How We Support Work From Home: A Solution for Distributed Workforces

In shaking our world, COVID-19 has shown that work from home could be very productive in certain circumstances. CloudVO has come up with a solution that maximizes the benefits of remote work while negating many of its drawbacks. We call that solution the “CloudTouchdown Pass.”

Work From Home (WFH) was a necessity during the COVID-19 confinement period, but all indications suggest that it is here to stay for a large component of the workforce. Prior to COVID-19, most large Enterprises were not keen on pursuing aggressive WFH programs because the perceived negatives (e.g. potential disconnect from strong corporate cultures, a home environment not always conducive or appropriate for work, management control) seemed to outweigh the benefits:

  • Employee control over their work-life hours; 
  • Time saved and carbon footprint reduced with the elimination of long, tedious, and stressful commutes;
  • Reduced occupancy costs;
  • Enhanced employee satisfaction.

A recent internal employee survey at Facebook reported by the New York Times and many other media on May 21, 2020, suggests that 40% of the workforce would like to either work from home permanently or a significant portion of the time. Mark Zuckerberg said in a video to employees that he would expect half of his employees to work remotely within the next five years and that Facebook “will be the most forward-leaning company on remote work.” Forty-five percent of the employees indicated that they would relocate if they had the option to work remotely.

Facebook Employee Remote Work Survey (May 2020)

Facebook Employee Remote Survey May 2020

James Gorman, CEO of Morgan Stanley, was quoted in the press in late April 2020, “With 90% of our employees working at home, we have had almost no issues.” He later added that he expects many will continue to work remotely after the crisis is over because “we learned it can be done.” Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey told employees in an email on May 21, 2020 that they would be allowed to work from home indefinitely, even after the COVID-19 shutdown. He’s leaving the decision to either work from home or at the office in the hands of his employees.

Facebook, Twitter, Morgan Stanley, and many more large Enterprises are elaborating new work and recruiting strategies away from their cores which are typically located in expensive areas, as far as office space costs but also in terms of housing costs. These strategies respond to the desire of a majority of their current and prospective workforce, but also will reduce cost, improve retention, and diversify their recruiting opportunities.

To support this COVID-induced tectonic change, CloudVO has developed a CloudTouchdown Pass that gives remote workers access to part-time offices and meeting rooms in a professional workplace, in close proximity to their home. When the kitchen table does not do it anymore, they can check in a private office nearby for concentrated work. When they need to meet locally with other members of their team, they can use the pass to access fully equipped meeting rooms, in any of our 800+ carefully selected locations in our network.

We require our locations to have Health & Safety protocols that enforce social distancing, provide extreme sanitation, and follow or exceed CDC guidelines, for suitability with Enterprise clients. They have enterprise-grade internet connection and are fully furnished, with on-premise staff. When COVID-19 is in the rearview mirror, they will also provide an opportunity to commingle with other professionals at business events organized on the premises, and thus provide social and serendipitous opportunities that workers can’t find being home full-time or through their Zoom activities. That’s after a vaccine or strong therapeutics against COVID-19 are available of course. Meanwhile our locations are required to enforce strict social distancing and sanitation guidelines inside of their space, with a goal to make them “as safe or safer than home.”

The CloudTouchdown Passes are for part-time use of the CloudVO network. They provide access to day offices or conference rooms on a subscription basis, which means that their Enterprise sponsor knows exactly how much it will impact their budget.

CloudTouchdown Passes for Work From Home Employees | CloudVO

See more details here https://cloudvo.com/cloud-touchdown.


About CloudVO

CloudVO is the umbrella brand of Cloud Officing Corp., headquartered in San Francisco, California. CloudVO’s mission is to provide comprehensive virtual office, coworking and meeting room solutions to professionals under a Workplace-as-a-Service™ model. CloudVO operates the CloudTouchdown network that grants preferential access to day offices and meeting rooms at nearly 1,000 locations worldwide for mobile workers and distributed workforces under a subscription model or on a pay-per-use basis.


Maintaining Community While Members are Virtual: Insights from 4 Coworking Operators

Now that your members are working from home, scaling back their time in the space, or working apart from one another, how do you maintain community?

We asked four workspace operators to share a glimpse into their experience, how they’re creating virtual offerings, and what advice they’d give to other coworking owners and managers.

Susan Dorsch is co-founder of Office Nomads in Seattle, WA. Office Nomads has 103 members, zero private offices, and 10-15 events per month. Jamie Orr is co-founder of Cowork Tahoe in South Lake Tahoe, CA. and co-founder of Jellyswitch. Cowork Tahoe has 150 members, 32 offices and 8-12 events per month. Felicity Maxwell is co-founder and COO of Fibercove in Austin, TX. Fibercove has 100 members, 4 offices and 5-10 events per month.  Maya Delano is the community manager at Nextspace Coworking Santa Cruz who runs the space with community coordinator Jennifer Hamilton.  NextSpace Santa Cruz has 241 members, 26 offices, and hosts about 14 internal/public events per month. Here’s what they had to say:

[?] Cat Johnson: How are things in your space and community? What precautions have you taken around COVID-19?

Susan Dorsch: Things in Seattle are definitely tense as our region is one of the centers of the COVID-19 outbreak.

In the space and within our community, I’d say the general feeling is subdued. It’s hard in Seattle right now. But there’s also a solid undercurrent of humor and good-naturedness that is so reassuring. This outbreak and the onslaught of news about it has been hard on everyone, but I hear lots of words of encouragement between our members. While it’s a crappy thing to connect over, our members are connecting well and finding ways to at least cheer each other along in the struggle.

The precautions Office Nomads has taken thus far are:

  • Daily sanitizing of most surfaces in the space (countertops, door handles, coffee pots, our iPad for check-in, etc.)
  • Temporarily switching over to disposable towels in the bathrooms and kitchens (normally we use regular towels because we love the environment).
  • Having hand sanitizer and other cleaning supplies out at the ready for members to use.
  • Temporarily putting a pause on our food-related gatherings in the space (though we joked around about having a snack be individually wrapped cheese sticks placed at 6-foot intervals around the table.)
  • Maintaining a strong channel of communication with our members so they know all the things.

