Summer Promotions for Coworking

How to Beat a Summer Slowdown at Your Coworking Space

Try these five promotions at your coworking or flex space to attract new visitors and engage your current members

Summer is in full swing, which means vacations, a break from school and more activities on the calendar—especially in 2021 as we emerge from our homes, eager to return to the people and places we love. This also means more members are returning to coworking and flex spaces. Summer is typically a slower season for new memberships, and if your current members are keeping full schedules this season, they may not be in your space as frequently. Here are five ideas you can use this summer to keep member engagement high and attract new visitors to your space.


Host an Outdoor Event

Events were one of the first things to go during the pandemic, but gatherings are now considered safe for vaccinated individuals. Does your coworking space have a patio or rooftop access? Host a happy hour, morning yoga class, ice cream social or any other outdoor activity that your members and guests will be excited to put on their calendars. Outdoor events are simply more fun than a standard lunch and learn, so embrace the summer season and give your members a reason to show up and engage with their community. Require event registration and be sure to welcome all of your guests. Follow up with non-members about any special offers for first-time memberships or summer sign-ups.


Offer Student Memberships

If it’s a fit for your member community, consider selling a small number of discounted memberships for college students. Most students didn’t get the opportunity to attend classes in person on their campuses during the school year. For those who are home for the summer and need to get out of the house, your space could be the perfect solution for attending online summer classes. Offer a discounted punch pass or 60-day membership for a flexible seating area at your space. The fast Wi-Fi and focused environment will appeal to students who would otherwise be at a coffee shop.


Make It Easy for Tourists to Drop In

If your coworking space accepts daily drop-ins, make this loud and clear on your website and social media. It’s likely that tourists and visitors are combining their trips with some flexible work and need a secure and productive space to take a few meetings or catch up on emails. Enable online sales and reservations for day passes, and ensure your business hours are accurate on your Google My Business listing and website. The easier it is to acquire a day pass in advance, the more likely you are to convert visitors to a sale. 

Also take the time to refine your drop-in experience. Where do new visitors park? How do they access your building? How do they access your Wi-Fi network? How do they make reservations for a phone booth or meeting room? Ensure that instructions are clear and that each process is smooth. Your ultimate goal is for drop-ins to help generate extra revenue without dominating your community manager’s time or disrupting other members.


Partner with Local Event Organizers

Does your city host any special summertime events such as a startup week, festivals, conferences or races? Invite event organizers to use a meeting room or flexible seating at your coworking space in exchange for promotion to event attendees. Take some time to learn how these special events are promoted, and ask for logo presence on the event website, images of your space on social media, a physical banner at the event or a marketing offer in welcome bags. Tailor your offers to both local residents and to visitors who aren’t from the area. For locals, a free day pass for a first-time visit is a relevant offer, but out-of-town visitors shouldn’t receive any free access. Simply offer a slightly discounted day pass for redemption during the event.


Host a Bring-a-Friend Day

During the summer months, designate a day when your current monthly members can bring a friend for free. There is no marketing more powerful or effective than word-of-mouth, and this is a great opportunity to prompt your members to spread the word about your space and share with others why they enjoy it. Make the day extra special! Bring donuts or bagels in the morning and brew some extra coffee. Require registration and onsite check-in to ensure you can follow up with visitors to your space, and have a community manager on hand to answer questions or sign up new members.

Summer Promotions for Coworking

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Coworking Space Reopening

Reopening Flexible Spaces and Supporting the Return to Work

What three coworking space operators learned during reopening, plus tips for communication, safety and automation at your space

Enduring more than a year of the pandemic has brought about tremendous change and loss to our way of life. It has also forced a shift in the way millions of workers interact with their customers, teams and workplaces. This transformation means that the modern workforce now demands flexibility in how organizations interact with employees and meet their needs.

It’s no secret that the future of work is here to stay, and with a broad reopening of the country prompting a return to workplaces (and the reintroduction of non-pajama pants into the wardrobe), we’re presented with a new set of opportunities to meet the current moment. The good news for coworking and flex spaces: you’re perfectly positioned to help meet these demands.

During a recent Proximity Connect panel discussion, we heard from three members of the Proximity Network on what their businesses experienced during the pandemic. What’s Next: A Panel Discussion on Coworking and Covid was a candid conversation about both optimism and uncertainty. Members are returning to spaces and there are more workers than ever before who are learning that a home office is not the only alternative to a corporate office. As coworking and flex space operators continue adapting membership offerings, space layouts and marketing strategies to attract new and returning members, several themes have emerged. Here are tips to keep in mind as you prepare to reopen your space and welcome more members back into your community.

Communicate, communicate, communicate

As we head into summer and experience reopening in many regions, you may need to implement additional changes to your current community policies. Space operators are addressing this through community engagement, by first and foremost asking about members’ current needs and listening to them before implementing change.

“Everyone in our space has been incredibly respectful,” said Amy Lessley of Staunton Innovation Hub in Staunton, VA. “I’m going to be really listening, because overall we would rather go a little bit more conservative and make sure everyone can participate, than to go a little less conservative and isolate those people who aren’t ready [to return].”

The Proximity platform supports several ways for you to keep communications streamlined and in front of your members. Leverage Proximity’s Mailchimp integration to update your members and guests on important changes, policies or even cleaning schedules within your flexible space. You can easily update your hours, policies or other information with a sitewide banner on your Proximity member site. You can also create an automatic welcome email that allows you to send members updates upon checking into your space.

Set expectations, automate your processes

“Work has changed forever, no matter what,” said Tessa Arneson, founder of Maven Create in Salt Lake City, UT, and with change comes expectation management. It’s important to set expectations with members and staff within your flexible spaces in order to ensure uninterrupted operations for everyone. Once you’ve communicated changes or updates to your community policies, make sure that members are staff are clear on how these changes will be implemented. Increasing automation is one of the biggest changes many spaces adopted during the pandemic.

For example, the Proximity Wave greeting system allows you to prompt all members and guests to check in to your space upon arrival and self-certify they are not experiencing signs of illness. If you require check-ins, make sure visitors know in advance to expect this. Many spaces also converted flex desks, phone booths and other casual workspaces to reservable resources. If more of your workspaces now require a reservation, post signage and proactively communicate your guidelines. Panel moderator and Proximity cofounder Brian Watson reiterated that, “setting those expectations of how it needs to work for customers,” is integral to flexible workspace management in our current return-to-work environment.

Establish a safety baseline

It’s important to make sure members feel safe returning to physical spaces after a year of isolation, and there may be a variety of factors that would determine each individual’s comfort level. “I think that people are ready to have fun, connect again, and people are ready to feel like part of a community,” said Arneson.

We made it through a year of virtual meetings, and it’s exciting for members to have the opportunity to once again meet face-to-face. However, it’s important to check in with new and returning members, and be open to offering ways to encourage social distancing where possible. You can make use of a conference room or other space while still offering a virtual option for those who feel less comfortable with in-person meetings. “We survey our members, always,” said Arneson. “We let our members set the tone.”

In addition to physical signage in your spaces that reminds members what current mask and health mandates are, you can also enable automatic check-ins to identify when someone has unlocked a door at your space, accessed your Wi-Fi network or checked in for a room reservation. Communicate to members that if a COVID-19 case is reported, you have the ability to know who was in your space and what date.

Continue to be flexible with your space layout

With social distancing adopted as a norm and habit over the last year, members are likely to desire more space between physical desks and chairs. There also might be a change in how your members are using your physical space and resources, so be prepared to maintain flexibility in your setup. During our event, panelists and attendees shared the various ways their spaces have accommodated layout changes, such as a higher demand for private offices, and more corporate clients requesting pooled access to a shared office for their teams.

Melinda Cadwallader of The Hive in Coeur d’Alene, ID discussed how an influx of creatives and makers within her community was the catalyst for markets and pop-up events, which created a need for more event space. “I didn’t open this space thinking I was going to be an event planner, so we’re going to learn how to do this,” said Cadwallader, who opted to modify her existing layout to create a unique event space. “We’re all working together. Everyone is contributing to the really neat and eclectic things that are happening around here,” she said.

Event attendees also shared that in many of your spaces, there was a strong demand for private offices. Pay attention to booking trends and reallocate and convert space if resources allow. If you need to incorporate separation between workspaces, you can consider implementing furniture selections to divide space. Our partners at Interior Environments provide professional design and furnishings available through the Proximity Marketplace within the Proximity platform.

Make it personal

After more than a year of isolation, help create excitement among your members about returning to and building community within your spaces. A little goes a long way in showing people that you’re happy to have them back or see them there for the first time. Whether it’s providing single-serve French presses for members returning to your spaces or providing a personalized message and a welcome box full of swag to each new member like Proximity Network members Hygge Coworking in Charlotte, NC, get creative with how to make each member of your community feel like they’re part of something bigger than themselves, and something bigger than work.

The Proximity Platform

Proximity is the workspace management platform that helps you connect people and places and makes daily operations easier for you and your members. Proximity software helps you automate membership management, reservations, billing, Wi-Fi control, digital door access, guest management and more via a single solution. View Proximity features to learn more about streamlined management for your flexible space or schedule a demo with our team.

