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Unlocking the Secrets to Successful Coworking Spaces

Humza Ahmad Barlas
Humza Ahmad Barlas
Unlocking the Secrets to Successful Coworking Spaces

The world is seeing a sizeable increase in coworking spaces. According to Statista, there were roughly 17,000 coworking spaces globally. By 2024, this number is projected to be more than 40,000. The reason for the increasing competition in this area is the numerous benefits coworking spaces offer. Entrepreneurs, freelancers, and remote workers opt for coworking spaces over hiring traditional office spaces due to their flexible nature and collaborative environment.

If you Google ‘coworking space in Islamabad’, you will come across numerous options, a sign of the competition and market demand. But not all coworking spaces are equal. It means that despite the increasing preference for coworking spaces, your venture may fail if you are not careful. There are various factors to consider when setting up a coworking space. If you fail to meet your members’ demands effectively, they will not hesitate to cancel the contract and move to a competitor.

As coworking spaces center around flexibility, the members can likely cancel the agreement without hassle. If you try to bind them with a tight rent agreement, they will consider you similar to a traditional office space. However, there is nothing to worry about as we will help you understand which factors determine a coworking space's success. If you can cater to these factors, your venture will be successful.

Coworking Space Success Factors

1. Location

The first thing that one must consider is the location. Suppose you have a wonderful commercial space available. You decide to convert it into a shared workspace, as recent statistics indicate it is a profitable venture. However, months pass, and you cannot enjoy any noticeable returns. In such situations, the most likely issue is the location.

Coworking space location in downtown

If you carefully analyze the coworking space industry, you may notice that the top shared workspaces are near transportation hubs. In other words, the shared space is easily accessible by public transport. In addition to public transport, the space must be near other amenities such as cafes and restaurants.

Our analysis of the websites of top coworking spaces shows one thing in common. Can you guess what it is? All 20 of them talk about ‘location’ in their web copy. It highlights the importance of selecting the right location. Therefore, don't open a shared space because of what the statistics portray, as they don’t communicate the meticulous planning such ventures require.

2. Amenities

The next thing which you must consider is the amenities. What are you willing to offer to your members? It may seem quite straightforward, but it is one of the most challenging aspects of opening a shared space. Why? The reason is people expect a lot from their office space. If you don't live up to their expectations, they will start looking for alternatives. But your costs will increase significantly if you try to fulfill each demand and expectation.

Therefore, the purpose is to create a balance. There are some basic necessities which you must offer in any case. They include

  • free coffee,
  • high-speed internet,
  • meeting rooms,
  • a printing room,
  • and a rest area.

If you have slow internet or it keeps experiencing downtime, your members are losing money, and their productivity is zero. So, ensure such facilities are top-notch, and contingency plans are in place if something goes wrong.

Apart from the basic amenities, you must offer something extra to stand out from the competition. We saw unique approaches when analyzing the different strategies coworking spaces use to attract members. A few shared spaces offer nap rooms where members can go and take a rest. Others have gaming rooms in the place where members can play games to blow off steam and take a rest.

Furthermore, some coworking spaces only take specific clients. For instance, one coworking space only allows members from the IT field. They have professionals at hand who provide consultation services to the members. In other words, offering basic facilities is necessary, and then you need to offer something extra to make a name for your business amongst the target market.

3. Continuous Improvement

Two-thirds of startups never give a positive return to their investors. It means most businesses fail. Indeed, it is quite an alarming statistic. So, to avoid it, businesses start focusing on profitability from day one. They lose sight of their product or service, ultimately responsible for the failure. Businesses must understand that they must focus on improving their product and service. When they do this, the customer base will expand with minimal effort.

A member at a coworking space

Therefore, shared office spaces must focus on improving their services. If the members don't see positive changes occasionally, they can lose motivation to come each day. Even a simple design change or upgrading the furniture can go a long way in improving the members’ mood and feelings towards your venture.

4. Community

Most of us opt for a coworking space because of the community. You may get to interact with people from your or other fields. It can open new opportunities and allow you to expand your network. Unfortunately, most coworking spaces are guilty of a mistake. They provide the space to just about anyone without verifying their business/work nature.

Unfortunately, it can lead to a situation where you have people running call centers while others are trying to code, write content, or do anything else. It would undoubtedly create a negative experience for others as they will have to deal with the noise and continuous loss of focus. So, we recommend first deciding what type of members you want in your space.

If you want to provide space to a call center, ask them to rent a separate room to avoid disturbing the others. We recommend offering your space to people in certain sectors like IT, finance, and marketing. It will create a highly professional environment that can be a differentiation source.

5. Design

In addition to the above points, you need to analyze the design. What type of environment are you trying to create in the space? For instance, do you want a modern look or a traditional office-type setup? Our research indicates people don’t regard the traditional office look highly, and they are quite right. People prefer an alternative space because they don't want to experience 'office' vibes.

Modern coworking space design

Instead, they want to experience a relaxing environment that enables them to enjoy, work, and de-stress simultaneously. Don't ignore the importance of selecting the right furniture when considering the design. We recommend purchasing high-quality, durable furniture.

6. Flexibility

Finally, you need to offer flexibility to your members. The first thing you need to consider is the rent arrangements. Will you offer the coworking space on a monthly basis, per use, or through other contractual arrangements? Apart from this, will members have dedicated desks, or will you implement a hot desk option? There are other things to consider as well, such as the timings. Will your space be open 24/7 or have specific timings? How easy will it be if a member wishes to scale up or down?

7. Security

Your members expect the premises to be safe and secure. Therefore, take the necessary security measures to provide a sense of security. You can do so by securing the building with CCTV cameras, and RFID doors, and employing security guards at the entrance/exit points. Secondly, ensure you have well-written policies regarding acceptable and non-acceptable behavior inside the premises. For instance, members do not have the right to record images or videos as it breaches others’ privacy.

8. Ambiance

Don’t underestimate the importance of ambiance. Ensure you have well-lit premises where people feel safe when working even at late night or alone. Secondly, the premises must be clean. If you fail to ensure cleanliness, members will avoid continuing at your space. Remember, if they leave a negative review, it can be very challenging to recover your reputation. So, employ janitorial staff to regularly clean the premises, including the washrooms.

9. Events & Competitions

As said earlier, there is increasing competition in the coworking space sector. People assume it offers a sizeable return on investment with little effort. With so much competition, it can be challenging to differentiate your space from others. One way of beating the competition is to hold events and competitions. You can use this strategy if you have a dedicated space for it to avoid disturbing others. The alternative would be to hire a third venue.

10. Accessibility

Finally, don’t forget accessibility. Unfortunately, we are still far away from providing a level playing field to people with disabilities or special needs. When creating your coworking space, place accessibility at the heart of each process. You can have dedicated parking spaces, specially fitted washrooms, adjustable lighting, or special desks to suit their unique needs. We highly recommend obtaining feedback from members with special needs frequently to ensure you are meeting their needs.


It concludes our views on ensuring your coworking space is a success. If you pay careful consideration to these points, we can guarantee your coworking space will be a huge success. Before venturing into any business, we do recommend creating a business plan and feasibility study. It will provide you with a much more clear picture.

The article was written by Humza Ahmad Barlas. Humza has spent the past seven years building a successful career in the coworking industry. With a deep understanding of the needs of modern entrepreneurs, startups, and small businesses, Humza has helped established productive and inspiring workspaces. Humza’s most recent project in this field is CocoSpace, a coworking space in Islamabad.

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