Jamie Orr: This week, we really saw things start to change in response to COVID-19. It’s quiet here. We still have people coming in, but the energy is completely different. On Monday, we established our response protocol as a team:

  • Suspended all drop-in day passes
  • Canceled and suspended any meeting room bookings from outside groups, and any events in the space
  • Placed signs everywhere reminding people of good hygiene protocols. Most of those signs are fun and encourage singing while hand washing
  • Increased our cleaning, disinfecting primary shared surfaces like handles, buttons, etc. multiple times throughout the day
  • Sent and posted notices about CDC guidelines, our procedures, etc. to all members

Felicity Maxwell: Cleaning stations, extra hand soap, spot cleaning of common surfaces. 

NextSpace SC: Things are getting weird, not going to lie! Initially, we started disinfecting every AM and put out hygiene signage with additional “sanitation stations” and even added floral arrangements to the stations to bring a little beauty (and engage members) to use the sanitizers. 

Wash Your Hands Signage NextSpace Coworking Santa Cruz

But now we have closed the space to abide by our county’s shelter in place order.

  • We are only open 2 hours each day for the purpose of managing mail to keep our members’ businesses running smooth
  • Members have started an online “Coffee Time” to hang out virtually each morning. It’s so cute!
  • We plan to have a virtual happy hour

In what ways has COVID-19 affected the day-to-day in your space?

SD: Things are definitely more quiet in the space, and the majority of our conversations are outbreak-related. So that’s different for sure. Literally someone just said, “Nice to social distance with y’all!” as they left the lunch table.

JO: Everyone is on edge, especially as this past week has progressed. The typical water cooler talk is all about the pandemic, what is going to happen, what people are doing to prepare. Many members are preparing by taking home monitors in anticipation of school closures.

At the same time, everyone is being incredibly supportive of one another and trying to stay in good spirits. The community is strong. Our team has been working really hard on overcommunicating with members: asking how they are doing, what they need, talking with them about what we are doing, what our thought process is, how we intend on supporting everyone. That has gone really far.

FM: Totally Normal / Totally Not! We have plenty of community members that are attempting to work as usual, but also have a number who have been impacted.  Specifically:

  • SXSW cancelled: One of the startups here has their entire remote team flying in, they were scheduled to be featured at SXSW Innovation Showcase. All of that was cancelled. No team meeting, no SXSW parties, no chance to win or gain the exposure and connections offered by SXSW
  • Projects cancelled: Several members have already mentioned work projects being cancelled. One works with the airline industry and they had an entire RFP revoked. Likewise, another member who supports large tech conferences had six months worth of work put on hold. Their contacts are now asking them to create a system for virtual conferences, since it is unclear when these types of gatherings will be coming back.
  • Meetings cancelled or low attendance: We have had several bookings cancel due to attendee travel concerns about COVID. One client has zero attendees at a sales meeting that normally has 10-15. 
  • We’ve made the decision to go to a members only/limited staffing model for the next few weeks. That should allow our members who need space to use it, but encourage everyone else to stay home and safe.  

NextSpace SC: Our space started to fill with children and friends for a bit (we are thinking it had to do with school closures before the shelter-in-place order).  Although NextSpace is closed to the public, we still allow access to members that absolutely need the space to conduct business. 

  • We offer mailbox services and are staffed for two hours a day so members can access their mail via pick-up, but we have encouraged scanning or forwarding to their home address.
  • We have also directed members to ship packages (Amazon, UPS, etc.) to their home.
  • Staff are mostly working from home and trying to keep our community informed and find ways to keep everyone connected. We’re going as virtual as possible and testing the waters of online events and messaging platforms.

[?] Do you have ways for your community to connect virtually? If so, what is working well?

SD: We sure do! We have a member mailing list as well as an active Slack. Both of those channels are proving to be really valuable for our members to touch base with each other. We just launched our first-ever virtual membership (which is free in March) to encourage those who might be newly experiencing the challenges of remote work to have another touch point.  

Already there’s been an increase in the use of Slack. We’re planning virtual work sprints, have a “daily debate” channel, and are checking in on weekly goals. It’s lovely.

JO: Next week, we’ll be rolling out scheduled times to virtually cowork with each other. I’m looking at a few options: 

  1. Work sprints with video on
  2. Happy hour or “after kids are asleep” hour
  3. Water cooler check-ins in the morning and towards mid-afternoon when members would typically be taking coffee breaks

FM: We primarily use Slack for member communication and have seen an uptick in engagement. We’re planning to use Zoom for virtual coworking this week. 

NextSpace SC: We are lucky to have amazing members who started a Facebook group to host virtual morning coffee sessions each day. Our company will be using Zoom and Facebook Live to host virtual happy hours on Friday’s at 3:58pm and daily coworking sessions with our members. We’re also using our mailing list to communicate with members.  Our internal team will be logging in together each day to connect, support and share experiences and challenges.

Virtual Happy Hour NextSpace Coworking Santa Cruz

[?] How would you advise other space operators working to find ways to support, maintain and strengthen their community through the outbreak?

SD: Don’t be silent. Reach out, be proactive, and find ways that you can be helpful. It’s not as hard or scary as you might think.

JO: Now more than ever it’s imperative to model good communication, and over-communication. Even I have taken for granted the ease at which we connect with one another when in the same physical space. There is extra effort required to get used to doing that virtually. As coworking space operators, we can help our members do that by showing them how.

FM: Give your community ways to connect that are not related to physical space. Encourage everyone to stay connected via Zoom, Slack etc., and remind them that this is temporary.

NextSpace SC: There are so many resources! Check out Women Who Cowork who have dedicated an entire training session and created an online manual to support us during these crazy times. Joining virtual discussions such as Coworking Convos is also a great way to stay connected with other space operators that are in the same boat! 

Cat Johnson Coworking Convos Virtual Community

Lastly, even if your space is not closed yet, start putting strategies in place and communicate to members what your processes will be “in case of a closure.”  Get your mail, communications and resources in order. If you do this ahead of time, you will have more time to be present and available to your members when you do have to transition to virtual coworking. 

Cat Johnson is a writer and storyteller for the coworking movement. Cat is founder of Coworking Convos – a virtual monthly group discussion with other space operators on topics relevant to the coworking industry. Sign-up for the next free Coworking Convo and join the discussion!