Coworking Space Reopening

Lift Bridge Cowork

Historic Building Meets Modern Design at Downtown Stillwater Space

Lift Bridge Cowork is a nod to some of Minnesota’s earliest entrepreneurs

If you get to spend your workdays in a beautifully designed coworking space, you likely appreciate that it offers a more unique, inspiring environment than what you may have at home. While great design is a main attraction at Lift Bridge Cowork in Stillwater, Minnesota, founder Jill Kaufenberg shares that a creating a successful space also requires prioritizing an environment of support and collaboration.

Why did you decide to open a coworking space?

I decided to open a coworking space after renovating an 1885 historic building in Stillwater, Minnesota, which we purchased in 2017. After placing our tenant on the main floor, Mon Petit Cheri Bakery & Kitchen, and a two-year renovation, we couldn’t quite find the right tenant to fill the space upstairs. We believed a coworking space would do great in downtown Stillwater, so we contacted one of our friends who started the first coworking space in Minneapolis. He wasn’t interested in opening a location in Stillwater because our square footage wasn’t large enough, so he recommended I do it myself, and has been nothing short of an amazing mentor to me as I entered a new industry different than my previous professional background.

Tell us about your space. What kinds of amenities does it have? What makes it unique?

Our space has a modern aesthetic in a historic building and community, as Stillwater is the original birthplace of Minnesota. We offer our monthly members free coffee, a discount at the bakery on our main floor, free lockers, gig-speed internet, access to four conference rooms and a phone booth plus happy hours and access to our Slack networking group.

We have a unique space because our upstairs location has an open view to the bakery below allowing it to have a coffee shop feel without having to be seated in the bakery with those who aren’t working. We also have a very unique, historic building decorated with modern touches and lighting. This creates a non-traditional office feel, which I find specifically attracts professionals with an affinity for good design. 

Additionally, we recently purchased another building five blocks away that can offer private office space with the same amenities. We have named it Lift Bridge Cowork-The Victorian, and our primary coworking space located above the bakery is Lift Bridge Cowork-Union Block, referring to the historic block’s name in the 1800s. 

What is your favorite thing about operating a coworking space? 

My favorite thing about operating a coworking space is the ability to connect with people from all backgrounds and professions. I get so much energy and positivity from interacting with members and community members who come through our space. I love talking about business, especially start-ups, and all of their unique journeys. 

What’s your favorite story about one of your members?

One of our members recently was funded by AOL founder Steve Case’s “Rise of the Rest.” Our member joined when he just started his company 18 months ago. It has been a joy to chat with him about stories of adversity and success in the start-up world while he has been on his journey. 

What has been the most surprising or unexpected thing about operating a coworking space?

The most surprising aspect about operating a coworking space is that my own ambition has been amplified from interacting and observing the constant hard-work, determination, and grit of our members. I absolutely love the energy that exists in our space and can’t be more proud that my members are also friends. 

What advice would you offer to someone wanting to open a coworking space?

A coworking space is something that you cannot quantify through a simple construction of desks and internet. It has to prioritize the human element interwoven into every decision you make starting with your environment as well as your amenities.

The Proximity Network

Hundreds of coworking spaces around the world use Proximity to manage memberships, digital door access, reservations, billing, events and much more. Coworking and flexible workspaces can try the Proximity platform for free or schedule a demo with our team to learn more.

Lift Bridge Cowork

The Desk & Easel Coworking

Texas Coworking Community Stands Strong After Fire

The Desk & Easel coworking space operates in a temporary location while a new site is renovated

If you belong to a coworking space, you know the relationships you form help create a sense of camaraderie, provide an extra dose of motivation or accountability when you need it and are often the most important factor to keep you coming back month after month. After experiencing a devastating fire in 2019, members of The Desk & Easel have not only remained connected and engaged, but also continue to work together while they await completion of a new site in downtown Denison, Texas. We spoke with founder Wendy Acosta to learn how she’s helped support her members through this loss to continue operating as a creative, productive coworking community.

Why did you decide to open a coworking space?

My original idea was to open a shared creative space.  I am an artist and love the idea of being around creative people and having a safe place to try out new ideas. After visiting the coworking space 36Degrees North in Tulsa, Oklahoma, I saw that coworking and creativity would work well together. So, we named ours The Desk & Easel Creative Coworking Space.

Tell us about your space. What kinds of amenities does it have? What makes it unique?

The Desk & Easel is in historic downtown Denison, Texas. Originally, we were on Main Street, right in the heart of downtown, in a building built in the late 1800s. The D&E was an eclectic mix of historic and modern with a calm and inviting feeling about it. We partnered with our award-winning local coffee roastery, CJ’s Coffee Café, to carry their Epiphany Roast coffee free for our members along with snacks, RO water and weekly cookouts in the summer. Our kitchen and lounge area were in the front with our shared workspace and copier/printer/scanner, private offices and conference room were in the middle and my art studio in the back. My original artwork hung throughout and I had created some custom furniture pieces for the space.

In October of 2019, our original space was destroyed by a fire in the building adjacent to ours. Thank goodness no one was hurt, but we lost everything that was inside. The fire was on a Wednesday, and by Monday we had a temporary space donated for our members to work from.  To my heart’s delight, Monday morning everyone was sitting around borrowed tables in a temporary space working, never missing a beat.  On the day of the fire, our community turned out with coffee and food and shoulders to cry on. That day a T-Shirt fundraiser was started by the local arts council and businesses, and by Friday the First United Bank had organized a cookout as a fundraiser. Donations of clothing and personal items were collected for our loft tenants who lost their homes and all of their possessions. Our biggest amenity is the community of downtown Denison and what makes us unique is the opportunity to connect our members to the blessing of this community.

What is your favorite thing about operating a coworking space?

My favorite thing about coworking is welcoming people into my space. I love that I get to create a place they love to be in and make their own. I love that they realize a benefit to having a separate workspace from home and they can be productive at The Desk & Easel. I love connecting people and opportunities and community. I’ve only ever experienced this with coworking.

What’s your favorite story about one of your members?

I leased my first private office space to a woman named Kathleen. She had been working from home for years and said it was fine for her. She was able to be productive and had no problems other than a bit of isolation until the day her cat drug a baby rabbit inside and proceeded to kill and eat it in her office while she was on a call with her team. Kathleen started looking for offices soon after and found The Desk & Easel. Crazier still, we had lived in the same neighborhood for ten years and only met when she came to see the office space. We became good friends after that.

What has been the most surprising or unexpected thing about operating a coworking space?

It has surprised me how much I enjoy having a coworking space. I was not looking for something else to do when the opportunity came up to create The Desk & Easel and it really scared me that first year. Now, I cannot imagine doing anything else.  

While the fire was devastating and we are in a temporary location that meets our needs, it does not have the big gathering space and community feel our original location did. Every one of our members has said that’s what they miss the most—having a space to be together even if just a few minutes throughout the day.  

We have purchased another property in the downtown area, a two-story house built in 1920, that we are remodeling. We will double in size, have a podcast/video recording studio and a backyard with a covered patio (it is Texas after all) that connects to my new art studio and gallery.  

What advice would you offer to someone wanting to open a coworking space?

The only advice I would give someone about opening a coworking space is don’t be afraid to paint outside the lines. Make your space meet the needs of your community, give people a place to belong and contribute. Your space should not be like my space or any other space out there, it should be like you.

The Proximity Network

Hundreds of coworking spaces around the world use Proximity to manage memberships, digital door access, reservations, billing, events and much more. Coworking and flexible workspaces can try the Proximity platform for free or schedule a demo with our team to learn more.

The Desk & Easel Coworking

Management Agreements for Coworking and Landlords

Coworking and Flex Space Management Agreements

How do management agreements work and why are they becoming more common?

The coworking industry and the commercial real estate industry were hit particularly hard in 2020. Across the country, there have been hundreds of space closures, and vacancy rates for commercial office buildings reached 17% at year-end. It’s still an open question as to when employees will return to work at their traditional offices and when members will return to coworking spaces in larger numbers. However, we can expect the demand for flexible workspace to increase as companies seek to reduce overhead costs and employees demand greater location flexibility.

Organizations that plan to adopt long-term flexible and remote work policies are evaluating the need to retain all of the leased space and building assets that are currently part of their portfolios. As the workforce trends toward more flexible workspace and fewer days at a fixed location, long-term leases have quickly become less favorable and less realistic for employers.

At a time of increased vacancies for traditionally-leased offices and decreased member capacity and revenue opportunities for coworking spaces, there’s growing adoption of a different operating model that benefits both landlords and flex spaces. Management agreements, also called operating agreements, are gaining popularity because they can help provide greater resiliency for building owners and coworking space owners.

What is a management agreement for coworking spaces and landlords?

In its simplest form, a management agreement is a partnership between a landlord and a coworking or flex space operator. The property owner is incentivized to fill vacant space, and the space operator is seeking reduced risk of starting or managing a coworking space. In a management or operating agreement, both parties agree to share revenue generated from the coworking space.

