional design-build team will know the best methods and materials for reducing noise, and architectural tips for creating privacy. Some ideas:
- Phone booths for private phone conversations
- Glass walls should be 10cm thick for sound proofing, and partially frosted for privacy
- Partitioned workstations
- Nooks and built-ins
This can easily be an oversight, but you’ll need a plan for storing any office equipment or extra furniture that isn’t in use. Storage rooms can also be used to lock up confidential documents or store additional equipment needed for hosting special events.
You want your members to feel like they’re working in a space that’s better than home, and this means comfortable furniture. As coworking spaces continue to catch on, the bar is set higher and higher – this means more consumers are looking for unique spaces that stand out above the rest. You want to choose furniture that adds character to your space while ensuring your members are comfortable working for long stretches of time. It may be more expensive, but it’s where your members will be spending the majority of their time.
A flexible floorplan
Coworking spaces benefit from more flexibility than traditional offices. Over time, your needs and number of members may change, so keeping a large, fluid space will make adjusting a heck of a lot easier (and more affordable).
Using retractable walls, open floor plans, and moveable workstations rather than ones “set in stone” will help keep your design adaptable. This also makes it easier to alter your space to accommodate networking events, job fairs, conferences, and other special occasions.
In your design, you’ll want communal spaces that provide networking opportunities that coworking spaces are known to provide, but you don’t necessarily want to force interactions with cramped working areas. Having a mix of open and solo workstations with built-in nooks, partitions, booths, or places that offer a bit of solitude are greatly desired by introverts, or the easily distracted.
Quality lighting for everyone
Going back to flexibility, lighting is another area you’ll want to keep plentiful and flexible. If you have to rearrange your floor layout in the future, you want plenty of outlets to accommodate changes. Make sure each desk has a personal light, and that quality lighting is distributed evening throughout the building.
If you use your space for social events or after work functions, installing lights with dimming abilities or multiple hues can help transition between work time and playtime.
A kitchen and break area
A kitchen is a welcomed addition to any coworking space, especially since a lot of introductions take place around the coffee machine. Kitchens are also an asset because they give members a place to have a meal and socialize, rather than eating from their workstations in the rest of the building.
When designing a kitchen for a coworking space, you’ll want the essentials that will make your kitchen comfortable and functional.
- One (or two) microwaves and/or toaster oven
- A large refrigerator
- Plenty of cabinetry
- A coffee machine
- A dishwasher
- A large table, or multiple tables
- Electric kettle
Listen to your tenants
The members you attract are who will help define your space over time, so make sure you’re listening to their feedback – whether direct or indirect. Happy and productive members will be your best marketing, so your main focus should be on supporting the needs of those using your space. Remember to consider what kind of worker is using your space, and keep your ears open to their input when making future design decisions.