About CloudVO

CloudVO is the umbrella brand of Cloud Officing Corp., headquartered in San Francisco, California. CloudVO’s mission is to provide comprehensive virtual office, coworking and meeting room solutions to professionals under a Workplace-as-a-Service™ model. CloudVO operates the CloudTouchdown network that grants preferential access to day offices and meeting rooms at nearly 1,000 locations worldwide for mobile workers and distributed workforces under a subscription model or on a pay-per-use basis.


How Many Meeting Rooms Should You Have? A Meeting Room Guide for Flexible Office Space Operators

In this series, we will extract some of the data we published in our 2019 Meeting Room White Paper and dig deeper on our analysis.

Meeting Rooms are an indispensable amenity in any coworking space for three main reasons:

  1. Members need them for their own meeting requirements, both planned and sometimes impromptu
  2. Meeting rooms are an important revenue center, and a very profitable one at that
  3. Hosting meetings in your coworking space draws very desirable traffic that may convert into membership

What’s important to full-time members is that the meeting rooms are there and accessible when they need to host a meeting that cannot be accommodated in their office. Everyone likes “free,” but the availability of the rooms are more important than the price.

This is important to realize because the opportunity to monetize the meeting rooms outside of your membership is significant.

If you have a coworking space with 50 to 200 members, maintaining two meeting rooms and one day office is the bare minimum to provide the level of service that shared office space members expect. Many centers, particularly those with a healthy virtual office business, will have 5 and sometimes 10 or more meeting rooms and day offices.

The average number of meeting rooms in the U.S. is 3.5 per location, with 25% at 4 meeting rooms or more. As a reminder, these statistics come from analyzing the CloudVO inventory of 2,500 meeting rooms published on CloudVO.com, out of 700 partners worldwide with two-thirds of them in the United States. In some cases, operators do not publish all their inventory for online bookings which may slightly under estimate the true inventory numbers.

Meeting Room Data for Coworking Spaces | Number of Meeting Rooms | CloudVO

Monetizing Meeting Rooms is Too Important to Ignore

Whereas some free access to meeting rooms for full-time members can be a good idea, the opportunity cost associated with “free” is very high and the ability to monetize the rooms to outside visitors is too important to ignore. A better idea is to make them available to the public at large, and market them via resellers such as CloudVO as well as via your own local marketing efforts.

Pacific Workplaces estimates that the revenue generated by its meeting rooms (over 100 rooms in 20 locations) is 125% to 300% what it could generate by converting the rooms as full-time offices instead. The larger the room, the bigger the opportunity cost. Hence, it pays to have an aggressive meeting room profit center strategy as many CloudVO partners have found.

Over the last 10 years, we have seen a drastic reduction in ‘free’ meeting room hours provided to full-time members by operators, and a significant increase in meeting rooms available online via resellers such as CloudVO, Liquidspace, or DaVinci.

Use your Vacant Offices as Temporary Day Offices

Unlike WeWork, Regus has a healthy Virtual Office and Meeting Room business. We undertook a comprehensive comparison of their meeting room inventory, available for online bookings, with that of independent operators. It is interesting to see that Regus tends to maintain fewer larger- sized meeting rooms than independent operators, but many more rooms classified as “day offices.” This is because Regus will systematically list vacant offices as “day offices” and make them available to Virtual Office clients and “off-the-street” bookings.

They can also work as overflow for full-time members when the dedicated meeting rooms are full. We think this approach is a best practice that independent operators should emulate. Many IT platforms such as Yardi KUBE, Essensys, or DeskWorks will support the automatic listing of a vacant office as a free office, adding to your inventory of rooms that can be monetized as a meeting room until it’s leased again to a full-time client. The CloudVO platform integrates with many of the prevalent IT coworking platforms, which will enable us to market the available slots in your meeting room calendar and give end-users a seamless experience.

Meeting Room Data USA Coworking Spaces Average Rooms per Location | CloudVO

If you need assistance on how to monetize your vacant offices as day offices until they are leased to a full-time member again, do not hesitate to reach out to Partners@CloudVO.com.


About CloudVO

CloudVO is the umbrella brand of Cloud Officing Corp., headquartered in San Francisco, California. CloudVO’s mission is to provide comprehensive virtual office, coworking and meeting room solutions to professionals under a Workplace-as-a-Service™ model. CloudVO operates the CloudTouchdown network that grants preferential access to day offices and meeting rooms at nearly 1,000 locations worldwide for mobile workers and distributed workforces under a subscription model or on a pay-per-use basis.

The Best Resources for Flexible Office Space Operators in 2019

Best Resources for Flexible Office Space Operators in 2019 | CloudVO

It’s hard to believe 2019 is coming to a wrap and we hope our CloudVO partners and friends have benefitted from the resources we’ve provided throughout the year. If you’ve missed anything, we’ve made it easy for you! Check out our top ten resources for Coworking Space Operators in 2019.

1) How To Build A Healthy Virtual Office Business

How To Build a Healthy Virtual Office Business Profitability Data | CloudVO

This downloadable Free Guide for coworking operators walks you step-by-step on what it takes to start and grow a successful Virtual Office business in your coworking space, sharing data and recommendations from a best-in-class operator.

2) 8 Steps to Create a Profitable Coworking Space – eBook on Amazon

8 Steps to Creating a Profitable Coworking Space | Jamie Russo Everything Coworking

Jamie Russo, the Executive Director of the Global Workplace Association and founder of Enerspace Coworking, has published an e-book available for free on Amazon to guide newcomers to the industry on how to set up a coworking space. A well done, comprehensive guide to help coworking entrepreneurs on their journey to success!


3) Big Dive on Coworking Financial Metrics

Coworking Space Financials Deep Dive | CloudVO

This downloadable presentation is a recent update to the material our CEO, Laurent Dhollande, used at a Global Workplace Association webinar in May, which was the most attended webinar in GWA recent history. This update includes the original presentation, but with more comprehensive metrics used by Pacific Workplaces and Nextspace coworking.

4) How to Prevent Burnout when planning Coworking Events

Coworking Events and Tips to prevent Burnout | CloudVO

In this article, Cat Johnson picks the brain of Maya Delano, NextSpace Santa Cruz Community Manager, who shares 9 tips on how to organize rich events in your coworking space without burnout.

5) 2019 Meeting Room White Paper

Meeting Room White Paper 2019 Hourly Prices Per Room Size All Operators in United States

This comprehensive survey captured and analyzed the pricing of Day Offices and Meeting Rooms across the US available for booking by coworking and flexible office space locations. It covers how independent operators compare with Regus, and reviews optimum pricing, utilization rates, and best-in-class performances.

