8 Strategies to Encourage Employer Sponsored Memberships in Your Space
The future of work is remote.
The work from home model was not only tested during the pandemic, it was proven.
Employees can work on their own schedule from wherever they are, employers can decrease their (sometimes massive) commercial real estate footprint, and teams can collaborate from anywhere in the world.
But working from home is not ideal for everyone who works remotely.
As a space operator, you offer professional business amenities, including meeting rooms, printers, phone booths, programming, opportunities for connection and collaboration, and a way for people to separate home life and work life.
You know it’s a better way to work.
How can you help employers help their remote workers get into a coworking space that suits them? Here are eight pro strategies to make this transition easy.
1. Encourage companies to provide a workspace budget
The easiest way for employers to support employees in getting into a coworking space is to simply give them a workspace budget. That way, employees are free to choose a space, location and coworking brand that works for them. Members handle membership and payment details themselves. Their membership is included in their monthly expense report. No muss, no fuss. When approached by companies, encourage them to give their employees a workspace budget to make things simple for everyone.
2. Negotiate being an approved company space or brand
If the employer wants more control over where people work, they can designate your space (or spaces) as an approved company space. Set up a group membership that employees can use collectively.
With Satellite Deskworks, you can create buckets of hours that anyone on a team can draw from. These buckets can include space use, meeting room rental, day office rental, podcast booth use, day or half-day use, and more. Deskworks enables you to simply and seamlessly track usage via wifi. When people come in, their use is compared against the group membership plan.
3. Simplify billing (as much as possible)
As a space operator, you may have difficulty with auto billing when dealing with large companies. The best option is to automatically bill their credit card or bank account the same way you do all your other members. But, it’s rarely this simple. Large companies tend to use large invoice tracking and payment companies. But, as Satellite Deskworks & Satellite Workplaces CEO Barbara Sprenger says, “Most of them are horrible for vendors to work with. Do everything you can to avoid them.”
Sprenger adds, “If you do have to work with them, price that in because it will take time each month and collections can be slower.”
An alternative is to have the company set up a recurring autopay by ACH from their end. Be sure to price the recurring plan at a sufficient level to cover incidental charges.
4. Tread carefully with brokers
Many large corporations that are shifting to a remote or hybrid model won’t research coworking spaces themselves. They’ll go to a broker and expect them to find spaces and memberships around the world.
Sprenger cautions, “The brokers will prove their worth to their client by beating you up on price—and they’ll expect you to pay them a commission. They will be shopping the requirement to all spaces in your area.”
Think carefully about how you’ll work with brokers. The good news, as Sprenger explains, is that eventually we’ll see brokers who understand the coworking community, “but there aren’t very many yet.”
To prepare working with brokers, have a plan about what you’re willing to pay for a commission. A broker will expect a commission probably for a year, upfront. Agreements usually specify that you will receive a refund if someone leaves early, but you are then left trying to collect. Sprenger advises to be clear upfront that you only pay for the months their clients are there and that you only pay month-to-month.
5. Offer a corporate membership
If a large group of employees are using a space, but each of them is only working there a few days per week, consider creating a corporate membership.
For instance, you could create a plan (This is easy to do in Deskworks) that includes 200 days per month, or maybe 400 half-days—whatever the company needs. Your workspace management software should track each employee and check them in against the corporate plan. The company is then billed for anything over the baseline plan.
Another option is to set up a plan where each employee has access to the space x number of days per month. As people are added to the team, you just add more plans to their group membership.
6. Make it easy to add reservation credits
If a company wants occasional use of a meeting room, podcast booth, day office etc., make it easy for them to make reservations, regardless of whether they use zero or 40 hours per month. If they use more than their plan allows, the overage just rolls onto an invoice. Again, this is easy to do with Deskworks.
7. Avoid revenue leakage
When any new member, team or company comes into your space, make sure you have systems in place to capture revenue before it leaks.
For example, track printer usage and compare it against membership plans; enable people to easily book meeting rooms, dedicated desks and booths to avoid unscheduled use of these spaces; track when both members and non-members are in the space so you can bill accordingly. We have an RFID lock on every private office and conference room, so all access is tracked. These small revenue streams add up over time.
8. Make it easy for employers, remote workers and teams to join your space
As we enter a new era of work where remote and hybrid models will become the norm, make it easy for companies, employees and teams to work with you. Offer membership plans that work for them, create custom plans where appropriate, and be flexible about how you bill companies.
If you want to attract corporates, companies and the newly remote employees to your space, we can help. Our experienced and talented team has been running coworking spaces for over a decade and we’re eager to share our insights. At Satellite Deskworks, we’re committed to supporting and growing a robust coworking and flexspace community. Send us a message or request a consultation today.