8 Ways Coworking Communities Can Make Positive Local Impact

Coworking spaces are nicely positioned to make a positive impact on members. From helping people level up their business to creating communities of mutual support and friendship, coworking can be a game-changer.

Spaces and communities can also make an impact on their broader local community. From supporting local organizations to partnering with neighborhood businesses, here are eight ways your coworking community can make a positive local impact.

NextSpace Coworking San Jose Carebags for the homeless 2019

1. Support Neighborhood Businesses

Get to know your neighbors and find ways to support them.

“Relationships are everything,” says NextSpace San Jose Community Manager Julie Kodama. “It’s so important to be engaged with the community. Whether that’s checking out the new cookie shop or doing group lunches at local restaurants. There’s a reason when the mayor came to speak here all the food was donated from local eateries.”

Kodama explains that when daypassers come into NextSpace, she can recommend places to eat and they’re all places she and the community have been. Kodama then turns to neighboring businesses when she throws an event, needs catering, coffee or anything else in her space.

“If they’re good, and you continue to patronize them, you will build up a relationship.”

2. Be a Connector

The best community managers are excellent connectors. They know which members they should introduce, who is looking for help and who is expanding or seeking new opportunities. They also know of interesting events, opportunities and more.

Extend the natural connecting you do as community managers into your larger community. Look for ways to connect people, organizations, schools, businesses and community leaders.

3. Support Local Organizations

One great way to make a positive impact locally is to support organizations that are already making a positive impact. You can do this by inviting them to come tell your community about their work, hosting an event in your space, offering free or reduced memberships, giving them discounted meeting room space, and mentioning them on social media or in your newsletter.

Tip: All Good Work connects nonprofit social impact organizations with donated workspace. The organization is currently in New York City and Silicon Valley.

Urban community farm, Veggielution, finds donated workspace at NextSpace San Jose
Through the All Good Work Foundation, urban community farm, Veggielution, finds donated workspace at NextSpace San Jose.

4. Participate in Food and Clothing Drives

During the holiday season, local food banks, shelters and other organizations do food drives, clothing drives, toy drives etc. These drives are easy ways to give back as a community and make a positive impact on someone’s life.

Look for ways throughout the year to participate in drives. For instance, does your community host book drives, or back-to-school drives, or drives to send local high schoolers to prom? Do a little research to find out. You may be able, as a community, to do some off-season good work.

5. Get Involved with Mentor Programs

Presumably your coworking space is full of programmers, writers, designers, photographers, financial planners, developers, artists, attorneys, etc. Can you help pair these folks up with local young people looking for mentorship opportunities?

Find existing mentor organizations to partner with to bring a mentoring program into your space. If necessary or preferable, start one of your own.

6. Create Local Partnerships

Beyond simply supporting neighborhood businesses, find ways to partner with these businesses. Doing so has the potential to help both of you.

When the NextSpace San Jose kitchen was out of commission, a local coffee shop sold them big pourers of coffee at a huge discount because we had a good relationship with them.

“When someone wants to grab a fancy coffee,” says Kodama, “of course I send them there.”

7. Support Local Initiatives

NextSpace San Jose fills Care Bags for local homeless. The bags are filled with everyday essentials, such as socks, a toothbrush and toothpaste, snack bars and hygiene items. What local initiatives could your members easily participate in? Ask around and get creative.

NextSpace Coworking San Jose Care bags for the homeless member event

8. Provide a Platform for Community Discussions

Coworking spaces are home to a variety of professions, opinions, cultures, backgrounds and perspectives. Your space can be a place to further community discussions and dialogue in a supportive, respectful environment.

For instance, the mayor of San Jose has visited NextSpace San Jose numerous times for events and conversations. The goal was to have conversations about issues that affect all local residents.

NextSpace Coworking San Jose Event Mayor Sam Liccardo group discussion
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo in a group discussion at NextSpace Coworking San Jose.

