Coworking is a trend that a lot of real estate developers are trying to capitalize on. That said, it can be difficult for them to strike the right balance between affordability and high-quality space. Often, new entrants think coworking is just like any other office. But what happens when you combine open-plan offices with the opportunity to work alongside other professionals?
The problem is mistakes can be costly and many inexperienced people diving into coworking for the first time won’t realize the mistake until they are hundreds millions in debt or with an empty space, void of collaborative energy, and not meeting their financial goals.
Propques has worked with enough property owners that are looking to start a space or looking to transfer one to an existing operator through a management contract to notice some common, expensive mistakes.
Mistake #1: Inefficient Furniture Sizes
People who haven’t worked out of a coworking space often mimic their own big desk– 36″ deep and 60″ – 72″ wide. These desks are nice, but people aren’t willing to pay for it, and they make a room seem small. A big desk can make an office of 140 sq ft with seats for 4 feel like an office only able to have seats for 2. This means that the office will only be able to charge INR 10000 per month vs an estimated INR 20000 per month since most private offices are advertised and compared by how many people they seat and not square feet. This one mistake makes the office generate INR 120000 less revenue per year.
Large desks can make rooms less adaptable to the needs of a rotating group of members throughout the year. We recommend 24 inches by 36 inches as the standard size for most coworking desks*. In certain markets, we might recommend a 28 inch by 48 inch desk. The desk storage should never be attached to the desktop – it should be a proper storage pedestal with wheels that can easily be moved or pulled out with a cushion on top for some temporary seating. In that case, it’s much easier to maneuver than if it were attached and part of the desk. You, your staff, and your members are going to be moving around furniture and commercial furniture is very heavy! Desk storage is especially heavy, which makes it an even bigger pain when you’re trying to move it in and out of narrow doorways.The size for standard office desks varies depending on which city you are in.
The combination of having to replace furniture and the loss revenue can be a painful lesson for first time coworking entrepreneurs. We’ve seen coworking spaces fail because of this simple mistake.
Mistake #2: Inefficient Office Sizes
Building a project from scratch is expensive and more space might be needed than you intended. Too often, people guess at how many single offices and conference rooms to build. They base their decisions on gut instinct instead of doing the appropriate market research. The right approach needs to be data-driven and informed with market research that helps illuminate potential demand for different size spaces and understand how larger teams might use the space.
Private offices in coworking are a literal game of inches. If an office is 6 feet by 11 feet then it’s a two-person office renting for INR 12000/Month but if it’s a 9 feet by 11 feet then it’s a three-person office renting for INR 18000- 21000/Month. However, it’s not about just square feet but the dimensions and how desks can be laid out.
No matter what the office size allocation is it’s not going to be perfect, but too often spaces have too many offices of the wrong size. This error by not relying on a data-driven approach with market research causes them to be discounted and the space misses out on tens of thousands of dollars each year.
If you’re considering starting a coworking business, it’s important that you do your research. The details of furniture size and office sizes are just two of the big decisions you’ll need to make when opening your space. That’s where Propques comes in. We work with partners to perform feasibility studies and find the right tenant for their space. We’ll help you find the right management company to make your space a successful coworking hub with our consulting services. Schedule a call if you’d like to learn more about transforming your vacant space into a new coworking community.