5 steps to turn your extra office space into a co-working space

Office spaces are a hard-earned investment that most businessmen consider a major milestone. As an eCommerce business owner, you know what we're talking about. The expenses of maintaining an office space are pretty high. From maintenance, electricity and other overheads to opportunity costs, physical space is an expensive affair. Although, in the aftermath of the pandemic, many e-commerce office owners have evolved to a hybrid environment. As departments such as administration, marketing, development, and more that can work from home now join the workforce remotely, office spaces across the world are sporting empty cubicles. But with the expense, why let the space go waste? It's time for you to turn that expense sinkhole into a revenue-earning asset! Here are 5 steps to turn your extra office space into a co-working space:

Step 1: Identify available space: Map out the available space and the number of employees who will require the space. Allocate desired cubicles, cabins, rooms, and spaces for the existing staff. Ensure that you take into consideration visiting employees, meeting spaces, maintenance staff and temporary employees when accounting for the space. Once you've determined the space and allocated sections for the existing employees, it's time to map the available space. Ensure that the available space is enough and is available for a considerable amount of time. If the office space is available only for certain time periods, prepare a timetable for the same. List down the details of the offerings - from measurements, number of tables and chairs available, wifi availability, shared spaces, coffee and refreshments, etc. You now have a detailed description of what you can put on hire.

Step 2: Equip the space: Once you've identified the space you wish to put up for hire, equip it with the basics. Ensure that it has a working light, fan, air conditioner, plug point, and wifi. Also make sure that there are no broken chairs, chipped tables, loose handles or any other issues in the fixtures. Once you've fixed the space-for-hire, go through the same list for the shared spaces, if any. Water coolers, coffee machines, vending machines, snacks, etc. are some common things to maintain and offer. You also want to ensure that all paperwork regarding sub-letting or renting is in order.

Step 3: Advertise the space: Some common channels to advertise the available space would be through a microsite, a lead page, a social media post or digital ad banners promoted via google adwords or social media paid promotions. You can also spread the word in the locality through radio ads, pamphlets, billboards, notice boards, and referrals. Utilize the office facade or shared foyers in case of business parks to place standees or tag notices announcing your co-working office space for hire.

Step 4: Booking workflow: Build and execute a workflow to accept bookings for the spaces as per their availability. You can enable bookings through the website or via phone calls, in case you can spare someone to handle the responsibility. Although, enabling online booking is a cheaper and more efficient way to manage the bookings. Appointment booking software such as Appointo, are easy to set up and allow customers to book from the website itself. Appointo even helps feed in the space's availability such that it allows you to keep it free for when you need to use it and avoids double-bookings. In the case of meeting rooms, you can enable Appointo's group booking feature to ensure that all the participants of the meeting are looped into the booking. With automated notifications and calendar invites, Appointo is the best solution to enable your co-working space. What's more, Appointo's ability to integrate with a POS system means even if you accept bookings manually at the office, the system will integrate seamlessly and manage your bookings end-to-end.

Step 5: Rules and maintenance: While your occupants are temporary and most likely to utilize the co-working space for work and meetings, it is always a good idea to lay down some base rules when renting. Build a list of rules to include what the space can be used for and the do's and dont's. Specify the processes and how-to's for any machines available in the office such as the coffee machine, the printer, fax or even the projector in the meeting room. More importantly, as a co-working space that is a part of your office, make sure that the occupants do NOT become a hindrance or pest to the employees already working at the office. You might also want to ensure that your office data and security is safeguarded when allowing external people to enter the premises.

One last suggestion that we'd like to share would be to price the space in a manner that you recover your costs while also staying competitive in the market so as to stay booked for a considerable amount of time. While you go analyze the available space in your office to identify "rent-able" spaces, here's a link to Appointo, the appointment booking software that will ease the process and start a stream of revenue you never knew you could set up!

Tarang Agarwal

Designer by degree and developer by profession, a front end wizard who likes to keep things neat and clean for the clients