Beyond being a place to support your members, your space can be a place to make a positive impact in your larger community. What do you do to make an impact? Let us know. We’d love to hear from you.


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.


6 Telltale Signs It’s Time to Update Your Coworking Space Website

As the workspace industry continues its remarkable growth, potential members have an increasing number of spaces to choose from. So it’s essential that your website catch—and keep—the attention of people browsing for coworking space, meeting rooms, a virtual office, mail services, event space etc.

CloudVO Blog 6 signs you need to update your coworking website

If potential members encounter a website that is slow, sluggish, non-intuitive, confusing to navigate or lacking essential functionality, they will leave and move on to another one.

It’s easy to set-it-and-forget-it when it comes to your workspace website, but it’s important to revisit and update it regularly to turn casual web searchers into leads, customers and members. Here are six telltale signs that it’s time to update your workspace website.

1. Pages Load Slowly

You have a few seconds to catch peoples’ attention with your website. Searchers have lots of options and will take any excuse to click away from your site.

If your pages take more than three seconds to load then your website speed is an issue. As CloudVO Marketing Manager Kim Seipel explains, “Users expect fast loading times when it comes to websites. If your pages take too long to load, it creates a poor user experience and a bad first impression for your brand.”

Seipel adds, “Most users will simply give up, move on to the next site, and probably never come back.”

In July of 2018, Google’s algorithm changed so that slow-loading mobile sites would suffer the consequences. It was a call for action for quite some time before last year, however, Google officially decided to use loading speed as a metric for mobile search result rankings last summer.

2. Your Site Isn’t Mobile Friendly

It’s no longer acceptable to have a website that renders well on a desktop or laptop, but falls apart (or becomes a user nightmare) on mobile. Many people use mobile devices to research, shop and purchase workspace offerings, so your website has to serve them.

CloudVO Blog 6 signs you need to update your coworking website and make mobile friendly

Make sure your site is mobile responsive, meaning that it will detect the visitor’s screen size and orientation and change the layout accordingly.

“A mobile responsive site will look just as good on a smartphone as it does on a desktop,” says Seipel. “People need to be able to use their fingers to scroll, move from page to page, and easily access buttons, links and calls-to-action from their mobile device. Google also now indexes the mobile version of any website and uses those metrics to rank your site, so it’s a must.”

Google suggests the following steps:

1. Visit Google’s guide to mobile-friendly sites. This page offers several ways to make your site more mobile-friendly, such as using software or a third-party developer.

2. Take Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to see how optimized your website is for mobile viewing. You can test a single page on your site or several landing pages and see exactly how Googlebot views the pages when determining search results.

3. Use Webmaster Tools to generate a Mobile Usability Report, which helps identify any issues with your website when viewed on a mobile device.

3. Your Website Lacks Visual Appeal

Website first impressions should be high priority. Visitors to your website are making snap judgements about your space and brand from what they see on your site.

Photos and images of your space and community should be high-resolution and reflect your workspace brand. Include a variety of images and be sure to include people in them. Visitors to your website want to see the space in use to see if it’s the right place for them.

Use images to break up large amounts of website copy, and make sure your text is easy to read and your site navigation intuitive. Site visitors should easily be able to identify all the services you offer without too many clicks. For instance, if you offer coworking memberships, virtual office plans, meeting rooms, and private office space, have separate areas on your home page for each service, with buttons that allow the user to quickly access the information they’re looking for.

CloudVO Blog How Coworking Spaces Can Redefine Marketing Strategy Partner YourOffice

4. Your Website is Not Optimized for SEO

If you’re not thinking about SEO in your website copy, start today. Google (and other search engines) can be powerful traffic drivers and vehicles to amplify your brand messaging.

SEO includes on-page target keyword usage and optimization, metadata, page names, URLs, content headlines, alt tags, internal and external links, H1-H6 tags, your calls to action, and a focused and distinct messages on each landing page.

