Office Management: 4 Lessons Coworking Teaches Companies

On Mar 8, 2024

Why is it that when we talk about optimal office management, we inevitably consider the most innovative coworking spaces? On one hand, their appeal certainly has something to do with it: over the years, coworking spaces have undergone significant transformations, evolving from simple workspaces populated by freelancers and startups into dynamic environments for living and sharing, open 24 hours a day. They are utilized by individual professionals as well as established companies, fostering human and professional relationships, creativity, and collaboration. The evolution has been a meaningful one: while coworking five years ago was considered merely a passing trend which could potentially fade, today it has become the new way of working and developing business for millions of people and tens of thousands of companies. It’s estimated that there are now around 35,000 coworking spaces worldwide (source: allwork). It’s hard, if not impossible, to dismiss it as a passing trend anymore.

Coworking and Office Management

Companies must therefore look at coworking with interest and draw inspiration from its success because this phenomenon represents, from the point of view of design, technologies, and, in more general terms, office management, the concrete manifestation of workspace innovation. The use of the adjective ‘concrete‘ is no coincidence: in this sector, being innovative means optimizing spaces, eliminating inefficiencies, maximizing engagement, continuously acquiring new customers, and, what should not be underestimated, reducing management costs. Being innovative leads to very, very tangible results, and that’s why companies need to pay close attention.

But why is coworking so successful? The answer is simple: because everything, from the design of spaces to services, as well as technologies, is not designed according to corporate productivity but rather individual productivity. At the center of every choice, be it design, planning or technological, there is always the person.

Office Management: Coworking’s Adversaries

Let’s start with the design: in an interviewthe creative director of WeWork, Devin Vermeulen, pointed out how in the early days of coworking, the greatest difficulty was competing with individual’s homes. The competitors of coworking spaces were not corporate offices, with which victory would have been quite easy (think of the much maligned cubicle), but the homes of individual professionals, which made the outcome of the challenge far from certain, given that working at home is not expensive. Yet, human-centered design has prevailed: coworking is a place where you work, create and maintain professional relationships, grow partnerships between companies, build community and, above all, naturally develop collaboration between professionals, people and businesses. Coworking has been successful because it is a 360° professional ecosystem centered on people.

Office Management: Space Optimization, Data-Driven Approach

As expected, the first thing that companies should acquire from the best coworking spaces is the approach centered on the person and their relationships: the cubicle is restrictive and not very dynamic, the fixed workstation in the open space does not favor collaboration, nor the reduction of communication silos of which companies are sadly plentiful. Then, for excellent office management, companies should consider the following four points, which mix aspects of space design with the technologies necessary to guarantee efficiency and cost optimization. 

1. Design of spaces according to activity and privacy
When designing, it’s crucial to take into account the various levels of energy within the environments, arranging them to promote movement, interaction, and collaboration among individuals. For example, open spaces are perfect for interacting and operating, but areas with a greater level of privacy cannot be missing, such as meeting rooms, spaces for private conversations, and designated meeting points (activity-based workplace).

2. Office management and smart technologies
Placing people’s needs at the center means developing technological solutions for office management that are aimed at the best customer experience. In the context of coworking, the essence lies in sharing spaces, services, and devices. Imagine a system where booking a meeting room, a conference space, or even a printer is as effortless as a tap on a smartphone screen – this simplicity significantly enhances the overall experience. What’s more, integrating such solutions with company calendars or employing Virtual Assistants capable of anticipating user needs and suggesting actions ensures seamless operations. The benefits for companies are evident: no waste of time, no meetings missed due to organizational gaps and zero misunderstandings for sharing resources.

3. Data analysis for space and cost optimization
Optimizing the workplace hinges on having access to data for informed decision-making. By embracing a data-driven approach, companies not only gain valuable insights into various aspects such as space utilization, desk usage, the paths taken by people, device deployment, and even environmental factors like temperature, lighting and air quality, but can also optimize the entire working environment based on the measurements. This wealth of information enables organizations to fine-tune the entire workspace to better suit the needs of employees while simultaneously cutting down on unnecessary expenses. Delving into data science and leveraging AI and Machine Learning technologies further enhances this process. For instance, advanced Computer Vision techniques can analyze people’s expressions to gauge their sentiments, all while preserving privacya valuable tool for evaluating engagement levels within the workplace.

4. Continuously improving office management
In the best coworking spaces, it is common practice to give feedback regarding the experience you have just had, whether it is the comfort of a conference room, the quality of the Wi-Fi or the ease of connecting to the monitor for meetings. Creating a professional-friendly workspace also means leveraging technology to continuously monitor and improve the level of service. While surveys may not represent the pinnacle of cutting-edge ‘4.0’ technology, their effectiveness in gathering insights and driving improvements remains undeniable.

Embracing the Coworking Paradigm: Start Building Tomorrow’s Workplace Today

As coworking continues to reshape the landscape of modern work, it serves as a beacon of inspiration for companies striving to enhance productivity, foster collaboration, and drive success in the ever-evolving workplace of tomorrow. Beyond mere trends, coworking embodies a holistic approach to workspace innovation, placing individual productivity and human relationships at its core. By embracing human-centered design, leveraging smart technologies, utilizing data-driven insights, and prioritizing continuous improvement, businesses can create dynamic and efficient work environments tailored to their workforce’s needs. This alignment fosters higher levels of productivity, engagement, and satisfaction among employees, leading to improved overall performance and success for the business.


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