Automate Your Coworking Space to Weather the Next Six Months of COVID

COVID is giving a major jolt to the workspace industry.

Commercial real estate will not be the same, post-COVID, nor will coworking and the shared workspace industry.

One thing that’s immediately apparent is the growing interest and need for smaller spaces closer to home.

Fewer people are taking transit and people don’t want to stand in packed elevators in big buildings. The remote revolution brought on by COVID has resulted in a workforce that appreciates flexibility and no- or low-commute work.

For space operators, this shift presents an incredible opportunity. As Satellite Deskworks founder Barbara Sprenger recently said, “Don’t give up. There is so much light at the end of this tunnel.”

But while COVID is here, space operators need to take extraordinary measures to keep spaces afloat, as income is almost certainly reduced. With money tight, fewer staff and members in spaces, and a focus on keeping everyone safe, it’s important to automate operations where possible.

Here are 12 ways to automate your coworking space to weather the next six months of COVID.

1. No-touch Workspace Access

Get an access system that doesn’t require you to give people swipe cards, fobs or keys. That’s easy with Deskworks partners Kisi or Salto. Both of these providers let members access your space with their phone, using bluetooth, wifi or near field communication (NFC).

No-touch access also allows you to give non-members access to your space using a temporary key that lets them in certain hours. This feature is great for off-hours meeting room and office rental, if you are comfortable with the security of your space and give access to non-members.

2. See Who is in Your Space

You may have reduced staffing during COVID. This means you need a system that allows you to see who’s in your space from anywhere, at any time. Relying on door access swipes isn’t enough, as people tailgate or otherwise forget to swipe in and out.

The Deskworks network check-in system provides up-to-the-minute information about who is on your network and in your space as your wifi automatically syncs with member devices. Since this also tracks people against their membership plans, you can create plans based on daily or hourly usage and automate the process from usage tracking through to billing, giving you another way to capture revenue.

3. Self-sufficient Members

To minimize unnecessary physical interactions during COVID, help members be as self-sufficient as possible, including making their own reservations and updating their payment information. Enable potential members to sign up through your website and get space access or codes through their mobile device, which reduces another contact point.

4. Meeting Room Booking

People need professional, safe meeting space. Allowing members and non-members to book meeting rooms directly from your website or app makes this process easy on them, and you. Remember to put information about your COVID safety measures upfront on your website to put new visitors and searchers at ease.

5. Advance Reservations

Your reservation system should be automated. Minimize back-and-forth communication and enable people to make and change reservations easily through your software. Deskworks seamlessly captures all the information you need and makes the reservation process quick and easy.

6. Virtual Tours

People don’t want to have close interactions right now. This means you have to be able to show potential members and new members around the space virtually. Whether the virtual tour is professionally produced or a simple walkthrough with your phone, an automated tour can showcase your space and offerings when in-person tours are less frequent.

7. Terms of Service

There’s no need to have new members come to the space to agree to your terms of service. This can easily be done remotely through Deskworks. Paired with no-contact access, members can be up-and-running in minutes.

8. Automated Billing

Automate as much of your billing as possible to minimize manual communications between your accountant, team and members. Deskworks workspace management software captures usage, adds it to an invoice and sends the invoice out automatically. No need to wait for members to authorize payment.

Some software systems process payments automatically but don’t send an invoice. Deskworks sweeps any additional charges for the month into the invoice and payment so you won’t lose income from any add-on charges that may not be included in a membership plan, such as additional printing jobs or conference room bookings.

9. Track Income from Aggregators

While your workspace income is reduced, you’ll likely be using aggregators, including CloudVO and Liquidspace. Ensure that your software integrates with the aggregators so people looking for meeting room space, a day office or dedicated desk can book right on the aggregator app. Deskworks tracks aggregator usage so you don’t have to rely on their reporting—you can generate your own aggregator income and usage reports.

10. Remote Space Access

Make sure you can get into your space access software remotely. Someone will get locked out and you’ll need to be able to let them in.

11. Remote IT Management

If possible, you want remote access to your IT infrastructure. This way, you can make adjustments to your router, expand bandwidth and troubleshoot issues.

12. Simple Printing

Make it as simple as possible to operate your coworking space printer. Any commercial printer can be set up with a very simple, intuitive dashboard. This way, you don’t have to intervene to help members copy, scan and print.

Deskworks can take the usage history report from any commercial printer for one-click posting of usage to everyone’s invoice, simplifying your billing even further. We also integrate with printing solutions, including ezeep.

The Deskworks team has more than 10 years of experience running coworking spaces. Contact us to schedule a free 15-minute review of your systems to help you weather COVID by automating your operations.

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