This is all done in an effort to help search engines understand what your site is about and what services you offer so they can serve up the most relevant results to user queries. Create clear, focused, compelling, helpful content and website copy, and you’ll be well on your way to an optimized site.

SEO tools can be helpful in determining target keyword phrases and developing your SEO strategy. However, having a clear understanding of your target market and their challenges and goals is equally important. As CloudVO Marketing Director Karina Patel explains:

“There are many extensions you can integrate into your website that will audit the on-page SEO items before you publish the pages. For example, Yoast SEO is fantastic. It’s a WordPress plugin that makes it very easy to complete all of the on-page SEO components that Google loves. SEMrush is another great tool. With any tool or plugin, you take the recommendations with a grain of salt.”

5. No Clear Next Step for Site Visitors

Once someone is on your website looking at your offerings and services, it’s essential that you provide a way for them to take the next step. For instance, can site visitors book a tour of your space through your website? This call to action is a powerful, yet low-commitment, way to get people into your space.

“We highly recommend you offer this functionality,” says Seipel. “There are a ton of scheduling software platforms, such as Calendly, which let visitors schedule tours of your space without having to send an email or call. With Calendly, you can pre-set blocks of availability so when a user books a tour, they can easily see open time slots available and schedule straightaway.”


CloudVO Blog Platforms and Tools Calendly for booking workspace tours

Giving people an easy way to book tours saves time for space operators, improves the customer experience, and allows you to capture user information. As Seipel says, “Your website visitor just became a qualified lead since they booked a tour online.”

6. Your Website Lacks E-commerce Capabilities

If your current workspace website does not allow users to purchase coworking memberships, meeting room time or virtual office plans, then it’s time to upgrade. Online shopping is growing at a tremendous pace and people want instant gratification. If someone shopping for your services sees something they like or need, they want to be able to purchase it immediately. An effective website gives them an easy way to do so.

“If your website is effective at educating users on the different types of memberships you offer, they should be able to buy what they need and checkout,” says Seipel. E-commerce allows you to sell coworking memberships to a global audience 24x7x365.”

Using Day Passes to Generate Leads Pacific Workplaces Coworking Membership Plans
Coworking Memberships for CloudVO Partner, Pacific Workplaces

Seipel adds that cross-selling or upselling is automated as you can provide suggestions or recommended add-ons for the buyer to consider once they are in the shopping cart.  You can also leverage your e-commerce to gather data on your overall sales effectiveness, which then can be used to personalize future promotions or other service offerings.”

A bonus to automating your e-commerce is that you save your community managers and other coworking staff members time.

“They can spend less time manually processing coworking or virtual office membership purchases,” says Seipel, “and focus on the important things like community building and member programming.”

Enjoy more free resources specifically for workspace operators when you partner with us. Listing is free and you automatically become a part of a larger network of 700 shared workspaces around the globe. Go to   www.CloudVO.com   to learn more.


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.


How Coworking Improves Human Performance

This article published on the Mind Rocket site and entitled “Technology Drives Community” was authored by our CEO, Laurent Dhollande. In it, Laurent observes that while remote working is providing desirable flexibility to professionals, it also too often leads to unwelcomed isolation, intrusion into our private lives, and ultimately the potential for loss of productivity, but coworking can offer a solution.

Laurent postulates that this isolation and lack of motivation often experienced by remote workers are the flip side of the new empowerment and flexibility brought to us by the technological developments of the last two decades. That’s why, he writes, teleworking has actually not taken off as much as anticipated, in spite of many corporate programs that support remote work. He explains why joining a coworking community helps transcend these performance-hindering side effects.

Coworking provides more opportunity for members to learn and grow professionally, by interacting with people who are not fashioned by the same corporate mold, sometime serendipitously and other times via organized events. In the end, he explained that the social fabric of a coworking place can greatly help improve the individual member overall work experience. Coworking communities, no-doubt, bring much needed counter-balance to the downfalls of isolation inherent in remote work.