6) Instagram Marketing: An Introduction for Coworking Spaces

Instagram Marketing for Coworking Space Operators | Cat Johnson Coworking Content Training

In this joint training hosted by Coworking Content founder Cat Johnson, CloudVO Director of Marketing, Karina Patel, shows space operators how to leverage Instagram to strengthen your brand, generate leads, and attract members. Best training class on Instagram for coworking and way worth the $59 price!

7) How to Reinvent Your Marketing Strategy

CloudVO Blog Reinvent Your Coworking Space Marketing Strategy

In this post, Cat Johnson speaks with David Middleton, Vice President at YourOffice, who looked for help when his brand needed a shift to their marketing approach. That led to these 9 tips to help rejuvinate and streamline your marketing strategy.

8) New Ways of Work for Attorneys with Legal Virtual Offices

Virtual Office Plans for Attorneys | Pacific Workplaces

This article by Pacific Workplaces, is an example of how space operators can market to a specific profession. The post focuses on attorneys, historically avid users of shared office space, but operators can use this as a guide to offer someting special to any industry they choose to target.

9) Instagram Stories: An Introduction for Coworking Space Operators

CloudVO Tips on Instagram Stories for Coworking Operators

Best practices on how to leverage Instagram Stories to effectively market your coworking space. Instagram Stories are unique since they have a 24-hour shelf-life and offer specific tools to encourage engagement. Operators learn how to effectively use Stories to promote events and in-the-moment content to showcase your unique community.

10) 6 Telltale Signs It’s Time to Update your Coworking Space Website

CloudVO Blog 6 signs you need to update your coworking website

Wondering if your coworking website needs a refresh? Read this article which offers 6 clues that it may be time for a makeover.


About CloudVO

CloudVO’s mission is to provide comprehensive virtual office, coworking and meeting room solutions to professionals under a Workplace-as-a-Service™ model. CloudVO operates the CloudTouchdown network that grants preferential access to day offices and meeting rooms at nearly 1,000 locations worldwide for mobile workers and distributed workforces under a subscription model or on a pay-per-use basis.

Deep Dive on Coworking Financial Metrics for Coworking Operators

Coworking Space Financials Deep Dive | CloudVO

Tell us a bit about yourself before downloading the complete slide deck.

Five months ago, our CEO Laurent was asked by the Global Workspace Association (GWA) to host a webinar that shared Pacific Workplaces’ (PAC), our sister company, best practices on financial metrics. This was the GWA webinar with the largest audience in recent memory. Multiple follow up questions lead us to update and expand the presentation and post it here for the benefit of CloudVO partners and friends.

This slide deck is more comprehensive than the original webinar whose recording can be streamed from the GWA member portal (you need to be a GWA member to do this).  In particular, we added a few slides in response to CloudVO partner questions on staff resources associated with supporting Virtual Offices and on event metrics.

Using data from Pacific Workplaces and Nextspace Coworking, the webinar treated the following topics:

  • What a healthy coworking P&L looks like
  • How to use P&L to communicate the counter-cyclical nature of some of your lines of business to landlords
  • Meaningful coworking revenue & occupancy metrics
  • How to optimize the relationship between occupancy and pricing power
  • Full time office space occupancy metrics
  • Revenue per occupied square foot metrics
  • Revenue breakdown by line of business
  • Operating expense metrics and benchmarks
  • How the P&L of a private office dominated coworking operation differs from a community-oriented coworking operation
  • Service package metrics
  • Virtual Office count and revenue
  • Staff resources needed to support the PAC Virtual Office business
  • Profitability of the Virtual Office Business
  • How to use the data when managing your coworking operation


    Since the webinar, we added a few slides that address the following issues in more depth:

  • Identifying and tracking coworking events metrics
  • Staff resources and cost of supporting VO plans

This later point is also developed in more detail in Step 5 of the free downloadable guide on ‘How To Build A Healthy Virtual Office Business.”


About CloudVO

CloudVO’s mission is to provide comprehensive virtual office, coworking and meeting room solutions to professionals under a Workplace-as-a-Service™ model. CloudVO operates the CloudTouchdown network that grants preferential access to day offices and meeting rooms at 750 locations worldwide for mobile workers and distributed workforces under a subscription model or on a pay-per-use basis.

How To Build a Healthy Virtual Office Business: A Guide for Coworking Operators

Keith Warner, with Pacific Workplaces (Pac), often mentions that his Cupertino, CA location supports 400 Virtual Office Plans that collectively generated enough revenue to pay the (high) rent for his entire 18,000 square foot flexible office location. This comment attracted a lot of attention and questions from coworking operators who asked how they could also build a healthy virtual office business. This guide is our attempt to answer those questions.

Virtual Office Plans San Francisco, CA | Pacific Workplaces

Tell us a bit about yourself before downloading a copy of this guide to keep as a resource.

Step 1: Set up a Mail Service Business

A mail plan is the first step for a client to set up a business identity at your location. This means they can use your coworking location address to receive mail, use it on their web site and other marketing collateral.

The motivations can be multifold. Many people working from home do not want to use a home address as their main business address. Some businesses located remotely may want to show geographical coverage of multiple locations. For example, this may be in response to the requirements of cities and counties to work with contractors that have a local presence.

In this case, the minimum you need to do is to receive their mail and store it in a location they can retrieve. Some operators store mail in a file cabinet and rely on the front desk person for the mail client to retrieve their mail during business hours. Others may use mailboxes, which may or may not be available to clients outside of business hours.

What’s good about a new VO mail business is that it happens incrementally – say a couple to a handful of new clients every month, and can be supported without additional resources than those necessary to run the coworking operation.  In fact, with the proper organization, a location can support over 100 VO mail clients without additional staff than is necessary to support most standard coworking operations.

You can also list your mail plan on a web site like CloudVO.com and leverage its marketing capabilities without investing a penny in any digital VO advertising. This is a great way to get started. There is no cost to list, only a 25% discount provided on the plans purchased by CloudVO.

Mail service is your first and easiest step to be in the VO business.

Step 2: Provide Phone Answering Services

While a mail plan is the first necessary step for your clients to establish a local business identity, adding a local phone number and live phone answering to that plan helps them project a much stronger image, particularly when it is a remote company that needs to show it operates in your local market.

