Options for, and acceptance of, working remotely are growing steadily, which in turn is fueling the growth of the coworking industry.
With a plethora of coworking options to choose from in any given city, coworking spaces have to work a little harder to stand out from the competition.
As covered in our blog post How to Attract New Members to Your Coworking Space, the first step of drawing in new members is to define the ideal persona that you hope to attract, then build everything else — pricing, packages, hours, aesthetic, and activities — just for that person. Embrace what makes your space different from the others, and why someone should choose you over everyone else.
In this blog post, we thought it would be fun to explore a few of the ways some coworking spaces have differentiated themselves, or worked to put a new twist on the concept of coworking to appeal to new groups.
Coworking Spaces for Health Pros
At first glance, a medical practitioner might not have much in common with the “digital nomad” that we typically think of as a coworking space user.
But many health specialists can benefit from a shared workspace just as digital freelancers do.
Medical office spaces require specialized equipment and may have other special requirements, such as biohazard disposal. Because of that, professionals who are interested in working part-time may find it particularly difficult to afford the overhead costs of a space to practice in.
That’s where health-focused “coworking” spaces come in. They enable members to share office resources like certain medical equipment (think observation rooms and examination tables), as well as office basics like scheduling systems, phone answering systems, and to split fees for services such as internet access and professional cleaning.
These shared spaces are also filling a gap in the commercial real estate market, whose options don’t always meet the needs of medical professionals.
John Groberg, founder of Viva Medsuites, opened his shared medical space after realizing that fact. “Many medical professionals don’t need 2,000 ft² offices, but that’s the minimum quantity available in the commercial market,” he told us.
Plus, members can connect to a community of other part-time medical professionals, which paves the way for them to collaborate, extend their network, and cultivate new sources for referrals.
There can be other benefits, too. For example, America’s Health Center, one of The Receptionist’s clients, also offers each of their tenants social media consulting and ad space on the TV in the lobby.
These health-focused spaces aren’t just for physical health. Spaces such as Therapy Space focus on mental health and wellness and provide therapists with similar shared resources and networking opportunities.
Coworking Spaces for Emerging Industries
Sometimes it can be easier to find a competitive edge in an industry that’s just emerging or is enjoying a period of rapid growth. If you offer services that are tailored specifically to what people in one of these new industries needs, your space will become the clear choice for workers in that group.
In these cases, founders should have personal experience in the industry that lends them deeper insights into what members need. Here are examples of coworking spaces that specialize in the needs of hot new markets.
The Cannabis Industry
You probably already know that a growing number of states have legalized the use of cannabis for medical and even recreational purposes. Some coworking entrepreneurs are taking the opportunity to share expertise at cannabis-focused coworking spaces. Receptionist client Cultivated Synergy in Denver is one of those spaces.
As the Cultivated Synergy team explains in their introductory video, cannabis businesses face a unique set of obstacles and challenges. They created Cultivated Synergy to serve as a hub for industry professionals to access industry knowledge and tools. By working together, businesses can grow the market (and their mutual interests) both locally and nationwide.
Podcasting and Other Media
Podcasts are super popular these days. More and more people have discovered the joy of listening to their favorite podcasts via smartphone on commutes, while exercising, or even while doing the dishes at home.
And, of course, as podcast consumption has grown, plenty of new podcasts have popped up to meet the demand. These days, many businesses, agencies, and individuals without any prior audio production experience are getting into the podcasting game.
For that reason, some coworking spaces are offering podcast studio access to members. In-house podcast studios can expand the market for your coworking space to people who simply need a studio. However, it can also give your space an advantage over other spaces to members who are interested in potentially starting a podcast for their business.
In fact, some spaces, such as The Yard in New York City, also have broadcast studios and greenrooms that make it easy for members to produce video content as well as audio.
When you think of agricultural work, you’d probably be more likely to picture a field on a remote farm than an urban coworking space. But plenty of advancements in the future of sustainable agriculture are happening in indoor labs by groups of people who are passionate about advancing agricultural technology.
AgTech X Co-Lab was a unique coworking concept that combined elements of a coworking space, experimental lab, and classroom dedicated to agriculture. The space was acquired in 2019 by Agritecture Consulting, and according to its website, the team is “seeking the right partners to bring our concept and takeaways to other key cities around the globe.”
Coworking Spaces for Parents
One of the reasons many coworkers seek out remote and freelance work in the first place is to get the freedom and flexibility they need to spend more time with their kids.
Because so many remote workers are young parents with small children not yet in school, some coworking spaces have stepped up to provide childcare during certain hours.Many coworkers have sought out remote and freelance work specifically to get the flexibility they need to spend more time with their family. Click To Tweet
Offering childcare at your coworking space can be tricky, as this Chicago Tribune article sums up. Child care regulations may vary by state and mandate things like child-to-caregiver ratios, staff training, square footage requirements, and more.
Not all of these regulations will apply to coworking spaces that require parents to stay on-site or that limit the number of daily hours that children will be in their care. However, even the most casual child care arrangements at your coworking space require plenty of energy. You’ll need a plan for how to handle things like food allergies and emergency contacts, for example. You’ll also need different waivers and policy agreements.
Because of the added complications that offering childcare requires, the coworking spaces that do offer childcare tend to focus on recruiting parents with small children as members. They position their childcare service as the central selling point for membership.
Some of these spaces, such as Nido Durham and The Inc. Coworking and Playschool in Seattle, have even structured themselves as nonprofit organizations to reflect the educational nature of their missions and to make their programs more accessible to families from all income levels.
Standing Out in the Coworking Industry
In general, setting your coworking space apart from competitors requires making a distinct impression on visitors and carefully planning their experiences. And one big step in the right direction of making a good first impression is to update your visitor check-in system with a modern, tablet-based visitor check-in app. Visitor management programs like The Receptionist improve visitor experience, but also have plenty of other benefits, such as streamlined administration and improved safety practices.
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