How is a management agreement different from a traditional lease?

The coworking business model requires upfront capital to get started. It can also require additional capital if you’re making modifications to a space that’s already operating, such as building out more private offices in favor of fewer open coworking seats. Once a space is up and running or when a space is operating at full capacity, expenses remain relatively flat. Other than lease payments and employee expenses, most costs at this point are variable and include consumables such as paper, printer ink, coffee, snacks and cleaning supplies. As a space operator, the goal is to sell and retain enough memberships, plus earn revenue from events and amenities, to cover the costs of all expenses. The biggest expense to cover is typically a lease payment.

Under a management agreement, rather than accept a fixed lease payment each month, the landlord takes a percentage of revenue or profit the coworking space generates. A management agreement is beneficial because it eliminates or reduces lease expense from the coworking business model.

COVID-19 has put limitations on member capacity, events and amenities and significantly decreased revenue opportunities at coworking spaces. These conditions make it difficult for operators with large lease obligations to cover expenses and has forced many to permanently close their doors. When a coworking space closes, the landlord loses future revenue from the coworking tenant.

However, a management agreement allows total monthly expenses to be much lower for the coworking or flex space operator. This shift supports more resilience for both the landlord and the coworking space, as both parties work together to increase the chances of long-term success and profitability for the coworking business.

What are the major considerations for setting up a management agreement?

There are numerous pros to management agreements, but most notably is the ability to reduce risk to the coworking business by eliminating or reducing the lease expense. Another major benefit is that a management agreement allows for faster cash flow generation, and that cash can be reinvested back into the business or shared between the landlord and operator.

One challenge to consider with management agreements is that coworking operators should be prepared to educate both landlords and financiers on how the arrangement works and what it will entail. There are also three major considerations for operating agreements that may not fit with all business plans or management styles:

  • In order to compensate the landlord for taking more downside risk, the space operator shares a portion of monthly revenue. This means the ongoing earning potential for the space operator is lower, and likely 10-15% less than with a traditional lease.
  • Under a management agreement, the landlord has a direct financial interest in the success of the coworking space. They’ll expect to be more involved in the business than they would with a traditional tenant, so it’s important to consider how to manage the relationship in a manner that works for both parties.
  • Not every landlord is in a position to take on a management agreement, particularly if the landlord is financially extended with other vacant properties. Vacancy rates are currently much higher than normal, and if the landlord is not in a strong cash position, he or she may be unable or unwilling to support additional risk.

Talking to landlords about management agreements

If you’re a coworking or flex operator approaching discussions with your current landlord or a potential landlord, it’s important to remember that they’re business owners just like you. They’re not invested in a coworking space, they’re invested in a commercial property that needs to produce a return. To successfully negotiate a management agreement, you’ll need to clearly articulate the business model and demonstrate why a management agreement is an advantageous option for both parties. Come prepared with a few different scenarios for the landlord. Propose at least two calculations: a straight percentage revenue share and a revenue share with a specific floor and ceiling. This increases the chances of coming to an agreement that works for both parties.

Prove your knowledge, experience and competence as an operator

Property management and coworking may be related, but they are two very different specialties. Coworking is heavily geared toward hospitality and requires a lot more work, consistency and engagement than many landlords may be accustomed to or interested in providing. If you are a professional coworking or flex space operator, this is a huge benefit for you. Work with your landlord to explain the value you add as an operator and be clear about the responsibilities you’ll carry. If you have prior experience, have already built a reputable brand or are approaching your landlord with an existing base of members, communicate these points clearly to your landlord. He or she wants assurance that you are a professional who will establish a successful business and reliably pass along revenue each month.

Demonstrate you have skin in the game

In a traditional lease, the business owner is often required to provide first and last month’s rent, a deposit, personal guarantees and tenant improvements. Management agreements may not require all of these components, but landlords will want to see some upfront investment or evidence of other differentiators the operator brings to the table. Some examples include:

  • The operator has already established a desirable brand
  • The operator has already established a predictable business model that can be plugged into the landlord’s building
  • The operator will cover expenses for fixtures, furniture and equipment (FF&E)

Management agreements are gaining popularity because of their ability to create more resilient coworking businesses and reduce landlord vacancies. If you’re a space operator who wants to propose a management agreement for a new or existing coworking space, be sure to take into consideration all of the items listed above. Keep your eyes and ears open for potential vacancies, and seek a deal that’s a win-win for both you and the landlord.

Solutions for coworking spaces and landlords

Proximity is a workspace management platform that helps coworking spaces and landlords with automation for memberships, check-ins, reservations, conference rooms, door access and Wi-Fi access. View Proximity features to learn more about streamlined management for your flexible space.

Management Agreements for Coworking and Landlords

The Future of Work

The Future of Work Was Already Here

What happens now that everyone knows it?

2021 will be a year like no other for learning what’s possible when companies of all sizes embrace Work from Anywhere with a thoughtful, long-term strategy for remote and flexible work.

During the pandemic, any job that can reasonably be performed remotely has become a remote job. For the first time, millions of employees adopted remote-enabling tools for communication, collaboration, events, project management and even good-old-fashioned brainstorming. Those who were accustomed to dressing up for work, commuting and performing their roles in a traditional office setting learned that there is actually another way.

2020 was full of headlines about Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, Zillow, Mastercard, REI and numerous other large organizations announcing remote work policies in response to COVID-19. These announcements address immediate plans for working from home until vaccines are more widely available, and they also provide insight into longer-term considerations such as more flexible policies for work locations, fully remote work, relocation options and fewer corporate offices. 

There are several forms flexible and remote work can take in a post-pandemic world, but thousands of organizations have newly discovered two things the coworking industry has known for quite some time. Employees like flexibility. Employers like saving money.

The 2020 OwlLabs State of Remote Work Report provides a clear indication of how surveyed employees feel about flexibility:

  • 75% of people are the same or more productive during COVID-19 while working from home
  • In 2020 after COVID-19, 80% expect to work from home at least three times per week
  • One in two people won’t return to jobs that don’t offer remote work after COVID-19
  • One in two people would move if they were able to WFH all or most of the time

Global Workplace Analytics also estimates companies can save an average of $11,000 for each remote employee that works offsite half of the time. Savings are attributed to increased productivity, lower real estate costs, reduced absenteeism and reduced turnover.

Now, employers have a long list of assumptions to question and factors to evaluate in order to come up with return-to-work plans that suit employees, customers and other stakeholders.

What does this mean for our industry? For years, flex spaces have supported remote workers, entrepreneurs, small businesses and teams of all sizes at tens of thousands of locations around the world. Members join these spaces for a wide variety of reasons, and space managers already know how to create a great experience for professionals who don’t have a traditional office. It means we already know how to support this shift. You’re already doing it.

In 2020, millions of workers learned that while flexibility has plenty of upsides, working from home does have disadvantages. It’s difficult if you’re an employee who’s managing your work schedule while also serving as a teacher or caretaker during the pandemic. It’s distracting if your partner or roommate is also working at home, but it’s lonely if you live by yourself. It’s challenging if you’re early in your career and especially eager to make new, formative connections. Not everyone has the time, budget or space to set up a Zoom-worthy home office and not everyone has access to fast or reliable Wi-Fi. A task as simple as printing becomes an impossible quest to find the nearest, open, safe place that offers such services, and for some people, working at home simply isn’t as fun or motivating as being in the office with colleagues who are focused on the same goals as you.

For workplaces that plan to implement a long-term flexible work model, major considerations are employee environment and employee experience, and impacts on culture, productivity, retention and recruiting. Employers are also weighing health and safety guidelines, security requirements, and of course, opportunities for long-term cost savings.

As more employers adopt long-term flexible work and choose to reduce the number of office locations and traditionally-leased square footage, we can also expect more landlords to convert their assets to flexible space. This shift creates a vast number of options for companies that want to enable employees to reserve on-demand offices. When there’s a client meeting to attend, a team planning session to conduct, or sales calls to make, the home and the corporate office are no longer the default workspaces. Thousands of options spanning central business districts, the suburbs and smaller, rural communities can all be readily available for day-to-day work, a monthly meeting, or occasionally dropping in.

It’s been a tough year for our industry, and we’ve seen numerous closures of spaces and brands we love. Weathering the pandemic remains a difficult task as many spaces still face capacity restrictions and unknown timelines for fully reopening, hosting events or offering all of the amenities you once provided. We can’t predict when exactly return-to-work will happen, but we know that the way our workforce operates has now fundamentally changed.

Flex spaces are uniquely positioned to support the needs of more flexible and remote workers than ever before. Proximity, along with the hundreds of coworking and flex spaces in the Proximity Network, are prepared to support organizations and employees with the help and expertise they need to successfully transition to long-term flexible and remote work. In order to do this at scale, here’s what you’ll see next from Proximity.

