Coworking Space Management System

Overview

This personal project took me around 4 weeks to complete.

The Design Process

Design thinking

Why this domain? 👀

Working remotely has become the new normal. While companies have shifted to working remotely, some of them have started renting coworking spaces in particular cities to give employees a better “remote work experience”. And THIS might be the new, new normal.

What are coworking spaces though?

So, coworking spaces are these places where companies can rent an actual office for their teams to work.

So yeah, let’s get back to the assumption of the boom of coworking spaces. Let’s gather some data to see if it’s actually true.

Secondary Research 💻

Some statements —

“The Global Coworking Spaces Market is expected to grow by $ 13.35 bn during 2021–2025, progressing at a CAGR of over 11% during the forecast period” — Source

“India holds the second position throughout the world in terms of number of Coworking spaces” — Source

Let’s gather more insights on coworking spaces.

Some more facts —

  1. 65% of people working in coworking spaces are younger than 40.
  2. Freelancers are still the largest coworking demographic in the world.
  3. Most coworkers prefer 24/7 access to their coworking space.

Observations —

  1. All of these facts suggest that coworking spaces have actually been on a boom and this trend is yet to stay.
  2. Major consumers of coworking spaces are young employees of MNCs.
  3. In India, Mumbai has the highest demand for coworking spaces.

Competitive Analysis 📃

Let’s now look at some current coworking space management systems to see what kind of services do they provide.

I chose— OfficeRND, Cobot, CoWorkify, and Nexudus for competitive analysis, cause these are the top players in this field.

Observations 🕵️‍♂️

Common features

  1. Handling complaints
  2. Viewing members
  3. Checking occupancy and vacancy of the space
  4. Handling invoices
  5. Managing finances
  6. Handling leads

Unique Features

Office RND

  1. The only app to provide an option to mark the priority of complaints.
  2. Option to direct message the customers (In-App)

Cobot — No unique features

CoWorkify

  1. The only app to provide mass communication method between the coworking space and their customers. (Through mails)
  2. Check finance statistics.

Nexudus — No unique features

Primary Research 🧐

I conducted 13 on-site and 11 online one on one user interviews with the — operations team, sales team, and the owners of co-working spaces.

But why?

  1. To get introduced to the environment of coworking spaces, and to know everything that happens there throughout the day, from the lens of every stakeholder.
  2. To know how many stakeholders are involved and what their work looks like.
  3. To study the employees, coworkers, and other people working in the space in the most natural way.

Now since the interviews were held at a lot of different coworking spaces, of different sizes and purposes, I wrote all the gathered information from these interviews and organized them into groups to get the bigger picture.

Affinity Mapping

Every vertical sorting represents a category

Observations️ ️🕵️‍♂️

  1. There are prominently 4 types of employees a coworking space has — operations team, sales team, accounts team, hospitality management team. And apart from these people, there are obviously co-workers working in the space.
  2. On average, there are about 200–250 people working in the space on any working day.
  3. The average tenure of a client is usually from 12–36 months.
  4. Most of the clients of high-end spaces are large MNCs.
  5. Almost all the coworking spaces take some amount as a security deposit which is refunded at the end of the client’s tenure.

Defining the scope

Due to limited time and resources, I considered only the most prominent stakeholders, which are — the operations team, and the sales team.

And the coworking space that I’ll be considering for this case study — has more than 200 customers (or coworkers) and they all are an employee of some of the other company.

User Personas 🦸‍♀️🦸‍♂️

Let’s have a look at what these stakeholders’ work and background look like.

Neha — Operations Manager
Aarthi- Sales Manager

User Journey and Workflows

Having looked at the background and general work of the stakeholders, let’s have a detailed look at how their work looks like throughout the day, and how do these stakeholders deal with the challenges.

Note: Although “coworkers/customers” (of the coworking spaces) were not included in the scope, they have been discussed here to give a clear picture of how the coworking spaces are operated end to end.

Operations Team

Operations Team Journey
Operations Team Workflow

Sales Team

Sales Team Journey
Sales Team Workflow

Customer

Customer (coworker) Journey
Customer Workflow

Observations 🕵️‍♂️

Operations Team

Most of the work of the operations team include —

  1. To act as the first touchpoint of the potential client and to gather their requirements to see if they’re a “fit” for them.
  2. Handling the clients’ queries at the space.
  3. To check vacancy of the required service, be it conference rooms, or the cabins.
  4. Keeping a tab of all the special services consumed by the client to later communicate it to the sales team.
  5. To be in regular contact with the hospitality management team to communicate the customers’ needs.
  6. To be the one communicating with the 3rd vendors for any respective services.

Sales Team

Most of the work of the operations team include —

  1. To draft an agreement and come up with a price favorable for both the parties and to explain this price to customers.
  2. To make customers aware of the agreement, T&Cs, and answering their questions.
  3. To gather all the documents and make them sign the agreement.
  4. To communicate with the accounts team and send them all the invoices monthly.
  5. After the offboarding, keep updating the clients about the refund of the security deposit.

Problem Statement 👨‍🏫

Making the daily work experience and communication between the operations and sales team at a coworking space, seamless.

Information Architecture

Operations Team
Sales Team

Proposed features

Operations team —

  1. An option for them to handle complaints in the space and respond to them.
  2. A way to store the details of all the leads.
  3. To check vacancy in the space.
  4. To have the data of all the clients at the space, and to keep a track of all the extra charges from the consumption of special services.

Sales Team —

  1. To keep a track of all the invoices and leads.
  2. To get information about all the clients and their extra charges.

Low fidelity Wireframes

High fidelity wireframes

High fidelity wireframes for handling invoices (for the sales team) and the complaints (for the operations team)
High fidelity wireframes for handing leads (for both sales and operations teams)
High fidelity wireframes for handing clients (for both sales and operations team
High fidelity wireframes for checking vacancies in the space (for the operations team)

Solution 🥁

For the Operations Team

Handling Leads

Checking space vacancy

Managing Client Information

Complaints

For the Sales Team

Managing Invoice

Handling Leads

Managing Client Information

Design guidelines

Experience and Learnings

This whole project was a very, very overwhelming experience on its own. Contacting owners of coworking spaces, explaining to them what “user interviews” are, was just very new, and on top of it, convincing them to schedule one with me is a completely different story.

Here are some of my learnings from the project—

  1. Not preparing a user interview questionnaire can also be good sometimes. The actual conversation takes a very dynamic natural flow, which ends up with you exploring more than the answers to those questions ever would. Select some topics, instead of questions.
  2. Having a design process in mind from the beginning helps a LOT in shaping the whole project in a positive way.
  3. Get reviews from people at every stage of the process.
  4. Microsoft Excel is a very powerful tool. (And that if you “copy” anything from excel, and “paste” it to Figma, it’ll be pasted as an image!!)

Resources

  1. https://www.coworkingresources.org/blog/key-figures-coworking-growth
  2. https://www.smallbizgenius.net/by-the-numbers/coworking-statistics/
  3. https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2021/08/09/2276925/0/en/The-Global-Coworking-Spaces-Market-is-expected-to-grow-by-13-35-bn-during-2021-2025-progressing-at-a-CAGR-of-over-11-during-the-forecast-period.html
  4. https://digest.myhq.in/growth-of-coworking-spaces-india/

If you have any thoughts/reviews with you, feel free to comment or reach out to me on LinkedIn. Hope you enjoyed this article, if you came this far, cheers!

Adios.

I read a new book every 10 days.