Coworking Day Passes to Generate Leads NextSpace Coworking Santa Cruz First Friday Special Day Pass

What’s interesting here is that a high level, someone secretive, consulting firm like Mind Rocket, who among other things advise foreign governments on how to leverage technology to improve Human Performance, sought out the opinion of our CEO, a keen observer of, and participant in, the flexible office industry, to explore how coworking communities may help soften the down side of remote work enabled by remote technology, and enhance human performance.

At CloudVO, we want to support all research efforts that might help gather data to support that claim, which we, as operators and coworkers, experience in our daily lives. If you have an academic project, or any kind of research, going in that direction, do not hesitate to contact us!

Meanwhile, we highly recommend you read the Mind Rocket article.

Visit us at   www.CloudVO.com    to list your location for free and join our coworking family of 700 shared workspaces around the world.


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.

Are Coworking Operators Like WeWork a Threat or an Ally for Commercial Landlords?

A recent blog post published in Finance & Commerce entitled “Landlords, rivals push back against WeWork” expresses concerns from some landlords and their brokers that WeWork is stepping on their turf.

The article is interesting, and I thought it would be worthwhile for me to highlight some partial agreement with the author’s analysis, while sharing some divergent and expanded views as well on the evolving nature of Landlord/Operator relationships.

WeWork Window Sign San Francisco 201 Spear Street

  1. A new $42 bln valuation for WeWork.
    This is the highest number I have come across so far and a mind-blowing reflection of WeWork’s disruptive nature, as seen by WeWork’s investors. We could be a bit skeptical of that number until we can review the (private) agreement for the last capital infusion by SoftBank. Restrictions and conditions applied to WeWork on capital repayments, conversion options, and other features in the deal may considerably lower any nominal valuation. But no matter the exact number, that valuation remains gigantic, and way out of range of the multiples experienced by publicly traded companies in the sector. Clearly SoftBank is comfortable with the progress made by the company as they keep on funding. Clearly WeWork, and by extension, the entire coworking industry, is perceived as a disruptive force in the traditional commercial real estate world.

2.   Landlords’ Attitude is changing.
“More than a dozen real estate and banking executives interviewed by Bloomberg expressed misgivings about working with the start-up,” says the Finance & Commerce article – well, maybe, but let’s not forget that for one dozen skeptics, you have several dozens of landlords who are raising their hands to attract WeWork in their buildings, even though WeWork has, in many cases, replaced the fat Letters of Credit or Security deposits of the past with meaningless guarantees for the first 6 months or 12 months of rent. It’s not difficult to guarantee the first year of rent… when 9+ months of it is free! If landlords’ attitudes have changed, it is that WeWork, and the entire coworking industry, is being more actively sought after by landlords throughout the country than it ever has. A dozen skeptics won’t stop this powerful wave.

3. Reduced Collateral in Leases.
We can also point out that the considerable drop in security collateral experienced by landlords with coworking players in the last few years does not put their project necessarily in a more fragile financial situation. The best collateral of a coworking operation is the operation itself, with hundreds of members sending recurring payments every month which won’t disappear, because their business identity is tied to that location. There is more than meets the eye than an apparent threat to the financial stability of these collateral-less transactions.

Lease Agreement CloudVO Blog WeWork and Landlords

4.   Debunking the myth of Corporate Guarantees.
Corporate guarantees can be very dangerous for landlords by giving a sense of false security. They were the reason why Regus filed for Chapter 11 in 2002, by creating a domino effect due to growth that was too aggressive in the Western US during the dot-com boom of the late nineties. The majority of their assets were performing well, but a series of imprudent leases, with corporate guarantees, at the peak of the market created a domino effect that affected all landlords. Under Chapter 11, Regus could attempt to restructure all of their leases, including with well performing locations. That did not help the Regus landlords in any way, corporate guarantee in hand or not. What saved them were other flexible space operators taking over the locations vacated by Regus.