Highly Flexible Inventory

We’re rolling out a new feature set that helps coworking and flex spaces manage memberships as reservations for any type of workspace for any duration or frequency. This means spaces can more easily manage bookings for private offices, dedicated desks, flex desks, conference rooms or event space for long-term memberships, recurring reservations or one-time bookings. Our customers will be able to integrate workspace reserved by members in the Proximity platform with (optional) inventory booked by non-members on an on-demand basis.

Employer Solutions

Once flexible inventory is in place, we can help more employers to find, book and manage flexible workspace at hundreds of locations in the Proximity Network. Employers can now also use Proximity to solve hoteling, meeting room reservations, digital door access, Wi-Fi management, employee check-ins and guest management at corporate office locations.

Commercial Real Estate Solutions

As more employers adopt flexible work policies, the demand for long-term and traditionally-leased assets is expected to decline. The need for flexible, reservable assets is expected to increase, and landlords are looking for solutions to operate their own flex spaces. We’re here to support this need with a turnkey management system that’s deployable at scale for managing reservations, check-ins, conference rooms, digital door access, Wi-Fi access, payment processing and reporting.

Over the last four years, Proximity has been fortunate to work with hundreds of coworking and flex spaces. We’ve witnessed and experienced the community impacts that can occur when job location no longer dictates where a professional chooses to live. We believe deeply in the values of community and connection, and that it’s difficult to do your best work in isolation. Enabling organizations with productive, secure, flex space at scale is a critical component of a successful, long-term shift to flexible and remote work. Proximity is thrilled to be here supporting companies, coworking spaces and communities with this transition in 2021 and beyond.

The Future of Work

PR and Media for Coworking Spaces

PR for Coworking Spaces: 10 Tips You Can Use Right Now

How to leverage public relations and media for your coworking space

In a year with plenty of bad news, everyone is on the lookout for a positive story. Coworking spaces have taken a hit during the pandemic just like nearly every other type of business, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t great stories to share about your members and the impact you’re having on your community.

Building relationships with reporters and sharing news with the right media outlets is a great way to reach a broad audience and reinforce the role of your coworking space in your local community. Public relations provides an opportunity to tell your story to new potential partners, members or supporters and communicate what’s unique about your business. Here are 10 ways you can approach public relations and media for your coworking space, even in 2020.

Know your audience

First and foremost, who do you want to reach? Think about your ideal members, tenants and partners. Who would be most interested to learn about your coworking space? What do they read? To get started, think about:

  • Local news sites or your local newspaper
  • Publications that highlight interesting local businesses in your community
  • Startup, business or technology websites or newsletters
  • Blogs or news sections published by local chamber of commerce or economic development group
  • Email newsletters you subscribe to that your audience might also read

Consider the news and resources your current members consume. These are mostly likely the places where your target audience will be interested in learning about you.

Only share what’s newsworthy

Are you planning a launch for a new coworking space? Have your members recently come together to support small businesses in your community? Do you have any upcoming events that would interest your local community, such as a holiday pop-up or business workshops to kick off the new year? Have any of your members experienced recent growth or achieved a major milestone? Is there an exciting new company joining your coworking space? Get specific about a piece of news others will be interested in reading.

Be timely

Will your story be relevant to the broader community right now? Whether you’re helping small business owners through COVID-19 or supporting a rise in members who are new to working remotely, make sure your topic is relevant to what’s currently happening in your community. Keep in mind that everyone is looking for good news, so even if the media is dominated by stories about the pandemic and politics, those aren’t the only topics that media outlets are covering.

Create a media list

One simple spreadsheet goes a long way to keep an organized list of your target media outlets and contacts. Once you’ve identified potential places to share your story, create a spreadsheet to record media outlet names, contact names, email addresses and a link to each site. Keeping this information all in one place saves you from searching your email folders or trying to remember contact names whenever you have news you’d like to share. It also provides your staff a starting place if you ask someone else to take on public relations for your coworking space.

Target the right journalists or bloggers who’ll be interested in your story

When you contact media members for a story, it’s critical to find the right reporter or writer who’s going to be interested in what you have to share. For each of the outlets on your media list, identify who covers business, technology, the economy or other topics that are specifically relevant to that reporter’s beat. If you send a story about a business networking event to a sports writer or a food blogger, they probably won’t read it. If you’re targeting a larger publication and you’re not sure who to send your story to, look at past news stories that are related to your topic and identify who wrote them. Often reporters include their email address with a published story. If you don’t see contact information there, check the publication masthead. Twitter bios are also a great place to check for email addresses as most journalists are active on Twitter.

Write a compelling pitch

There are two common ways to reach out to media. The first is with a tip or idea the reporter might be interested in pursuing. The second is to send a prepared press release directly to the media. This release may be published exactly as it’s written, or a reporter may contact you for a story based on the news you’ve shared. Sending a pitch or media release via email is very common. It’s critical to keep your email short, specific and get directly to the point. A very specific subject line and an email with five sentences or fewer is a great approach to getting your email read.

Keep your press release focused on news

Focus your press release on a specific piece of news. Whether it’s the anniversary celebration for your coworking space or you’re announcing an additional location, make sure to include all relevant details your readers will what to know about who, where, when and why. Include quotes from relevant parties in your release such as a member of your coworking community, a city official or you as the owner or manager of your coworking space. Always include a title, release date, contact information and relevant links to your business, social media or a specific event.

Keep your story consistent

After you’ve drafted the story you want to share and identified which media members might be interested, make sure you’ve included relevant information about your business or provided a way for the media to learn more about your coworking space. Reporters and your target audience will be interested in why you do what you do. Whether it’s included in your press release, linked on your website or directly in your pitch, be sure to provide a “so what” about your coworking space. You’re hosting a great event—so what? You’ve landed a new startup as a member at your coworking space—so what? Tie your news back to your brand, what it represents and why you’ve established a coworking community.

Reinforce your story with social proof

If a reporter wants to learn more about you or your business, social media is one of the first places he or she is likely to look. You don’t need to have a massive following to show your credibility, but you should have an updated profile with recent content that shows you’re engaged with your community on a regular basis. Consider adding member testimonials or highlighting member reviews. Also include prominent links to your social profiles on your website. The more you can show your community supports your business, the more likely it is reporters and readers will want to support it, too.

Engage with media when you don’t have a story to pitch

Like nearly everything you do in coworking, forming real relationships is at the root of building up your community. Invite journalists and bloggers into your space as your free guest for a day. Invite them to meet you for coffee at your coworking space. Letting them see and experience what you have to offer is one of the best ways to authentically start a professional relationship. Always follow up with a thank you and make sure to stay connected. When you do have news to announce, your established contacts are far more likely to take interest and share your excitement.

PR and Media for Coworking Spaces

The Business Hive New Zealand

From Coffee Club to Coworking Space: The Business Hive

New Zealand coworking space fills a need for professionals in a small community

Across the Proximity Network, there’s a common founding story among many rural coworking spaces. For smaller communities, productive workspace options are often limited to the library, the coffee shop or the kitchen table. When Cara Tipping Smith wanted a more professional and private location to work and take meetings, she decided to create one herself. What started as a coffee club of local residents became The Business Hive, a coworking space in Oamaru on the eastern coast of New Zealand’s South Island. We spoke with Cara to hear more about her experience starting a coworking space in a small, rural community.

Why did you decide to open a coworking space?

I arrived in our little town around three and a half years ago following my partner who had a new job. As a copywriter then, I looked around for the usual business support (I’ve lived in about 10 places) and couldn’t find it. The Chamber of Commerce was based in a bigger town, an hour away. There were no business networking groups so I started a coffee club. 

I quickly realized that talking about your business in a cafe in a small town could be a bit awkward. I mean who wants to talk business with your mother-in-law sitting at the next table? And of course other cafe-goers would interrupt not realizing you were actually having a meeting. Then I remembered the coworking spaces I’d used in the UK years ago. I found a couple in our nearest big town and decided to give it a go. Those coworking spaces in Dunedin were super helpful and supportive. In fact, it was one of them who put me on to Proximity—what a game changer!

Tell us about your space. What kinds of amenities does it have? What makes it unique?

We’re quite little but perfectly formed thanks to the amazing talent in our town. Local designers did everything from our logo to our interior color scheme. Our three-meter steel tables on wheels were built to my specifications by a local engineering firm. We can push them around to create boardroom or classroom setups and use them as food servers for event seating.

Local IT and sound engineers set up our AV suite (it makes you look really important on Zoom calls and is great for group calls) as well as our large-space projector with built-in sound. We have a sheltered courtyard for sunny days and even a room with its own hand-washing facilities.

What makes us truly unique is our traffic light tag system. We have red, orange and green tags on stands (or hung on hooks) that clearly display whether or not people can be interrupted. Our small town means it’s easy to bump into people you know so the tags show (from a distance) whether you’re ok to chat (green), ready for work talk only (orange) or can’t be interrupted right now (red). 

What is your favorite thing about operating a coworking space? 

The people. Everyone says that but our town is full of solopreneurs and small businesses. After our covid lockdown, even more people are working from home and that’s tough on the soul at times. People feel good in our space. They have a chat with someone they otherwise might not have. We see our role as signposting or cross-pollinating so that we bring our business community together. Buying local has never been more important. Employment opportunities have never been more important. Proximity’s job board gives us another opportunity to add value for our local businesses. Right now, we have an outstanding opportunity to support our town’s businesses and help them support each other.

