Home, Office

By on Jan 20, 2020 in Coworking, News

Home is where the heart is, as well as the home office for some. All the time at home in front of a computer, however, can lead to feelings of isolation, a lack of inspiration, and a lack of meeting space for collaboration. Remote employees and freelancers turn to coworking spaces for help. To avoid a hectic commute, they seek coworking offices that are as close to home as possible. Herein lies renters’ problem that is an opportunity for multifamily and coworking owners.

As the number of digital nomads grows, it outpaces coworking space availability especially in midsize and tertiary markets. Many multifamily communities aren’t equipped with the space, staff, or equipment needed to successfully operate their own coworking space on premises. This is where a collaboration between coworking organizations and multifamily properties can fill the void.

Renters want coworking space but providers face challenges

The 2020 National Multi-housing Council & Kingsley Apartment Resident Preferences Survey indicates that 46% of renters are interested in coworking space as a community amenity. Additionally, 48% are interested in conference or meeting rooms and 37% take interest in makerspace and DIY rooms.

Unfortunately for renters outside of major metropolitan areas, coworking spaces are too far away, face limited availability, or are quite pricey. Some property managers will accommodate renters by creating a coworking space within the community. When space and staff are limited, that simply isn’t an option.

For coworking firms outside of major metros, high rents may necessary to stay afloat with inconsistent membership revenues. A reliable base of clients would offer stability and an opportunity for growth but getting such leads is a struggle.

Multifamily property and coworking leadership may be able to work together with mutual benefit.

Considerations for coworking and multifamily property managers

Space For most multifamily owners, space is an issue. Converting a clubhouse or community room into coworking space means that there is no longer a clubhouse or community room for other residents. By coordinating space off site, property managers will not have to limit amenities or the revenue that they generate.

Data Load Some multifamily properties are not equipped with the infrastructure needed for fast reliable and connections. This is especially true for older construction. New coworking spaces can offer the state-of-the-art connectivity options.

Conversely, newer properties or retrofitted properties may offer high-speed internet as well as improved security. Some coworking spaces with unsecured community connections may not be able to compete. It’s important for both parties to know what they are bringing to the agreement in term of internet connectivity.

Security High-quality coworking space isn’t as simple as setting up a room with Wi-Fi. Renters may handle sensitive data, making security and encryption measures an appealing differentiator. Advanced technology will help renters feel at peace about paid memberships at a coworking space within the community or nearby.

“The security in a coworking space is typically less strict than a residential setting,” admits Victor Vasev, senior director, coworking, with Yardi. “Coworking spaces use shared resources for internet services and space access. The right technology platform can bridge the gap between the loose security setup of a coworking space and tight security setup of a residential platform.”

Maintenance Coworking spaces need regular maintenance and service. Vacuuming, surface cleaning, hardware and software troubleshooting are among the most common requirements. There is also the refiling of coffee, snacks, and other tasks.

Leasing and maintenance staff have their own full-time commitments, which makes collaborating with coworking facilities ideal. A professionally managed coworking space eliminates burdens on community staff.

Lead Generation Identifying, nurturing, and converting leads can be a challenge for any business. Coworking can be especially difficult when workers have the option to work from everywhere else. Teaming up with a multifamily property offers a steady source of hot leads.

24/7 Access Freelancers and digital nomads rarely work traditional hours. As a result, leasing office hours may be too limited to meet their needs. Coworking spaces on premises at a community or nearby would benefit from offering 24/7 access with a PIN or biometric identification.

Some properties already offer keyless entry to their units. The tech could multitask at a community working space. If not, taking advantage of the technology at a nearby coworking office could provide the accessibility that renters want without tech that properties must buy or maintain.

Learn how to make smart real estate decisions for your coworking space.

Creating the agreement

Before striking an agreement with a community, Warren Hersowitz, regional manager, coworking at Yardi, offers the following considerations for coworking specialists:

The collaboration must, of course, make financial sense. “Will apartment management pay the coworking facility a flat fee or per person rate for residents to use the space? Will those members provide enough revenue?” proposes Hersowitz.

If the numbers don’t seem favorable at first, there are value-add measure that may tip the scales. “What are the renters’ requirements and expectations? What could coworking owners offer to residents to increase satisfaction and drive up revenue?” he adds.

Vasev suggests establishing clear boundaries early on. If a community has a high concentration of digital nomads, the distinction between multifamily manager and coworking site manager could quickly blur. The reverse is less likely.

“The relationship might turn into competition later on if the multifamily property decides to take on managing the coworking space directly,” says Vasev. “I’d suggest a strong bilateral agreement that ensures the two parties focus on their respective areas.”

“Secondly, coworking specialists could consider integrating their technology with the technology platform of the multifamily property. See if there is synergy prior to beginning a relationship,” he says. “Disjointed and disconnected technologies for managing internet services, billing and community resources could lead to inefficiencies and frustration which could sabotage the business partnership. This is where Yardi can help.”

Explore Yardi data and Wi-Fi services with high-speed connectivity, enhanced security, roaming, and customizable bandwidth management packages.

Coworking space management made easy

Yardi KUBE makes coworking space management easy. The intuitive platform helps coworking and shared workspace businesses reduce costs, drive revenue, and grow the space without increasing overhead.

With KUBE, users can facilitate self-service for members and prospects with desk and meeting room reservations as well as an online marketplace with real-time availability. Websites conveniently convert into a revenue source by offering available spaces and services for purchase in real time via COMMERCIALCafé Coworking. There is no manual billing, paperwork, and labor with KUBE’s automated invoicing and payment processes. All accounts payable, general ledger, merchant services and reconciliation are combined in one encompassing suite with Yardi Voyager Coworking.

Learn how KUBE can improve your coworking space performance.