5 Tips to Building a Successful Coworking Space

Oct 11, 2023

UK office occupancy rates currently sit at the highest level they’ve been since March 2021, the end of the national lockdown. 

As of April 2023, the national average office occupancy rate sits at around 44.9%. For reference, pre-pandemic estimates suggest a range of 60-80% average office occupancy rates. 

It is clear, then, that working habits have changed. Employees are spending less time in the office, but still expect a quality workspace to persuade them to attend.

This means that UK businesses are now being faced with new questions surrounding how their business operates, what their workplace is, and whether a traditional office rental solution is right for them. 

Couple the above with rising rental costs, and we find that UK businesses are increasingly switching to a coworking model to help reduce their spend and delegate the responsibility of managing a building to building managers. 

So much so, that research shows that the number of serviced offices in the UK is forecast to reach 6,218 in 2027, representing cumulative growth of 52% compared to 2022.

This makes the coworking sector a lucrative one to invest in. However, if you want to attract the best businesses, you’ll need a comprehensive strategy in place to ensure your coworking space is productive, successful and well-designed. 

Here’s how you can create a best-in-class facility that will help you to accommodate the widest range of profitable clients. 

How to create a successful coworking design

Successful coworking designs:

  • Get their brand right
  • Are well suited to users’ requirements
  • Help create a sense of community

Here are five keys to success:

1. Nail your aesthetic

First impressions are incredibly important. You need to ensure that your coworking space has as much ‘kerb appeal’ as possible.

You need to consider two things:

  • Does the coworking space add value to my clients?
  • Does the aesthetic reflect our brand?

It’s almost impossible to please everyone, so we recommend choosing an aesthetic that suits your local market and sticking to it throughout your building. The best coworking facilities also have unique features or bespoke elements that help to elevate your brand and its personality. 

You might achieve this by using a specific colour palette, and by using specific materials. Whatever you choose, you need to nail every step of the customer journey. Your building must:

  • Look great from the outside
  • Feel great when you walk in
  • Sound great as you move about

Engaging all the senses is essential in making a lasting first impression. Our brand team have worked with businesses just like yours. We’ll help you to craft the personality of your franchise, ensuring that your coworking spaces are uniquely you, while still meeting the needs of the people using it day in, day out. 

2. Have you ironed out your USP?

Your USP (unique selling point) is what makes your space special. 

This will vary depending on the types of business/people you’re targeting. 

You may choose to:

  • Organise niche social events tailored to your tenants
  • Organise networking opportunities, both inside your building, and externally
  • Outfit rooms with advanced technologies suited to your tenants

It’s important that your coworking space is suitable for the broadest range of tenants, but you can add further interest for specific parties by finding your unique differentiator. 

3. Ensure your space is accessible

When optimising your space, you may need to change aspects of your facility to help improve accessibility.

Coworking spaces need to offer disabled access to all areas. Remember: you’re offering a broad-spectrum service, not a private office. This means that you need the space to cater to mobility needs if you want to make the space successful. 

In addition to the above, you’ll also need to consider your fire escape accessibility. The number of people you have per square metre will impact your fire strategies. You will need to consider:

  • The width of your corridors
  • Where to position your fire escape stairwells
  • Evacuation routes – have you considered all possibilities? 

4. Make the most of your space

The space you have is finite, but the possibilities within that space are infinite. 

It’s your job to provide state-of-the-art workspaces for the people and businesses operating in your coworking space. As you earn more revenue per desk rented/per business, it’s essential that you balance density and comfort. 

Average London offices offer roughly 8 square metres per person, although many successful coworking spaces are looking to reduce this down to 5 square metres per person. 

Whether this will work for you or not depends on your building. If you’re unsure, we highly recommend partnering with specialist workplace consultants who will be able to advise on exactly how you can make the most of your space. 

5. Embrace the evolving coworking model

Historically, coworking was reserved almost exclusively for young businesses. This is changing. Larger organisations are now looking to coworking to provide hubs for their people, especially those working remotely or on a hybrid basis. 

Spaces are getting larger to help fit more desks, and breakout spaces are growing proportionally. You need to understand your local market and design your coworking offering to appeal to that demographic. 

Is your building next to a strong marketing quarter? A more modern look and layout might be preferred. 

Perhaps it sits in a quarter filled with professional services/architects/surveyors? As mentioned before, you need to nail both the aesthetic your target audience prefers, and the functionality they require.  

Not only this, but many coworking spaces are starting to offer ‘shared touchdown areas’, where sole traders and individual workers can rent a desk or meeting space as and when they require it. This helps you ensure no space is wasted. 

Elevate your coworking space with Rhino

Rhino have worked with many businesses in the coworking sector, helping to ensure that our clients’ buildings cater to the masses, while maintaining their unique design and feel. 

Our specialists are here to help you reimagine your coworking space, taking into consideration the overall look and feel of the building. It’s our job to:

  • Help you maximise ROI on available space, getting you the biggest bang for your buck
  • Make sure all communal spaces are functional and robust
  • Help map out thoroughfares to guarantee natural movement through the building
  • Optimise seating areas using efficient partitioning, making the space a pleasure to use
  • If sustainability is of crucial importance, we can support you in that, too

Check out our work with The Mailbox, and how we helped them create a thriving coworking community in their building. 

By taking the time to learn about your brand and your needs, we’ll help create the perfect coworking space for your tenants. We’re here to balance the amount of rental space with the premium experience that your brand deserves.

When you’re ready to elevate your coworking space, we’re here to talk. Click the link below for a no-obligation chat with a Rhino specialist. 

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