What’s your favorite story about one of your members?

Our first permanent member arrived pretty much before our doors were open thanks to a local news article. It turned out she’d been hanging out for a space like ours. As an accountant, she was working remotely from home for a firm based around three hours away. She and her family knew from the outset that she would be able to work remotely so they’d actively chosen our town to be their home. Over time we grew to know her whole family, her boys would drop in (so great!) and her dad is now our go-to to look after our space when we go away and also our expert health and safety consultant.

What has been the most surprising or unexpected thing about operating a coworking space?

The range of things our local people do. Everything from workplace mediation to eyebrow treatments. We’re largely rural and we have people working from our place on the days they come to town.

What advice would you offer to someone wanting to open a coworking space?

Know that whatever you open with on day one will be different in three years. We knew that and it’s been an amazing journey to respond to what people actually need, not necessarily what I thought they would need. Be prepared to adapt. Keep connecting with your community. Without the people, you’re just a building. You can be so much more than that—you can change lives even if you don’t always know how.

The Proximity Network

Hundreds of coworking spaces around the world use Proximity to manage memberships, digital door access, reservations, billing, events and much more. Coworking and flexible workspaces can try the Proximity platform for free or schedule a demo with our team to learn more.

The Business Hive New Zealand

Domi Station-Proximity Network

Domi Station Provides a Model for Inclusive Startup Communities

Tallahassee’s Domi Station is a startup incubator and nonprofit coworking space

During a time when coworking spaces are experiencing temporary closures and significant disruption from COVID-19, it’s increasingly difficult to support entrepreneurs with access to a strong startup ecosystem. Yet at Domi Station, memberships and virtual programs are thriving. The community remains driven by the belief that progress demands innovation and that startups provide a path forward. By encouraging racial diversity and offering programs for for women, entrepreneurs over 50 and university students, Domi Station stands out as leader in building a truly inclusive startup community. We spoke with coworking manager Laura Powers to learn more about what Domi Station has to offer local entrepreneurs.

Why did you decide to open a coworking space?

Domi Station was opened with the mission of educating and empowering entrepreneurs. We believe in inclusivity and are working towards building the most diverse startup community in the Southeast. At Domi, we strive to provide a productive, welcoming, and collaborative environment for everyone.

Tell us about your space. What kinds of amenities does it have? What makes it unique?

Our space at Domi Station has several different aspects that make it an exciting and engaging place to work. We offer different tiers of membership depending on our members’ needs, including office spaces, conference rooms, dedicated desks and a shared coworking space. We have a large space for presentations and gatherings that can be rented by different organizations in the community who want to get involved at Domi. We also have a lobby area with a coffee bar, kitchen and even a ping pong table! It’s important to us that our members feel that they are part of a community and are comfortable and happy with their working environment.

What is your favorite thing about operating a coworking space? 

Operating a coworking space is so special because it is something different every day. We are constantly engaging with our members and reaching out to new ones as well. Domi Station is an amazing place because we also have such incredible innovation from our members. We have the ability to see startups blossom and grow into amazing companies that really make a difference in our community.

What’s your favorite story about one of your members?

One of our favorite members stories is the story of Divvy Up. They started as students of Florida State University’s entrepreneurship program. They visited a local homeless shelter and learned that socks were one of the main things that the homeless needed. The Divvy Up team started their company with the mission of donating one pair of socks to the shelter for every pair purchased. Since their founding in 2014, they’ve gifted over 100,000 pairs of socks to those in need and are now a million dollar company. Their social philanthropy is incredibly inspiring and we are honored to have them as a Domi Station sponsor.

What has been the most surprising or unexpected thing about operating a coworking space?

Working at Domi Station definitely has some unexpected but exciting aspects. The thing that surprised me the most was how inviting the members are. They are genuinely happy to be a part of the community and are eager to share their knowledge with you. It’s a very welcoming atmosphere and I am blessed to be able to interact with our members on a daily basis. 

What advice would you offer to someone wanting to open a coworking space?

Take that leap! Operating a coworking space is like nothing you’ve done before and offers some amazing experiences. You’ll meet incredible people, learn new things everyday, and make a lasting impact in your community.

About Proximity

The Proximity software platform helps coworking spaces manage memberships, digital door access, conference rooms, reservations, billing, events and much more. View Proximity features or schedule a demo to learn more about what Proximity can do for your flexible workspace.

Domi Station-Proximity Network

The Cedars Union Dallas Texas

The Cedars Union is on a Mission to Support Dallas Artists

The nonprofit arts incubator and artist-focused coworking space provides studios, equipment and mentorship to help members grow their careers

At The Cedars Union in Dallas, you won’t see tables of members hovered over laptops, groups circling white boards or meeting participants watching presentation slides. Instead, you’ll find a dedicated group of painters, ceramicists, new media artists and other creatives pursuing everything from woodworking to graphic design. Upcoming events include courses on how to use a vinyl cutter and 3D printer. We spoke with Adrienne Lichliter of The CU to learn more about how the coworking community of artists was formed and how they’re shaping the North Texas arts scene.

Why did you decide to open a coworking space?

The Cedars Union was born out of an idea from a brother and sister, Matt and Megan Bowdon, who both went to art and design school. After graduating, they missed their community, their access to equipment and their studios. The founders wanted to develop a space for artists, designers and makers to come together as a community, regardless of what stage they are in their practice, and to help them learn the entrepreneurial side of the art business. Especially in Dallas, they saw a need for more support for artists and wanting creatives to feel they didn’t have to move out of the area to be successful, and therefore The CU could contribute to making Dallas-Fort Worth a true arts metroplex. So, in 2015, they filed to become a 501c3 non-profit. In 2018, The Annex was opened as a proof of concept, and the first physical facility with studios, shared workspaces and meeting rooms along with features more often found in a makerspace (such as a professionally equipped wood shop and labs). The CU is also a public gathering space for programs, tours and various events.

Tell us about your space. What kinds of amenities does it have? What makes it unique?

Our space is designed to accommodate as much art production as possible in 7,000 square feet. We have a meeting room where we offer lectures with a kitchenette, tables and pinup walls. This room connects to the Fab Lab, which is outfitted with worktables, a printmaking area, an industrial sewing machine and a wall made for photographing artwork. We have a wet lab for cleaning paint brushes and such, a Mac lab with a large format printer and plotter, and a PC lab with a 3D printer and vinyl cutter. The computers in the tech lab have lots of design software for artists, graphic designers, and architects. Our Studio Hall is our largest room with a small lounge and fifteen private “micro-studios.” The smallest studio is 64 square feet and the largest is 200 square feet. Finally, we have a fully equipped wood shop with a table saw, miter saw, band saw and more.

Our space is so unique that it can be hard to find other models to emulate. By emphasizing shared space and using a nonprofit model we are able to offer more affordable options for studio space. The studios are designed to encourage community and exposure with low walls and no doors, and the shared spaces help increase the collaborative feel while providing more space when you need it.

What is your favorite thing about operating a coworking space? 

Hands down, seeing all the happy faces of artists working in our facility. Our #1 goal is to support them in their art practice. It’s exciting to see the fantastic work produced in our facility and seeing artists incorporate new mediums into their work directly from equipment and training we provide. We get to watch artists grow and build relationships with other artists and guests. Currently we are not offering tours to the public, but when it’s safe to do so again, we look forward to greeting new artists and patrons into our space again and showing them our studios and the artwork made in them.

What’s your favorite story about one of your members?

Though it’s extremely difficult to pick just one, we reflect back to some of the members who have been with us the longest. Desiree Vaniecia joined us in 2018 when we began our first cohort (jury-selected studio artists who stay for 18 months). Desiree is a contemporary painter who paints Black women in a simplified style that evokes both power and vulnerability. When she joined in 2018 she didn’t see herself as a professional artist, but rather an art teacher. She was ecstatic for the opportunity to build her career and work alongside other notable artists in Cohort 1. In her 18 months she worked so hard, coming in almost every day after work. Her commitment to her talent paid off. Her work has become more ambitious and has received more and more notoriety, bringing her grants, mural commissions, sold out art booths at fairs and an upcoming solo show at Conduit Gallery. She says that having a space and community to make work in changed everything for her, leading her to a true career as a painter. Though Cohort 1 finished this spring, she has stayed on as a Community Member without a private studio but with 24/7 access to shared facilities.

What has been the most surprising or unexpected thing about operating a coworking space?

At The Cedars Union we are constantly brainstorming new ways to engage members and create community, hosting critiques, workshops and lectures but the biggest driver of connection is also the simplest—artists working in a shared space. Our members form friendships, but they also learn from and inspire each other. Even when you rarely see a fellow member, you see their work, their trials and successes; the process is alive. In all the things we do as a nonprofit, providing accessible space goes a long way and serves the core of our mission.

What advice would you offer to someone wanting to open a coworking space?

