9/7/2018

Converting Corporate HQ to Coworking

Mike McDougal, the founder of McDougal Coworking, shares his journey of converting a corporate headquarters into a successful coworking space that’s ready to scale. Here are three takeaways on his journey from corporate to coworking.

From Corporate Business to Coworking Space

After almost 30 years in the real estate business, our firm had outgrown our 10,000 square-foot headquarters building. We built a new 38,000 square-foot headquarters, combining four separate locations. So now what do we do with a large (for our market) office space organized primarily for a single tenant? We were lucky enough initially to find a couple of tenants to lease the entire space for a few years, but both ended up being short-term.  We needed a longer term solution...Enter Coworking!

This concept was a complete unknown to us and to our market, so we embarked on a journey to other markets—exploring these unique spaces that we saw emerging elsewhere. After initially (and unsuccessfully) chasing a few Executive Office Suite operators, we decided to open and create a local branded coworking space. McDougal Coworking opened in April 2017 in Lubbock, Texas.  We "borrowed" ideas from lots of other operators we met in larger markets, but ultimately customized our space to what we thought our market would accept.


Here are the lessons we learned along the way.

1. Less furniture is better

We currently offer only a desk and a chair to each member. We bought (but rarely use) locking 2-drawer file cabinets. We have most of these now stuffed in a storage closet. Also, our desks came with what now seem like ridiculous accessories, such as a removable shelf to hold a computer tower. We haven't seen anyone with a computer tower maybe since 1999?

2. The money is in private offices   

We were told this initially but didn't fully embrace it until the market confirmed it. We ended up doing a bit of remodeling about one year into our journey to provide more (if smaller) private spaces. We have since experienced 100% occupancy in those spaces.   

3. Invest in a smart access control solution

The third lesson was one we borrowed from other spaces we visited—we installed Kisi for access control from the very start and haven't looked back. The app has transformed our space to a 24/7 operation with minimal staff. Just this morning, in fact, I used the app to open the door for a member that arrived a bit earlier than normal. We have the app embedded with our membership software, Cobot, so as members join, they automatically are invited to download Kisi and are given preset permissions with no further intervention from our staff. This also allows us to offer our meeting spaces after hours using Kisi’s scheduling system. We simply reserve a meeting room, add it to our Google Calendar, and the doors open and lock based on the meeting scheduled. We save 10 times the monthly cost of the system just in reduced staff hours. We are truly "powered by Kisi" as the logo on our website proclaims.

Through Kisi, individual spaces (i.e. the private offices) are leased at rates 60-70% higher (per square foot) than other office spaces in the market. After taking into account the common areas and additional overhead, our space nets a 25% premium over similar office buildings. So would we do it again? In fact, we are! We have since opened an international location (Sampa.works) in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and are actively seeking 1-2 additional locations in Texas. Our success has attracted a couple competitors to the market but we see that as a positive. We continue to educate our market about what coworking is—the competition is assisting us in getting our market accustomed to the concept.  We expect to see more but they should expect to see more from us. Game On!

box

3. Benefits of Tagging Others

Social data also describes the interaction between social media users. While comments, likes, and shares are the most obvious forms of interaction on social media, tags are another form of communication between social media users. 

Tagging is one of the most effective tips for coworking on social media. When it comes to promoting your coworking space, tags do an amazing job at increasing your visibility. On Facebook, for instance, your post will have more reaches if you tag others:

Image credit: CENTRL Office

If you often organize events at your coworking space, you can tag the participants. If you have some special offers, tag someone who helps you promote them. Any tag conveys social data, as it transfers information from one user to another. It’s a great way to become more visible online and attract potential clients. 

In Conclusion

Like any other big data, social data has limitations, as not every social media user shares information. Nevertheless, social data is still very effective for marketing purposes, as it can help your coworking space become more recognizable. 

Using the above-mentioned social data techniques together will help you increase visibility, as they will help others find your coworking space more easily. In general, these techniques are aimed at targeting large numbers of people and help them easily navigate the space of social media to find the best coworking spaces. 

Platform

Location

Croissant

International

Included.co

International

Hubble

London

Coworker

International

Instant Offices

International

Pickspace

International

Share Desk

International

Happy Desk

International

DesksNear.me

International

DeskTime

International

Coworking London

London

Desk Pass

International

Copass

International

Coworking Wiki

International

Desk Surfing

International

Near Desk

US

Liquid Space

International

GoCoWo

International

Find Workspaces

US

Sneed

India

Ofixu

International

Meetings Booker

International

Qdesq

India

eWorky

International

Share your office

US

Spacelist

US and Canada

42 Floors

US

Office List

US and Canada

Coffices

International

Breather

US, Canada, Europe

Setting

Berlin

Key to Office

International

Peerspace

US and Europe

Bizly

US

Spacewhiz

India

Beewake

US and Europe

Awfis

India

Allofficecenters

Germany

Splacer

US

Lexc

International

Desk Camping

International

Worksnug

International

Seats 2 Meet

US

Coworking.Coffee

International

Commercial Cafe

US

Preferred Office Network

US

Heydesk

International

Office Freedom

International

Flexas

International

The Yard Coworking

Save your community manager 41 hours each week—learn how The Yard did it with cloud-based access control.

Read the Case Study

Most Viewed

Technology as a Catalyst
Alberto Di Risio
Thriving In Smaller Markets
Junel Seet
Access Control vs Smart Locks
Alberto Di Risio
Offering More Value
Junel Seet
Protecting Network Security
Junel Seet
5d08ec2b95e837d532819564
template-6
section

Get expert advice on setting up and scaling your space

Free access to our best guides, industry insights and more.

Download Center
Setting Up