That is how Pacific Workplaces (Pac) experienced its initial growth 15 years ago, by taking over a former Regus franchise location in Walnut Creek, California when they failed on their rent obligations. The Landlord in the end did not need the collateral, corporate guarantees, or personal guarantees that Pac would not offer (at the time Pac had only 2 existing locations). They cared that a knowledgeable operator would optimize the operation and pay market rent. That approach served them well. Two lease renewals and two lease expansions later, Pacific Workplaces Walnut Creek has never failed on its rent obligation, has become the largest tenant in the building, all to the delight of happy asset managers!

CloudVO Sister Company Pacific Workplaces Walnut Creek new coworking space and lounge

Formerly a Regus/HQ, Pacific Workplaces acquired its location in Walnut Creek, CA in 2004.  The location just completed a successful space refresh and offers all shared workspace options including coworking memberships, virtual office plans, private offices, and meeting rooms.

 

  1. Disruption of the tenant-landlord-broker relationships.
    “It’s more about disrupting the relationship of tenants to landlord, of tenants to brokers, of brokers to landlords,” writes the author in the Finance & Commerce article. There is much truth in that statement. WeWork is understandably in the spotlight, but the entire coworking industry is a threat to brokers in that it dis-intermediates the function of a broker for small space requirements, an increasingly large section of the market. The demand is meeting the supply online. For example, 85% of the leads of Pacific Workplaces, a California-based coworking operator with 18 locations, come from online channels, and only 1% come from traditional brokers. Online leads can originate from the operator’s own digital marketing efforts and from resellers and marketplace providers like CloudVO or Liquidspace, who are successful disrupting the role of traditional brokers, in part due to the more transparent nature of their online transactions, a refreshing approach, in contrast to the chronic opacity of traditional commercial real estate transactions. On the Enterprise segment of the market, companies with a large network of locations like Regus, WeWork or CloudVO have their own corporate account infrastructure that relies a lot less on traditional brokers and feeds off of what was once the brokerage word reserved territory.

6.  WeWork and Coworking Operators a threat to Landlords?
That is what the author of the Finance & Commerce piece argues. I think the truth is more subtle than laid out in that article. First, as a buyer of commercial buildings, it seems to me that WeWork is a beneficial player for the owners of assets they purchase, in that WeWork was the highest bidder. Otherwise the owner would presumably not have sold. Second, the trends towards mobility, the consumerization of the workplace, the continued decrease in corporate footprint per employee, are all threats to landlords in that the need for traditional commercial space is shrinking. Coworking and other forms of flexible office spaces are enabling these trends, but the threat to landlord is the trend, not the flexible office space operators. In fact, Coworking operators are natural partners for landlords to take advantage of that new secular trend. Managing coworking spaces is an entirely different profession than property management. Just as hotel landlords bring in franchise operators to manage the hotel (and don’t try to do it themselves), commercial office landlords need professional coworking operators to manage that new exploding demand.

Written by  Laurent Dhollande, CEO of CloudVO and Pacific Workplaces


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.

Nextspace Coworking Acquisition by Pacific Workplaces: Why? How? And Lessons Learned.

Laurent, CloudVO and Pacific Workplaces CEO, recently shared Pacific Workplaces’ experience with the recent acquisition of NextSpace Coworking locations in a presentation to Coworking Europe in Dublin, Ireland. That presentation led to much discussion, interest, and requests for slides by coworking operators that did not have a chance to make it to the Dublin conference.

Laurent accepted to record the presentation after the event, and make it available for viewing through our blog, thinking that the slides alone fell a bit short to understand his responses to the questions he had been asked to address:

  • What drove the acquisition?
  • Why Pacific Workplaces refer to it as a merger?
  • What were the motivations behind the acquisitions?
  • What were the challenges
  • Lessons learned

What attracted much attention to this merger/acquisition was that the companies came from very different directions in the shared office industry.