Do as much research as possible into your target market’s needs before you start. We began with competitive market research, extensive surveying, focus groups and community meetings before starting anything else. For our space, we needed to understand how local artists and creatives currently work, what they struggle with, and what they can afford. With that information, we could identify what key features our space and programs would require to fulfill their needs and maximize their success. Using the research collected, we began an iterative design process for our space. Know that you won’t get everything right the first time, so fail fast and cheap, and then improve along the way by listening to your users.

About Proximity

The Proximity software platform helps coworking spaces manage memberships, digital door access, conference rooms, reservations, billing, events and much more. View Proximity features or schedule a demo to learn more about what Proximity can do for your flexible workspace.

The Cedars Union Dallas Texas

Tradecraft Coworking Denver

Construction Professionals Build Community at Tradecraft

The Denver coworking space is tailor-made for contractors, designers and construction businesses

When you first take a look at the list of coworking space amenities at Tradecraft Industries, trailer parking and access to a 30-yard dumpster might stand out as unusual. But for Tradecraft’s member community of skilled trade professionals, contractors and designers, these shared resources are exactly what they need to help limit overhead and gain greater flexibility for their businesses. Founder Bryce Ballew shared with us the origins of Tradecraft and how his unique concept helps members adapt to volatile demand in the construction industry.

Why did you decide to open a coworking space?

I originally had the idea during the last recession when I saw contractors not able to cut their overhead fast enough to adjust to the contraction of the economy. I imagined what would turn an office from a liability to an asset on the balance sheet and eventually came up with the idea for Tradecraft Industries.

Tell us about your space. What kinds of amenities does it have? What makes it unique?

Our space is designed much differently than most coworking spaces. We designed and built a ground-up facility utilizing shipping containers that double as structure and use for storage of materials. This was important to us not only from a uniquely functional and branding piece, but also as a unique value add for our demographic. Contractors need different amenities than traditional coworking provides, so by offering amenities including trailer parking, storage and a 30-yard dumpster we differentiate ourselves from the competition.

What is your favorite thing about operating a coworking space? 

I’m picking two. The first is pouring beers for members during a happy hour and hearing the banter between individuals and companies. The hilarity and solidarity that ensues when contractors compare jobsite stories, project wins and losses as well as the commiserating of industry experiences never fails to bring a big smile to my face. The second is watching and being a part of companies as they grow and adapt to market conditions. It’s extremely fulfilling to know that our community can play a part in helping small businesses grow and mature.

What’s your favorite story about one of your members?

There are too many to mention, but the one that sticks out is from an original member (we call them OG’s) that started with one office and a high degree of skepticism. He then got a second office. Pretty soon I had to build him a bigger office and he started another company. Just last month, he moved into one of our largest offices, has four companies and is planning to expand to other states.

What has been the most surprising or unexpected thing about operating a coworking space?

Let’s be honest, all the news these days is bad. What I’ve seen from our community is that people still crave connection and are genuinely respectful and want to help others. Don’t get me wrong, we have some strong personalities at Tradecraft, but our members and guests always seem to talk more about what they have in common and want to learn from each other than prove a point or be “right.”  The opening phrase I hear the most when people are chatting is, “What do you think about…”

What advice would you offer to someone who wants to open a coworking space?

Know your numbers and have a unique value proposition. It’s more than just tables, chairs and coffee. There are so many spaces that look exactly the same. Paint your personality on the wall. When people walk into your space, they should get a sense of what your community is all about. Be off-color and off-beat; funky and inclusive; be unique and allow others to feel connected to the tribe.

The Proximity Network

A network of more than 300 coworking spaces around the world use Proximity to manage digital door access, reservations, billing, events and much more. Try the Proximity platform for free or schedule a demo with our team.

If you’re looking for a great coworking space to join or visit, search the Proximity map to locate a workspace near you.

Tradecraft Coworking Denver


Toronto's Creatives Find Inspiration at Lokaal

The coworking space is a close, collaborative group of entrepreneurs, freelancers and remote workers

When Kevin McIntosh and his architecture practice decided to purchase and renovate an old landmark building to accommodate their growing business, he and his team also wanted to take the opportunity to provide a dedicated space for Toronto’s creative community. The result is a beautiful, well-designed coworking space that opened in 2018 to a group of local entrepreneurs, freelancers and remote workers. After joining the Proximity Network last month, Kevin shared more about Lokaal and the close community of creatives.

Why did you decide to open a coworking space?

I’ve been fascinated by the concept since meeting Tanya Surman, the founder of the CSI (Centre for Social Innovation), in Toronto in the mid-2000s. I was amazed at how people came together with different mandates and organizations but regularly fed off each other’s ideas, skills and strengths. When our architecture practice purchased a three-story, mixed-use building to house our growing office, we had an opportunity to design and build a coworking space and community of our own.

Tell us about your space. What kinds of amenities does it have? What makes it unique? 

Lokaal is relatively small with only 25 seats but all the usual amenities. The space is flooded with natural light through huge openings we carved out of the east side of the building. The name is Dutch for “local” and speaks to what we’re trying to accomplish which is to build a small but tight community of local entrepreneurs and remote workers.

What is your favorite thing about operating a coworking space?

The people. I’ve always been a “connector.” I get great satisfaction in bringing people together and making new introductions and seeing opportunities between people, likely because of my 10-year stint running a recruitment company in the 90’s.

What’s your favorite story about one of your members?

Our very first member could not wait for us to officially open. He joined three months before we opened publicly while drywall and painting were still happening. His business is construction-related so it did not phase him at all and now we hire him through our architecture practice to consult on some of our projects. Great example of how coincidental synergies happen in a coworking space.

What has been the most surprising or unexpected thing about operating a coworking space? 

Honestly? Just about everything! No matter how much research you do and how smart you think you are when you start up, you’ll be learning something new every day running a coworking space. One examplewe could have just leased our second floor to a company for their office but it occurred to me that if a tenant leaves, it could take months of lost revenue to find the next tenant. With coworking, you’d never lose all of your members at once so it’s a much more stable revenue stream… unless there is a pandemic.

What advice would you offer to someone who wants to open a coworking space?

Assuming it’s your first space, be prepared to be uber-flexible and nimble to adapt your business and operating model. Hold tight to your vision but be flexible with your business plan. Keep your members happy but remember you are still running a business.

The Proximity Network

A network of more than 300 coworking spaces around the world use Proximity to manage digital door access, reservations, billing, events and much more. Try the Proximity platform for free or schedule a demo with our team.

If you’re looking for a great coworking space to join or visit, search the Proximity map to locate a workspace near you.


Connects Workspace Golden Colorado

Celebrating Five Years: Golden's Connects Workspace

Community still matters most for this Colorado coworking space

Open since 2015, Connects Workspace is located in the heart of Golden, Colorado. Take a visit to this vibrant downtown and you’ll find amazing restaurants, charming shops and plenty of opportunities for kayaking, hiking or cycling. Locals are true professionals when it comes to work-life balance, and Connects serves as the hub for startups, small businesses and freelancers to engage with and support each other. Proximity spoke with owner Jennifer Thoemke to learn more about her coworking space and what makes the member community so strong.

Why did you decide to open a coworking space?

I had always wanted to start my own business and thought that coworking fit my passion for building community. I jumped out of corporate America in 2015 and haven’t looked back.

Tell us about your space. What kinds of amenities does it have? What makes it unique?

Connects Workspace is located in Golden, Colorado. My husband is a general contractor and has done all of our design and build out. We currently have 15,000 square feet of space in historic buildings throughout a one-block radius of downtown Golden. We are in a community that is walkable with a lot of restaurants and right on the foothills. We are a family-run business and like to treat each of our members like one of the family.

What is your favorite thing about operating a coworking space?

I love building community! My favorite part of the day is seeing members connect, work together and build friendships.

What’s your favorite story about one of your members?

I have a member that moved from Chicago to Evergreen (the foothills above Golden). She went from open coworking to two offices in a short span of a couple of years. Her growth was based on the connections that she made here at Connects Workspace. Her membership fees are easily offset by the business she has engaged in. She did this by being of service to others.

What has been the most surprising or unexpected thing about operating a coworking space?

I was hopeful that my members would take ownership and care for Connects like it was their own, but it is still surprising to see the amount of love and care they give to Connects.

What advice would you offer to someone wanting to open a coworking space?

Be patient and be of service to your community. People can smell desperation. Find ways to connect to your community and they will want to be a part of the great thing you have started.

The Proximity Network

A network of more than 300 coworking spaces around the world use Proximity to manage digital door access, reservations, billing, events and much more. Try the Proximity platform for free or schedule a demo with our team.

If you’re looking for a great coworking space to join or visit, search the Proximity map to locate a workspace near you.

Connects Workspace Golden Colorado

Reopening Your Coworking Space

We Reopened Our Coworking Spaces: Here's the Plan We Used

How do you safely reopen a coworking space during the coronavirus pandemic?