Does this mean you need to plan for additional staffing resources answering the phone from the front desk? No. It is not best practice to answer your clients’ incoming phone calls from the front desk. In fact, doing so can lead to poor customer service. For example, if a member comes to you with a question while you are on the phone in an involved conversation, who do you put on hold, the person on the phone or your member in the lobby? Either way, the quality of service provided to one will make the other suffer, as one of the two will have to wait. The best practice is for the front desk person to focus on member management, operations, and perhaps providing tours, not answering calls.

If you don’t have the scale to build your own answering center (and most operators don’t), there is an easier, more cost-effective solution to that quandary: outsource your phone answering to the CloudAnswering services of CloudVO.  It’s easy, does not involve upfront costs, and provides very good margins.

In this case, your VO member is provided a local phone number of any area code they choose, CloudVO does the installation of the number, sets up their voicemail and call patching, configures your member’s email or text notification of messages and even automatic voice-to-text transcription, if they choose.  All of this is done off-site and you are just billed per user (much less than hiring, training and managing your own answering staff).

Step 3: Add Meeting Room Hours

While the opportunity cost of idle meeting rooms can be expensive, the unavailability or difficulty of booking can be equally detrimental.  Members must have the ability to book a meeting room easily online, and preferably have a variety of choices to meet their needs.

The ease and availability of booking will impact (positively or negatively) your ability to sell and retain virtual office members even more than private office and coworking members, but those other member types are also a big consideration in the type and number of meeting rooms one provides.  Any member that can’t get the room they want, when they want it, just a couple of times in a row, will start to look for alternative space (and probably not even mention to you why they are leaving).

A minimum of 2 meeting rooms and 1 day office is recommended, but keep in mind, any vacant private office should be made available as a temporary day office.

It’s important to constantly monitor the usage to determine whether you need to add additional meeting rooms.  Pacific Workplaces has found that once a room is accommodating 100 hours or more of reservations, it starts to feel “full.” In other words, at 100+ hours per month per room, the members will start to have trouble easily booking times they need and you’ll start to get complaints.  If you have 3 meeting rooms and you are consistently booking 350 hours per month, it’s time to start looking for a full-time office you can pull out of inventory and convert to your next meeting room.

Eliminating a full-time office and the consistent revenue associated with it may seem unwise at first, but Pac has found that each meeting room typically provides 125-300% of the revenue that same room would generate if it were left as a private office.  In fact, each added meeting room can easily support an additional 20-25 VO members (at $200-350 each).

While large boardrooms are nice to accommodate meetings of 14-18 people, you’ll probably find over time there aren’t very many meetings of that size, so that huge beautiful room is mostly wasted.  Pac has found most demand to be in the 4-6 seat range, and 30-40% to just be for 1-on-1 meetings. 

But keep in mind, if your plans include a number of HOURS in any room, your members will gladly book the 18 seat boardroom for their 1-on-1 meetings – this is why some shared workspaces have switched to a CREDIT system.  Workspaces using credits, like Pac, include a number of meeting room credits in their plans, and then assign a number of credits per hour to each room. Day offices are always 1 credit per hour, but members are “charged” 2 or 3, sometimes up to 5 credits per hour for the larger rooms.  This new system assigns a proper value to each room and provides incentive for members to book appropriately sized rooms, thus leaving the larger rooms for those that actually need them (and are willing to spend the necessary credits).

Step 4: Market your plans locally and beyond

Include virtual office solutions in all your marketing efforts.  It’s even more important than marketing private offices – you’re going to fill up the offices, but you’ll never run out of VO capacity!

Of utmost importance is the optimization of your website for virtual office and VO related terms.  Some examples include developing even small paragraphs around these terms:

Virtual office, virtual office space, what is a virtual office, what are virtual office services, how virtual office works, how to setup virtual office, virtual office address, business address, virtual mailbox, digital mailbox. For more impact, you can also add the city to these keywords, such as virtual office in [city], [city] virtual office space, [city] business address, etc.

The ability to sell virtual offices on your website is a must.  Have a reputable e-commerce web developer set you up or talk to Yardi KUBE, a shared workspace solution provider and member of the Global Workspace Association. They have a proven online sales module that will work with any website.

Systematically educate all prospects on your virtual office offerings.  Whether they email you asking questions, or stop in for a tour, make sure everyone you communicate with knows what a virtual office plan is and why they might need one (down the road if not today). 

Sign up with a reputable channel partner such as CloudVO.  CloudVO does the national marketing you probably won’t do, and has relationships with enterprise companies looking for touchdown space in multiple cities.

Step 5: Manage your VO business effectively

At first the incremental resources necessary to support a VO business are very small. Having less than 50 mail plans to support does not necessitate more staff. Remember that most users don’t get mail everyday. Some VO clients almost never get mail, but will use only your local address and perhaps a local phone number on their website.

Only when you get over 75 VO clients will you need to give serious thoughts about optimizing your VO operation. By then, you should be generating more than $10k of incremental revenue per month.

Pacific Workplaces averages around 150 VO plans per location, at an average of $140 per month of revenue per plan. That’s more than $20k of total VO revenue per month. The Cupertino location supports over 400 VO plans, enough to pay for the (very expensive) rent of this 18,000 square foot coworking space!

Pacific Workplaces has made the effort to capture the staff time associated with supporting VO clients for a full month, such as answering emails from VO prospects or clients, walking them through options, on-boarding new members, helping them set up their phone system if the plan included phone services, handling their mail after they move in, helping them book a room occasionally, preparing and sending their invoice, chatting with them on any topic when they come by, as well as allocating time spent on general center maintenance tasks to all members (e.g. kitchen duties), etc. That comprehensive effort captured the time spent by the staff, literally second by second, for a full month and re-allocated it to each category of clients and individual plans.

We then converted that data into dollars, considering the fully loaded payroll cost for the time spent supporting VO clients, factoring the opportunity cost of meeting room usage when the VO plan included free hours of meeting rooms, the cost of answering calls (outsourced to CloudVO), the opportunity cost of a mail room that could be converted into office space, and more.

The results are pretty amazing: on average, it costs less than $7 per plan of staff time to support a Mail Plan! The VO business is Pacific Workplaces most profitable line of business!