NextSpace is a legendary name in the open coworking industry, with charismatic co-founders that attracted the spotlights as leaders of the coworking movement in the last decade. To this day, people come from all over the world to see how coworking is being done at NextSpace Santa Cruz and NextSpace Berkeley. In the last few weeks alone co-founder Ryan Coonerty hosted delegations from China and Japan of folks wanting to learn about how the best of coworking was being done.

Our partner (and CloudVO’s sister company) Pacific Workplaces, which at its inception came from a serviced office concept, has attracted its own spotlights from the industry, thanks to its methodical building of a highly performant portfolio of flexible office spaces, it’s success with virtual offices, and its own leaders highly respected profile in the coworking and flexible office space industry.


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  CloudMeetingRooms.com  and  CloudVirtualOffice.com  e-commerce sites and grants preferential access to day offices, coworking space, and professional meeting rooms at close to 600 locations worldwide for distributed workers on a subscription or a pay-per-use basis.

About Pacific Workplaces

(Pac) manages 19 shared office space locations, mostly in California, that offer a wide range of part-time and full-time office space, including virtual offices, private offices, open coworking, and mini-suites, with curated communities of professionals who help each other be successful in their respective enterprises. Members have access to furnished offices, hot desks, meeting rooms, VoIP telephony, unified messaging, phone answering services, IT support, admin support, online legal library, and to our CloudTouchdown network of day offices and meeting spaces with over 650 locations worldwide, under a subscription or a pay-per-use hosted model   Pac refers to as Workplace-as-a-Service.™ Pac partners with landlords to develop and operate coworking and other types of shared office spaces. The  Pac model responds to trends toward a more distributed workforce, increased flexibility, sustainability, the desire to join professional communities, with a growing demand from professionals associated with small and large firms alike.  All   Pac centers are operated by PBC Management LLC under the Pacific Workplaces, Enerspace Coworking, and Nextspace Coworking brands.

 

 

State of CA Gives Formal Blessing on Virtual Office for Solo Attorneys

The CA State Bar has weighed in on licensed solo practitioners wishing to establish a virtual law office.

California Virtual Law OfficeThe CA State Bar has weighed in on licensed solo practitioners wishing to establish a virtual law office (VLO) also referred to as: digital law, online law, eLawyering and Law Firm 2.0. VLO, as a term, in general refers to “the delivery of and payment for legal services exclusively or nearly exclusively through the law firms portal on a website.”

We received a copy of the CA State Bar’s Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct’s findings on this issue.  Very interesting!

The Committee’s findings included the following discussion:

“As a result of ever increasing innovations in technology, the world has moved significantly toward internet communications – through email, chats, blogs, social networking sites and message boards.  The legal services industry has not been untouched by they innovations and the use of technology, including the internet, is becoming more common and even necessary, in the provision of legal services.  Consistent with this trend, and with the benefits of convenience, flexibility, and cost reduction, the provision of legal services via a VLO has started to emerge as an increasingly viable vehicle in which to deliver accessible and affordable legal services to the general public.“ Formal Opinion No. 2012-184

For those in the workspace industry in CA this is great news to further enhance our already fantastic relationship with those business that provide legal services.  In fact, we have seen recently the introduction of Attorney specific work places that provide cubicles for attorneys rather than the traditional corner window office, many of us imagine this subset of clientele requires.   As workspace providers we need to stay current with the technology options that will make us even better partners with VLO attorneys.

We have seen other states recently, Virginia comes to mind, that have found that the attorneys must practice in an office setting.  I suspect there are others as well that prefer to mandate a more traditional approach, but it will be interesting to see if the ‘benefits of convenience, flexibility and cost reduction’ that CA recognizes, doesn’t draw other states to the same conclusion; that embracing technology rather than the ‘old ways’ will ultimately provide a better consumer experience for those needing legal counsel. Join our Workplace-as-a-Service™ LinkedIN Discussion Group for more data-driven discussions with our community of workspace providers, one chewable data-bite at a time.

CloudVO™ Analysis Team