May 13, 2020

Last week, after almost two months of closure, Proximity reopened the three coworking spaces we own and operate in Colorado. We closed our coworking spaces upon stay-at-home orders issued in our state, and during the closures we worked to keep members engaged with steady communication via email and social media and hosted numerous virtual events. We also allowed members to fully pause billing on their memberships.

Now that businesses in Colorado are permitted to reopen and many of our members are eager to return to their coworking spaces, we spent a lot of time researching and preparing for a safe reopening. Here’s the plan we used and the steps we followed. We hope you find these tips useful as you prepare to see your members (in real life) again.

Check guidance from local authorities

State, county and city officials are all providing guidance on reopening businesses. Research the requirements, recommendations and timelines for your state specifically for office-based businesses. Many economic development groups are also providing support to help businesses understand guidelines. Also read what your state’s health department is recommending. Additionally, OSHA and the CDC recently issued guidance for businesses preparing to reopen. Once you identify your best sources of information, subscribe to their emails or follow on social media to keep up on the latest updates.

Decide who’s allowed to return to your coworking space

To prioritize safety and help provide members with a higher level of comfort in returning to our coworking spaces, we decided to reopen to current members only. This includes members with private offices, dedicated desks and flex desks. Members may not have outside guests or host meetings with non-members during this time. We are also capping our occupancy to 50% at each of our spaces. We monitor this using data from member check-ins via Proximity Wave. We’re also requiring flex desk members to reserve a room, desk or specific workspace every time they plan to be at one of our locations. To increase the dedicated space available to members, we provided unlimited conference room time so that reservations can easily be made and availability can be seen by all other members.

Consider extra support for families

We all have members who’ve been working at home while providing childcare or homeschooling their children. To give parents and caretakers a workspace option outside the home, we’re allowing our current members to share their membership with their partner free of charge. Only one person at a time from the membership is allowed at the coworking space. We’re also offering an add-on membership for college students who returned home after their campuses shut down.

Make a plan for access to your coworking space

Our plan is only as good as our ability to enforce it. Typically, the main doors to our coworking spaces remain unlocked during standard business hours. As part of our reopening plan we decided to keep the doors to our coworking space locked because all members have the ability to unlock doors with Proximity’s mobile app for door access.

Assess onsite staffing needs

Two of our three coworking spaces normally operate with an onsite community manager. In order to help reduce exposure for managers who are normally in contact with many members throughout each day, we’re not staffing our coworking spaces during this time. Members can check themselves in when they arrive and access the spaces on their own. They’re also provided with their own cleaning supplies and are discouraged from using any shared kitchen resources, especially dishes.

Confirm and document your plan for cleaning

We use a professional cleaning service for our coworking spaces. As an added precaution, we also provide supplies for members to clean their own workspaces, phone booths and conference rooms before and after use. We also created signage instructing members to clean any community space or shared items before and after each use.

Stock up on supplies for your members

As everyone knows, items such as toilet paper and cleaning supplies are difficult to come by right now. You may need to get resourceful and create some of your own solutions if you can’t find the supplies you need for your coworking space. Once you have an idea of how many members are returning to your space, plan to purchase adequate cleaning supplies and paper goods for your members, as well as recyclable or compostable dishes and utensils.

Don’t abandon the coffee

In an effort to continue providing our members with their favorite amenity, we purchased a single-serve french press for each person returning to our coworking spaces. This keeps kitchen interaction minimal while still helping everyone get their daily dose of caffeine. We’re asking members to bring their own mug from home, and we’re offering pre-measured coffee servings to keep the process simple.

Change your layout to encourage social distancing

Members should follow social distancing guidelines and remain six feet apart at coworking spaces. We rearranged our furniture to create more space between desks, in common areas and in conference rooms. For shared tables and conference rooms, mark off seats that are unavailable so that members are discouraged from sitting too close together. To create additional separation between workspaces, also consider dividers and movable walls. These solutions are available to order from our partners at Interior Environments.

Reiterate health and safety recommendations

We’ve heard it a million times, but use signage in your coworking space to consistently remind members to:

  • Stay home if they are sick or show symptoms of coronavirus
  • Wear a mask
  • Wash their hands throughout the day

We’re also using Proximity Wave to ask members to self-certify upon checking into a coworking space that they aren’t sick or showing any symptoms.

Set expectations and communicate regularly

Prior to reopening, we announced all guidelines to our members via email. We also hosted a Zoom call to recap the policies and provide an opportunity to ask questions. Continue to monitor your local guidelines and be sure to keep your members posted on any changes you need to make at your coworking space.

Prepare for the worst

We’ve asked our members to notify us immediately if they become sick. If this occurs, the coworking space will close for 14 days to allow time for other members who may have been in contact to watch for symptoms. If a closure occurs, the coworking space will be professionally cleaned and disinfected again prior to reopening to members.

To all the coworking space owners and managers preparing to reopen, we just want to say thanks for everything you’re doing to provide your members a safe, productive workspace. Coworking plays a crucial role in the daily lives of thousands of people, and so many have been missing their communities. As you start to see (non-virtual) member faces again, we hope you feel encouraged and supported.

A disclaimer: This is our plan for reopening our coworking spaces and not all information will be applicable to every coworking space. We highly recommend you research and review your local regulations and seek professional legal counsel to address questions.

Reopening Your Coworking Space

4Kitson Coworking Victoria Australia

Australian Trade Hub Brings New Coworking Model to Frankston

As Frankston, Victoria’s first and only coworking community focused on trade businesses, 4KitsonCo. offers equipment and inventory storage and onsite concierge services along with shared workspace and meeting rooms. General Manager Joanna Baker shares with us more about her unique coworking model and reminds us why we’re all lucky to be part of this industry.

Why did you decide to open a coworking space?

Coworking is the zeitgeist right now. We have four coworking spaces in Frankston and I loved the idea, so when I needed more space, I went looking around. None of them was quite right and I thought, how about I start my own? What I particularly like in this industry is that competitors are actually friends. We all have similar motivation to nurture a community, but we are all doing something a bit different so we share ideas. It’s really collaborative and supportive. Every coworking space owner I’ve met tends to be awesome.

Tell us about your space. What kinds of amenities does it have? What makes it unique?

4KitsonCo. is a trade hub designed for people who have stuff. We have secure storage and van access as well as a receiving bay for deliveries. It’s ideal for tradies who spend most of their time on the road and are living out of their garages. But it brings in all the great aspects of coworking, like collaborative space, coffee and community.

What is your favorite thing about operating a coworking space? 

I’m delighted so far that we’ve created a great vibe. Everyone wants to chat by the coffee machine and I look forward to coming to the office each day. Even our cleaner loves hanging out here.    

What’s your favorite story about one of your members?

Dale was our very first member and joined while we were still building (at a reduced rate of course). He suffered through our plumbing dramas and patiently waited for fridges to be installed. We had a great laugh and he made it his own. He’s definitely cowork material!  

What has been the most surprising or unexpected thing about operating a coworking space?

So far I’ve been pleased with how respectful of the space everyone has been. They’ve been looking to me for guidance about policies, cleaning up after themselves and generally being a great little cooperative.

What advice would you offer to someone wanting to open a coworking space?

Have plenty of energy and train up someone to support you ASAP. Getting all the lights and music on, thinking every day about events and connections does take focus. And have plenty of cash, too! My members drink a lot of coffee.

Learn more about 4KitsonCo. on Facebook and LinkedIn.

4Kitson Coworking Victoria Australia

Virtual Events for Coworking Space Members

How to Engage Your Coworking Space Members with Virtual Events

As a coworking space owner or manager, you’re surely navigating membership pauses, extensions, cancellations and questions about when you’ll be open again. It’s a disheartening and worrisome time for most small businesses, especially those that thrive on groups of people coming together. If you have an established community at your coworking space, closures during the coronavirus outbreak can leave your members feeling disconnected. Many of your members joined your coworking space because they don’t want to work from home.

While much about the current health crisis and economic downturn are uncertain, one thing is for sure: your members find value in community. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t have joined your coworking space. So how do you preserve that value if you’re not supposed to leave your house? How do you create a sense of community when you can’t actually be with your members? 

Continuing to host events for your members is the best way to keep your community engaged while your coworking space is closed. Whether you use Zoom, Google Hangouts or Instagram Live, there are a number of free and inexpensive tools to help you gather your members virtually. Your virtual events should follow the same general rules as your in-person events—every session should serve a specific purpose and provide value to your members. Whether you’re hosting a conversation to discuss work-from-home tips, teaching your attendees a useful skill, or simply spending a little time together to provide some calm and stability, make sure every event has a goal in mind. 

Just like your in-person events, you don’t have to lead every session. Provide your members with as many opportunities as possible to share their unique skills and expertise, especially during this time when they could likely use support from the members they know and may want to meet new potential collaborators or customers. Extend your event invites to non-members via social media, your email list and word-of-mouth with your current members.