These numbers may seem low, but they are real. Our perspective is often biased by the occasional heavy user, or that guy that likes to hang around and chat with the staff while picking up his mail. But you have to remind yourself that this guy is an out layer, and the burden he represents is more than offset by the many silent VO clients you never see, you rarely hear from, and for whom you receive mail very rarely.

How To Build a Healthy Virtual Office Business Staff Resources Data | CloudVO
How To Build a Healthy Virtual Office Business Profitability Data | CloudVO

These slides were part of the Deep Dive on Financial Metrics webinar. For more details, go here.

Join our global network of nearly 1,000 flex workspace operators at www.CloudVO.com. Listing is free!


About CloudVO

CloudVO’s mission is to provide comprehensive virtual office, coworking and meeting room solutions to professionals under a Workplace-as-a-Service™ model. CloudVO operates the CloudTouchdown network that grants preferential access to day offices and meeting rooms at 750 locations worldwide for mobile workers and distributed workforces under a subscription model or on a pay-per-use basis.



7 Yelp Quick Wins for Coworking Space Operators

Should Yelp be part of your coworking space marketing?

Maybe.

Yelp can be a valuable tool to generate membership leads, meeting room rentals, day passes and office rentals. Or, it may not be right for your space and town. Determine whether you’re in a market that relies on Yelp for reviews and searches. If so, it’s worthwhile to fill out your Yelp business profile, at the very least.

If you have the budget and market for it, you can make Yelp part of your marketing plan. Dig into your cost per acquisition and align that with the cost per click of a Yelp ad campaign. 

Start small, measure results, test, adjust and grow your ad campaign.
If you don’t have the budget for Yelp ads, there are several things you can do to have a presence on the platform and increase the chance of people finding your space. Here are seven quick wins to get started.

Yelp Marketing for Coworking Spaces | CloudVO Resources for Space Operators

1. Fill Out Your Yelp Profile

First things first, fill out your profile. The more detailed the better. 

The Yelp algorithm is sophisticated and it’s not going to serve up results to a half-baked profile with no helpful information. The platform exists to help people find quality products and services. Make it clear that you’ve taken the steps to help users—and the Yelp algorithm—understand you and your workspace offerings.

2. Include Photos and Update Them Regularly

Make sure you include photos of your space, community, and different products and services in your profile. Then update those photos regularly. Photos are one of the most popular features of Yelp listings, so give searchers and Yelp fresh images of your space, your community, your events, your offices and your team.

Pro tip: Use keywords to name your images, rather than some generic image file name like IMG_2345.png.

3. Show The Humans

This point deserves reiterating. In your photos, be sure to show Yelp users who is in your space. Meeting rooms all start to look the same—no matter how nice they are. 

The thing that differentiates you from the other workspaces in your area is your community. Make sure your photos and description reflect the humans in your space.

Yelp Marketing for Coworking Spaces | NextSpace Coworking Santa Cruz Yelp Images

4. Encourage Reviews

Customer reviews are an important aspect of building your brand. Encourage satisfied users of your space to leave a Yelp review about their experience.

Yelp is strict about not aggressively soliciting reviews. However, we’ve all seen those signs on counters and front windows encouraging people to find the establishment on Yelp. 

This goes hand-in-hand with encouraging day passers, members, day office users and virtual mail members to leave a positive review when they have a positive experience.

5. Use Target Keywords

Use target keyword phrases throughout your Yelp profile and descriptions. 

When writing the copy for your space, get your target keywords front and center— Yelp looks at the first 8-10 words used in the specialties section as keywords. If you have private offices, or meeting room space available in San Diego, make sure that “office rental in San Diego” and “meeting room rental in San Diego” are at the beginning of your description.

Yelp Marketing for Coworking Space Operators Benefits of Keywords

Pro tip: Target keywords should be top-of-mind across all of your content. If you’re marketing online, and you’re not being strategic about how you use keywords, you’re missing a huge opportunity to boost your results on Google, YouTube, Yelp and everything else.

6. Respond to Comments and Reviews – Especially Negative Ones

Responding to a negative review is an incredible opportunity to turn someone from a dissatisfied user into a brand advocate. 

Find a way, when possible and reasonable, to make things right with them. This not only shows a dedication to members and people in your space, it reflects your brand values for anyone who reads the review today and down the road.

7. Let the Yelp Team Help

Yelp representatives have a reputation for being very persistent in trying to sell you ads. Whether or not you decide to run ads on the platform, let the representative help you optimize your description and profile. They know all the ins and outs of the platform and can help you make the most of it. Also be sure to leverage the Yelp Support Center for Business Owners that also contains a wealth of helpful information.

Yelp Marketing for Coworking Space Operators Business Owners Support Center

Do you use Yelp to market your workspace? What are your best tips? We’d love to hear from you. Contact the team and let us know.

Looking for more resources related to social media? On October 16th, CloudVO Marketing Director Karina Patel is co-hosting, along with Coworking Content founder Cat Johnson, an Advanced Instagram Training to market your coworking space. Register here.

Cat Johnson is a coworking storyteller and content strategist. She blogs about the coworking movement, the workspace industry, community and content marketing at catjohnson.co


About CloudVO

CloudVO is the umbrella brand of Cloud Officing Corp., headquartered in San Francisco, California. CloudVO’s mission is to provide comprehensive virtual office, coworking and meeting room solutions to professionals under a Workplace-as-a-Service™ model. CloudVO grants preferential access to day offices, coworking space, and professional meeting rooms in 700 locations worldwide for distributed workers on a subscription or a pay-per-use basis.


3 Reasons to Use Videos to Streamline Coworking Member Onboarding

CloudVO Blog Videos for Coworking Space Member Onboarding

Joining a coworking space or shared office can be a game changer for independent professionals, freelancers, remote workers and teams.

The benefits of coworking are many, from increased productivity and connection, to in-house amenities, meeting rooms, media production facilities and event programming.

Joining a space and community, however, can be disorienting initially. New members have to round a learning curve that includes software, facilities, rules, norms and culture.

Helping people transition smoothly into workspace membership is an important part of being a community manager; but community managers are busy doing all the things that keep a space humming along, so tools that help them do their job more efficiently are always welcome.

Onboarding videos are an efficiency tool that help space operators as well as members who receive a lot of information at the same time during the onboarding process. Videos can cover topics such as how to connect to the printer, booking a meeting room, creating a member profile and using in-space tools, such as an electronic whiteboard.

