The popularity of coworking spaces has been on the rise in recent years, with more and more people choosing to work in shared offices rather than traditional workplaces. Coworking spaces offer a unique experience for those looking for a flexible and community-driven environment, with a variety of benefits for both individuals and businesses. However, before opening your own coworking space, there are several things to consider when determining the size of your space.
There are many different viewpoints when it comes to the perfect size for a coworking space. However, three key factors must be taken into consideration before deciding:
◦ Use/product mix.
Balancing these factors can be a careful act, but it is essential to ensure that your space is both large enough to guarantee profitability and small enough to facilitate a sense of community.
Profitability is a crucial factor to consider when it comes to opening a coworking space. While many are excited about the possibility of developing a shared office and building a community of entrepreneurs, it is important to consider the business and its profitability. Larger coworking companies often use specific formulas to maximize profitability per square meter, and they typically find that larger spaces are more profitable. A space smaller than 500 square meters might have a hard time meeting its financial needs.
One of the key reasons this is the case is that a larger space will require more staff to run and operate. This will therefore increase your costs. If you have a smaller space, the only way to build in profitability is to build a model where you, the owner, is also the operator, possibly taking on several roles including management, repairs, and bookkeeping. A larger space will give you more personal and financial flexibility.
On the other hand, a big space can inhibit the community aspect of coworking spaces. A sense of togetherness is one of the main reasons people join coworking spaces. When the space is too large and empty, it can be difficult for members to find each other and interact naturally. Small interactions like sharing an electric socket can be the building blocks of a relationship among members.
However, when the space is full, and the membership is upwards of 150 people, it can be hard for new members to find their space and position within the community you’ve created. It will be hard for them to feel like they can make an impact on others. You will have a hard time managing customer expectations and too many members won’t know (or know of) each other.These are the things that many of us miss while “working from home”. New members expect a space that is not too crowded but also better than their living rooms to work among others.
We would say that community breakdown can occur in a space of 3k sqm. plus as it is too big and it might affect the society of the shared office, leaving members to work alone or feel socially isolated.
Finally, it is essential to consider the use/product mix of your coworking space. A shared office is not a coffee shop with one intended use. Therefore, it is crucial to have a good mix of spaces for different activities. Members want all the facilities they would get in a traditional office while having the flexibility and community of a coffee shop. Therefore, coworking spaces need meeting rooms, booths for video calling, communal zones, and offices. Understanding how to balance these requirements with the space you have will help you realize your space's potential and inform your space needs.
Additionally, you’ll want to consider what type of customers you want to attract. Are you in a tourist town? You might have interest from vloggers who will want tools to edit their videos. Perhaps you see a demand fora podcasting studio where members can privately record podcasts in a soundproof room. Are you located in a hub? Small offices people can pop into on their way to other meetings might be a necessity. By considering your surroundings and the needs of your community you’ll be able to pick the perfect size that will allow you to provide all kinds of different workspaces.
To achieve the perfect size for a coworking space, profitability, community, and a variety of experiences must be allowed. Based on our experience, larger spaces end up being the best value. While some people have found ways to make smaller spaces profitable, larger spaces enable the offer of a range of services and it brings more people together. The right size will depend on several factors, such as the location, the community you are targeting, and the number of members you expect to accommodate.
A space that’s too large or too small will each have its own set of challenges. Larger spaces will need more community facilitation and clever design to enable social interaction. This can also be facilitated through a variety of amenities and events that will offer a space for members to interact and collaborate with each other.
The general rule of thumb is that anything less than 200 sqm. is probably not going to be profitable. Anything less than 400 sqm. should be run by, you, the owner of the space to have any meaningful profit. Our recommended minimum space size would be 700 sqm. so that you can hire staff to run the space for you and still be able to get meaningful profit. That being said, there are always exceptions as there are a few smaller coworking spaces that are just killing it.
In conclusion, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to determine the perfect size for a coworking space. The right size will depend on various factors, including profitability, community, and use/product mix. Balancing these factors is essential to ensure that your space is both profitable and community oriented. With careful consideration and planning, however, it is possible to create a shared office space that meets the needs of both individuals and businesses alike.