Here are seven event themes to help get you started with virtual events or add to your event calendar:

1. Plan a Workshop to Teach a New Skill

Now that many of your members are spending a lot more time at home, they’ll be looking for ways to productively use their time. What are some of the valuable skills your members could learn or sharpen that would help them improve their businesses during these tumultuous times? When you’re trying to pursue a new skill, learning together is far more motivating than being in the void of an overwhelming Google search. Maybe it’s sprucing up websites, planning social media content or learning the basics of Quickbooks. If you’re not sure what skills to start with, ask your members what they’d like to learn. Seek an expert (preferably a member!) who can lead a session and provide value to your community.

2. Support Your Members with Career Development

You likely have members who have experienced the negative impacts of the sudden economic downturn and are now seeking new jobs, new clients or both. Help them address uncertainty by taking control of what they can—presenting themselves and their work professionally. Whether it’s writing a standout resume, making the most of a LinkedIn profile or building a personal portfolio, tap an expert to provide tips for the best ways members can refresh or improve their professional materials and online presence. You can also pair members with each other for resume reviews, portfolio feedback or interview practice.

3. Create a Virtual Panel

What’s a topic your community would be interested in discussing together? Work-from-home tips? How to manage remote employees? Best practices for homeschooling? There’s so much information for each of these topics, and including three to five professionals on a panel with a focused subject is a great way to capture different perspectives and a lot more information than a single expert may be able to offer. Virtual events allow you to extend your panel invitations broadly, so think big and get creative with the experts you’d like to invite. Plan questions for your panel in advance, and be sure to save time for your attendees to ask their questions.

4. Host a Group Exercise Session

You’ve seen these skyrocketing on social media and there’s a reason. It’s really fun! With a little extra time on our hands and plenty of stress to burn off, exercise is a great way to engage your members with an easy-going activity and encourage them to take a break. Ask a qualified member, your local yoga studio or a personal trainer from your gym to hold a 30-minute session that requires minimal equipment. Bonus: offer your members a follow-up fitness challenge (such as holding a plank or completing a set of sit-ups) and encourage them to tag your coworking space on social media when they complete it.

5. Feature a Local Business

Right now is a critical time to show support for small businesses. Plan an activity with a local business that offers a Member Benefit to your community or a business you know your members love. Is it a restaurant? Ask them to show your members how to make a dinner favorite or a signature cocktail. Local boutique? Ask them to get creative with spring styling tips. A bookstore? Ask for the best new book recommendations for entrepreneurs, kids, history fans, fantasy-lovers and any other genre your community would enjoy. Let the business make an ask during the event—attendees are likely to want to support them by making an online purchase, buying a giftcard or ordering takeout.

6. Give the Parents and Caregivers a Break

If you’ve ever worked from home with kids, you know how difficult it can be to prioritize productivity. Many of your members are likely experiencing these challenges right now, so why not offer them a little reprieve? A virtual storytime or a craft activity are excellent ways to engage the kids of your members with something fun to hold their attention. Consider what you know about the families of your members and plan your activity for the appropriate age range. If you’re leading a craft, select a project that uses common household materials that your members will have on hand. A Google or YouTube search for “kids craft ideas” will give you tons of project ideas to try.

7. Hang Out Over Coffee, Lunch or Happy Hour

These events are the easiest to plan yet offer significant value for your members. They want social connection with you and the rest of their community, and a (virtually) shared cup of coffee or a post-work glass of wine provides just that. Prepare a few questions for the group to kickoff the conversation. Be sure to welcome each attendee and allow time for introductions. If you’re offering a social hour consistently, you’ll definitely attract some new folks to your group. Be sure to acknowledge them and ask how they could be supported by your community.

If you’d like to check out an example of a virtual event, join our next Coworking Community Call or one of our Friday Coffee & Coworking sessions. We’d love to see your face and hear how your events are going!

The Proximity platform helps you promote events and register your attendees. Learn how to manage events for your coworking space by booking a demo with the Proximity team or starting your free Proximity trial.

Virtual Events for Coworking Space Members

The Nook Coworking Space in Roswell Georgia

Female Entrepreneurs in North Atlanta Find Their Place at The Nook

Ladies-only coworking space balances professional productivity with personal wellbeing

“It didn’t exist, so I created it.” This describes the ethos at Georgia coworking space The Nook. Located in the northern Atlanta suburb of Roswell, this female-focused space got its start when founder Shelly Brockman moved out of the city and found herself in need of a new professional community. We spoke with Shelly to learn how The Nook provides a supportive and productive workspace for female entrepreneurs, freelancers and remote workers.

Why did you decide to open a coworking space?

I’ve always been intrigued with the coworking industry. As an entrepreneur, working from home got to be so isolating. About two years after I started my consulting business, I signed up for a coworking membership at a new space that opened just around the corner from my home in downtown Atlanta. I loved working there and felt so productive, plus not having all the household distractions was helpful. 

When we moved out of the city and to the northern suburbs I felt that isolation all over again. I’d been toying with the idea of having a coworking space as an extension of my branda place that can foster community, build businesses and be an epicenter of social capital. I work with women entrepreneurs specifically and know the struggle many of them face on a daily basis. I also knew the power of collective intelligence and of having a supportive communityit can be life changing.

Being new to “the burbs” I was craving a community of smart, ambitious women who are doing really cool things in this world. More than ever, I realized I needed this for my own sanity and mental wellbeing. It didn’t exist, so I created it.

Tell us about your space. What kinds of amenities does it have? What makes it unique?

We like to say that The Nook is a place where women come to take care of business and of themselves. We are a micro-coworking space, so no private offices. It’s designed to feel like a home away from home (without all the domestic responsibilities). We have flex seating and several dedicated desks plus a private meeting/focus room and are building out a podcast/phone booth.

When I opened The Nook, I knew that childcare was a big issue for many women. That’s why my first partnership priority was with a childcare provider located less than a mile from the space. As we grow and expand into a new space we will eventually have onsite childcare. But for now, the childcare partner offers our members drop-in access at a discounted rate, something that is not available to the general public.

Self-care is crucial and one of our core tenets. We offer onsite yoga and chair massages for our members plus we are growing a list of wellness provider partners who offer our members discounts on services. We want to make self-care easy and accessible for our members and try to minimize the “guilt.”

What is your favorite thing about operating a coworking space? 

The people. I’ve met so many amazing women through this process. 

What’s your favorite story about one of your members?

My favorite story about one of our members is one day coming into the space, as I walked through the door a member turned from her desk and said, “Hey! Want to go grab breakfast?” There’s not much I miss about my corporate days, but being able get lunch or coffee with a coworker and develop those friendships is something I really do miss. 

What has been the most surprising or unexpected thing about operating a coworking space?

I did a lot of research and talked to a lot of people, so there’s not much that has surprised me….yet. I’m only a few months in, so ask me again in a year and I may have a different answer!

What advice would you offer to someone wanting to open a coworking space?

Know your market and know your financials and pay close attention to your member experience.

Learn more about The Nook on Facebook.

The Nook Coworking Space in Roswell Georgia

Coworking Knoxville is open to entrepreneurs and small businesses seeking more collaboration in a professional community

Knoxville Coworking Space Seeks to Build a Stronger Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

For communities throughout the country that want to better support entrepreneurs and drive new business growth, establishing a coworking space is often an early step to attracting and uniting entrepreneurs. CoWorking Knoxville founder Frank Ramey saw an opportunity in his community to help create a stronger entrepreneurial ecosystem. We spoke with Frank to learn how his coworking space supports more collaboration among local startups and small businesses.

Why did you decide to open a coworking space?

We wanted to help build a stronger entrepreneurial ecosystem here in Knoxville. While we’ve got some great organizations to help support our entrepreneurs, Knoxville didn’t really have a space for them to get stuff done and collaborate.

Tell us about your space. What kinds of amenities does it have? What makes it unique?

CoWorking Knoxville is a part of Bearden Technology Suites, a 4,000 square foot office building. We offer free amenities to members such as coffee and water and conference room time. We also add a unique twist by maintaining (and growing) a physical library of business-focused books that members can check out and read anytime. Right now we’re up to about 100 books.

What is your favorite thing about operating a coworking space? 

Honestly, it’s getting to connect with other entrepreneurs in our area. I also love that as I get to know more about our local business ecosystem, I can better connect those entrepreneurs with people and organizations that can help them grow!

What’s your favorite story about one of your members?

One of our members accidentally got locked out of the building during an especially cold day (he left his phone on his desk that had his Proximity app on it). Since we have an outside tablet with the Proximity Wave page on it, I got a text from the system that said, “Hello, Frank. Can you open the door for me? Locked out and waiting up front for you.”

What has been the most surprising or unexpected thing about operating a coworking space?

It’s actually created some business for the digital marketing service I run out of the coworking space. As members get to know me and what I do, they’ve been referring me to their own client base. I truly was not expecting that to happen!

What advice would you offer to someone wanting to open a coworking space?

It’s not about the desk. If you focus on your space as a tenant/landlord relationship, you’re not going far. Think of all the ways you can support your members outside of just being a cool place to work from. We do that by helping members connect to business networks/people plus offering educational programming.

Learn more about Coworking Knoxville on Facebook.

Coworking Knoxville is open to entrepreneurs and small businesses seeking more collaboration in a professional community