Here are three reasons to use orientation videos to streamline your onboarding process.

1. Efficiency

It makes sense for a community manager to help a new member feel welcome, introduce them to other members, give them a tour of their new coworking space and help them ease into the community.

It does not make sense for a community manager to take every new member through a play-by-play of connecting to the printer, how to login to their member portal, or booking a meeting room. The time taken doing these repeating tasks is time taken away from engaging with the community. Automating this process with a video helps community managers do their job more efficiently.

CloudVO Blog Videos for Coworking Space Onboarding Member Portal
CloudVO partner and sister company Pacific Workplaces orientation video on how to navigate the member portal.

2. Value

A nice orientation video delivers immediate value to members and gives a good first impression of the space and brand. 

Short videos give members the information they need to complete the onboarding process visually, as opposed to reading lengthy emails or documents with instructions. They also demonstrate the space operators’ commitment to making membership easy and convenient.

CloudVO Blog Videos for Coworking Space Onboarding How to Book A Meeting Room
2-minute video on how to book a meeting room.

3. Showcase your space and community

Settling into a new space takes time. However, you can help new members fast-track their understanding of the norms, culture and values of your coworking community with videos.

Consider creating a library of videos that answer commonly-asked questions about everything from connecting to wifi and using meeting room screens, to making coffee and hosting a lunch and learn. 


CloudVO Blog Videos for Coworking Space Onboarding Member Portal for Pacific Workplaces
Pacific Workplaces new member onboarding orientation video library.

These help showcase your community and your workspace values. The videos can be fun and engaging, while highlighting features of your space for new members from day one.

Videos that help members onboard easily and efficiently can only help to strengthen engagement and retention.


CloudVO Blog Videos for Coworking Space Onboarding Pacific Workplaces Values and Culture Video


Cat Johnson is a writer, content strategist, teacher and coworking space member. She blogs about coworking at catjohnson.co.

Partner with us and get free resources specifically for workspace operators. Listing is free. Go to   www.CloudVO.com   to learn how to join our global network of 750 workspace operators.


About CloudVO

CloudVO is the umbrella brand of Cloud Officing Corp., headquartered in San Francisco, California. CloudVO’s mission is to provide comprehensive virtual office, coworking and meeting room solutions to professionals under a Workplace-as-a-Service™ model. CloudVO grants preferential access to day offices, coworking space, and professional meeting rooms in 750 locations worldwide for distributed workers on a subscription or a pay-per-use basis.

CloudVO City Guide: Boca Raton, FL

In today’s CloudVO City Guide, we are taking a closer look at some of our shared workspaces in Boca Raton, Florida. Boca Raton is the southernmost city in Palm Beach County, Florida. It is known as a business center, one of the wealthiest communities in South Florida and experiences significant daytime population increases. This makes it a prime location to conduct business meetings or obtain a professional business address.

CloudVO City Guide Boca Raton Florida

CloudVO partner, Zen Offices Boca Raton, offers Virtual Offices and Meeting Rooms in the prestigious Bank of America Tower on the penthouse floor. It features panoramic views of the coastline and affluent coastal neighborhoods, an impressive boardroom overlooking the gorgeous beaches in Boca, and offices with stunning views of Mizner Park and Royal Palm Place. This shared workspace is sure to awe your clients and give a lasting professional impression.

CloudVO Partner Zen Offices Boca Raton Florida

CloudVO partner, Boca Office Center, provides Virtual Offices and Meeting Rooms in a Class A facility on Congress Avenue. This shared workspace offers small companies and professionals a way to have a stunning office presence at a fraction of what a traditional office would cost. With a Virtual Office, you’ll gain access to professional mail and phone services in addition to a luxury space complete with meeting rooms, a document center and more. This space is sure to meet your business needs.

CloudVO Partner Boca Office Center Boca Raton Florida

Another partner, TDL Centers West Boca Raton, has Virtual Offices and Meeting Rooms that are prestigious and professional. This space is a great place to have your business meetings, or to have a virtual office to receive mail and a professional business address. Boca Raton- West Palmetto is ideally located within walking distance to coffee shops, restaurants, and shopping.

CloudVO Partner TDL Centers West Boca Raton Florida

CloudVO partner, TDL Centers East Boca Raton, provides Virtual Offices and Meeting Rooms that are conveniently located two minutes off of Interstate 95 and within 30 minutes of the West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and Boca Executive Airports. It’s the perfect location to touch down and have a meeting. This prestigious shared workspace is the largest Class A Building in all of South Florida, so it’s sure to impress.

CloudVO Partner TDL Centers East Boca Raton Florida

Another partner, Quest Workspaces Boca Raton, offers Virtual Offices and Meeting Rooms in a prominent location with exceptional service, total flexibility, and quality design making this a great place to work. This shared workspace merges modern edge with elegant and traditional Boca Raton style. Nestled in the affluent city at the intersection of Glades Road and Federal Highway, the 1200 Corporate Place building is truly South Florida’s “crown jewel” of office locations.

CloudVO Partner Quest Workspaces Boca Raton Florida

CloudVO partner, CendynSPACES- Boca Raton provides Virtual Offices and Meeting Rooms ideally located east of I-95 in downtown at 980 N. Federal Highway, between Glades Road and Palmetto Park Road. It’s in a very convenient location if you have a business lunch or dinner as it’s within walking-distance to upscale shopping and dining. It’s also two blocks from Mizner Park.

CloudVO Partner Cendyn Spaces Boca Raton Florida

If you’re planning on staying in a nearby hotel, here are a few of the noteworthy places to check out in the area. The Boca Raton Marriott at Boca Center is a casual hotel with a stylish café/bar and an outdoor pool, hot tub and fitness center. The Renaissance Boca Raton Hotel is a refined property offering relaxed rooms and mediterranean fine dining, plus a pool and hot tub. For a more upscale option, The Boca Raton Resort and Club, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, is a beachy vibe with high-end rooms and suites, plus dining, spa, golf, and pools.

CloudVO City Guide Boca Raton Florida Waldorf Astoria
Photo credit: Waldorf Astoria

The affluent city of Boca Raton is known as a great place to do business. So, whether you’re there for a business meeting or looking to add a prestigious business address to your portfolio, we have a multitude of great options. Virtual Office plans are available at all of the aforementioned partner locations and offer standard mail services, sophisticated meeting rooms, as well as use of the business address with options to add live phone answering services.


