5 Mistakes to Avoid When Launching a Coworking Space

With the coworking industry growing exponentially year after year, it’s no wonder so many more spaces are opening around the world. And if you’re reading this, then the chances are you’re doing the same.

However, since so many coworking spaces have opened, we’ve observed many mistakes that these spaces have made, affecting their chances of success.

Below I am going to recap my top five critical mistakes to avoid when starting a coworking business.

1. Failing to Foster a Community Atmosphere

While coworking spaces are a place to get work done, there’s no denying that the best of the best coworking spaces are designed to build a community of workers that come together. This is one of the key points that make coworking spaces what they are, if not the most important aspect of these businesses.

According to a survey conducted by Global Coworking Unconference Conference (GCUC), the number one reason why people choose coworking spaces is to build a community. In fact, 54 percent of those surveyed stated that having a sense of community was their primary motivation for joining a coworking space. Additionally, this sentiment was especially strong among millennials and Gen Z workers - 71 percent of millennial respondents said they believed having a sense of community was essential to the coworking experience.

When people work in coworking spaces, they are there to meet new people for both social and business reasons. If you’re not focusing on building a community environment, you’ll find that many clients simply go elsewhere to a coworking space that does.

Even before you open your coworking space, you want to make sure you’re marketing your space with an emphasis on your community. This means hosting events for people and clients to sign up and attend to meet other people and engage in fun activities or for viewing and experiencing professional presentations.

This is important. Make sure you don’t just focus on the professional aspect. People will want to talk about things other than work, so encourage this to happen. Remember, if people just wanted to sit down and do work, they could just stay at home rather than pay for a space in a coworking facility.

2. Lacking Creativity

There are businesses where members can just rent an office and get on with their work. Many coworking spaces offer a fun and lively experience that’s engaging and makes members want to be there instead.

Sure, you could treat your coworking space like any other rented office business, but you’re going to end up driving people away and losing people because they’re bored.

Instead, be creative with your approach and make things as vibrant as possible. Host events and performances. Get people in for talks, both professionally and with some entertainment value.

An image showing tray with glasses at hosted coworking event

Have casual Friday events, and even team up with other businesses outside of your coworking space to offer fun deals. Perhaps bowling or setting up a regular drinks session people can get involved with.

What you choose to do really depends on the style of your business and what kind of place you’re marketing. You may like to keep things professional rather than incredibly casual, and that’s okay. Just think outside the box as to what you can give your clients and what they’re going to connect with.

Of course, there’ll be a lot of trial and error to see what works for you and what people respond to. You may think you have an amazing idea for a night out that nobody is interested in, and you may have ideas that you think are pretty bland, but people love them. It’s all about finding out what works.

3. Attempting an Unwieldy Self-Management System

When you rent properties on Airbnb or something like that, you can probably manage everything yourself because it’s not very busy. However, managing a coworking space is far different, and you’re not just going to be renting spaces. You’re going to be managing everything.

This is a ton of work for a single person to deal with, especially if you’re just opening, and people are checking you out for the first time, or you’re starting to grow, and things are just getting busier and busier. Never underestimate how much work is needed to run a coworking space.

An image showing people working with a lap top in a coworking space

If you want to work for yourself and manage everything solo, then you probably need to restrict how much you’re offering while keeping your business small and manageable. Don’t try and overextend yourself because every aspect of your business will suffer as a result.

Instead, when it gets to a point where you do want to grow, it’s time to think about getting yourself some partners and implementing technology to automate access and all routine tasks, such as room bookings and membership plans. This will make the job of running a coworking space much easier.

If you can get a good team and coworking software behind you, then the sky is the limit for what your coworking space will be able to achieve.

4. Neglecting Collaborations With Other Operators

While this may seem counterproductive to your business, linking up and partnering with other coworking spaces is a great idea for many reasons. Not just when you’re opening up but also as you grow. Having space where you can send clients to and can receive clients from can be hugely beneficial for numbers.

What’s more, your coworking space may have a great meeting room area, whereas other coworking spaces could have printing facilities for people to use. Instead of not being able to offer these services, you can partner up and allow your clients to have the best experience all around. This is a great way to build loyalty and a happy customer base.

An image showing two people shaking hands in agreement

On the other hand, you can partner up with coworking spaces in other countries. If you know or you think you might have the potential to have clients who will travel abroad to work, having the opportunity for people to interact with and use coworking spaces in other countries could be hugely beneficial to them.

There are a few ways you can set this up, either by directly contacting coworking spaces and developing a partnership this way or by using programs like Visa Coworking which can help you connect with the right coworking spaces and handle everything in a clear way using a standardized system.

Connecting with foreign coworking spaces can also be incredibly profitable when done right, and this is a whole other article in itself, so watch this space.

5. Underestimating the Impact of Interior Design

There’s no denying that you’ve put a lot of thought and effort into the interior design of your coworking space, and if you haven’t, then you’ve already made a mistake in its purest form. However, not spending enough time on it, but focusing on marketing or getting the right equipment, can also be a very big mistake.

You need to cover the basics, such as your coworking space being a pleasant and enjoyable place for people. Your clients should be eager to go to your space. That's hard to accomplish with just another white-washed space that looks like every other office stock photo.

An image of two people discussing showing the importance of coworking space interior design

It also needs to be welcoming and inviting, especially if your meeting rooms are where your clients are going to bring their clients and they want to impress them. However, all of these points are just the minimum standard you should be aiming for.

If you want to be the best and offer the best experience possible, you want to be unique and creative with outside-the-box interior design ideas. Ideally, coworking spaces should be light and airy, and there needs to feel like there’s room to breathe. No one wants to be cooped up in little pens next to other people.

This means getting lots of natural light, lots of windows, and lots of places for fresh air to enter. Many of the best coworking spaces will also have an emphasis on plants and greenery to add a touch of nature to their space, which can provide a whole range of benefits for both your space and the people working in it.

Finally, you can think about the design aspects of the space. Are you going to offer plain, distraction-free walls, or are you going to make them colorful and interesting for people to look at? It’s all up to you and the kind of environment you want to create, so think about your branding and the type of clients you’re going to get first, and then think about what kind of approach you’re going to take.


As you can see, there are plenty of mistakes you need to avoid when it comes to designing, planning, managing, and opening your coworking space. None of them are really that hard to address, but without focusing on them, you could miss out on the opportunity to make your coworking space a really fantastic business.

Of course, no business owner wants that, so make sure you’re taking your time to think outside the box, do your research, and take time to get some inspiration to help you make the right decisions that can help your coworking business succeed in the best way possible.

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