About CloudVO

CloudVO is the umbrella brand of Cloud Officing Corp., headquartered in San Francisco, California. CloudVO’s mission is to provide comprehensive virtual office, coworking and meeting room solutions to professionals under a Workplace-as-a-Service™ model. CloudVO grants preferential access to day offices, coworking space, and professional meeting rooms in 700 locations worldwide for distributed workers on a subscription or a pay-per-use basis.



A Survival Guide for Coworking Conferences: A Workspace Operator’s Playbook

Over the last five years, I’ve been to eight coworking conferences and dozens of coworking-related events, meetups and retreats. I’ve covered these events for various publications, I’ve given presentations, moderated panels, participated in unconference sessions, created content for the events, set up tables and even re-potted centerpiece plants for one.

Coworking conferences provide resources for operators and valuable insight into the workspace industry. They also serve to strengthen and grow the community of coworking space operators, which is remarkably close-knit. Flexspace operators, workspace owners and community managers, industry service providers and coworking movement pioneers all gather at these events to share ideas, resources and best practices.

Here are my best tips for surviving–and thriving–at a coworking conference.

Global Coworking Unconference Conference Opening Session

Before the Conference

Know who will be there

Take a look ahead of time at the people attending the conference. It’s challenging, in a sea full of people all wearing little badges, to know who is who. Take time to get a sense of who will be there and who you’d like to connect with. 

Make contact ahead of time

Reach out to people and let them know you’re interested in connecting. Give them some context about why you’re interested in talking with them.

Schedule must-have meetings in advance

Don’t wait until the conference to try to schedule time with someone. Set up a coffee, breakfast or meeting in advance of the conference.

Set your intentions

What will make the conference a great success for you? What would you like to learn? Who would you like to connect with? What would you like to leave with? Get clear about your intentions in advance.

Bring business cards

I find that the only time people ask for my business card is when I don’t have them. Be sure to bring some cards along so you’re prepared when the moment comes.

Get social in advance

Before the event, get active on social media using the event hashtags. Mention that you’ll be attending, connect with other attendees, and start conversations around hot topics. This will help you make connections and generate interest in the event.

During the Conference

Be human

No one wants to be spammed at a conference. Show up as you, be real, focus on making genuine connections.

GCUC2016_JamieRussoBeckyandLD_2

Ride the social momentum

Once the event has started, take advantage of the social media momentum. People will be using the event hashtag to share quotes, thoughts, feedback and photos. Join the conversations. Twitter and Instagram are particularly good platforms for conferences.

Participate

Don’t be a conference wallflower. Get in there and participate. Introduce yourself to people, share generously of your experience and ideas, and take part in as much of the event as you can.

CloudVO Blog Platforms and Tools Global Workspace Association Conference

Ask questions

Now is not the time to sit back and pretend you know everything. Now is the time to ask questions, keep an open mind and learn. Everyone there has something to teach you, even if they’re a brand new space operator. Plan to leave the conference knowing more than you did when you arrived.

Take notes

You think you’ll remember everything you’re hearing and experiencing, but you won’t. Take notes throughout the conference. When you get home, you’ll be glad to have a record of highpoints, things to research, and people to connect with. Most venues have wifi access, but don’t count on it. Have an offline option on your laptop, or keep it simple and just take a notebook.

Talk to vendors

Now is the time to learn about all the products and services available to level-up your coworking space and operations. Get to know the vendors, ask them questions about what they offer, and don’t worry about being sold at. I know many of the coworking conference vendors and most of them are in this business because they truly believe in coworking and they want you to succeed.

CloudVO Booth at Global Coworking Unconference Conference Denver

Don’t try to do everything

If you race around trying to do everything, you’ll likely miss the most valuable things. Go to the panels and presentations that most resonate with you. You can’t take it all in, so don’t try. If you’re in the middle of an engaging, important conversation, then by all means, continue it. Don’t rush off to the next thing if you’re making a great connection.

Be present

Conferences can be exhausting. Do your best to be present in whatever you’re doing, whether that’s listening to a presentation, having lunch with colleagues, or making new connections at a happy hour.

Charge up

Access to power is almost always an issue at conferences. Charge up your devices, use power when you have access to it—even if you’re not particularly low at the time. If you tend to use your gadgets a lot at events, bring a portable charger.

Take care of yourself

At some point during every conference, I burn out. It’s hard to be mentally, physically and emotionally present for days on-end. When this happens, I usually go outside and walk around for a bit. Be sure to take care of yourself during the conference. Don’t worry about missing out on a panel, or skipping a group lunch. Take time to refresh and decompress. Doing so will improve your whole conference experience.

Connect with industry leaders

Conferences are one of the best ways to connect with industry leaders. Workspace pioneers, visionaries and game-changers are all there to connect, learn and share. Take advantage of the easy access you’ll have to speakers, sponsors, industry insiders and your workspace colleagues.

Global Coworking Unconference Conference Panel Discussion New York 2018

After the Conference

Get organized

After the conference, take time to organize your contacts and todos. Who do you need to reach out to? What do you need to research? Which items do you need to take action on? 

Be speedy

Follow-up with people within a few days. This keeps the conversation fresh and, let’s face it, if you don’t connect within a few days, you’re probably not going to reach out at all.

Implement what you’ve learned

Hopefully you’re now full of ideas and insights. How will you implement and incorporate them into what you’re doing? Create clear strategies to put your conference experience into action.

Share your experience

What were your big takeaways from the conference? What was your experience? What went well? What would you like to see in the future? Share your thoughts and ideas in a blog post, on social media, or in online groups. It’s always interesting to hear other people’s takeaways and your insights help conference producers make improvements for the next one.

Cat Johnson is a writer, teacher and content strategist. She blogs about coworking at catjohnson.co.

CloudVO is looking forward to seeing you at the 2019 Global Workspace Association Conference on September 18th in Washington, D.C. Let us know of any conference tips you would like to share!


About CloudVO

CloudVO is the umbrella brand of Cloud Officing Corp., headquartered in San Francisco, California. CloudVO’s mission is to provide comprehensive virtual office, coworking and meeting room solutions to professionals under a Workplace-as-a-Service™ model. CloudVO grants preferential access to day offices, coworking space, and professional meeting rooms in 700 locations worldwide for distributed workers on a subscription or a pay-per-use basis.