Security in Shared Workspaces: Necessity or Business Enabler?

These days everyone wants an open, “loft-like” space with many open concept areas, even in common work areas. Once the space is designed openly, the question is how to secure it. No one wants to work in a space where they can’t grab a coffee without locking up their MacBook.

Security in Shared Workspaces: Necessity or Business Enabler?
A laptop lock might be useful for workspaces that are not well secured or for those that leave the main door unlocked.

Why Coworking Spaces Need Access Control

The reasons to invest in door security are to guarantee member satisfaction and to attract more demanding members, who feel safe in the space. Most space operators have the following requirements when it comes to door access security:

  • The security system needs to allow 24/7 access because that’s what members pay for.
  • The access control needs to be remote manageable, since the space owner is not always on-site. If something happens in the space, you need to be able to quickly check access logs (even from mobile) and delete audit rights, if needed.
  • It needs to be easy to operate by local community managers and shouldn't require much maintenance.

These all seem like very standard security requirements that are not necessarily specific to coworking spaces, or the shared workspace industry, in general. They are typically satisfied by going with a cloud-based access control system with a mobile access component. The first step is to get a quote for the system and installation.

However, there are more specific requirements emerging in order to secure shared workspaces. The interesting aspect about these emerging requirements is that security systems, like access control, can turn into a business enabler. Let’s go through some of the reasons:

  • Cloud-based access control systems connect door access to your member CRM (like Nexudus, Optix, Cobot, OfficeRnD). The reason why you want to do that is to make your space truly on-demand bookable. Imagine someone booking a desk for a day or a week online, they can already have the key on their phone before they arrive. No waiting in front of the door, no awkward running out of key cards, no community manager that has to be there when a new member chooses to arrive. Call this automated access control—a new member is in your CRM, they get access, they cancel their membership, access rights are automatically revoked.
  • The next big topic is member experience. Most spaces are looking to differentiate by providing a better experience than you would get in one of the largest coworking spaces, like WeWork. Many coworking CRM’s provide white-label apps for members that you can brand with your own logo, colors and name of the space. Why not have an app that allows you to book rooms, send help requests, and meet other members, but also allows you to unlock doors? This is how it looks for Platform 24, a workspace in Carmel, Indiana that has its app configured for a branded entry experience:
Security in Shared Workspaces: Necessity or Business Enabler?
  • The most surprising reason why coworking operators choose better access control is that they can make more revenue with the same amount of space. Imagine being able to provide credits for meeting rooms and when the membership trial is over, you can start charging for booked meeting rooms. Another example: If you know a few memberships expire, or you have open desks, run a campaign to your email list and tell them you’ll give away a few weekly passes for the next week. You can then easily send them the key to their smartphone and hopefully some of them will be convinced and become paying members.
  • Reduce non-member walk-ins: Did you know 30 percent of people in your space are not actually paying?

As mentioned earlier in the article, here are a few examples of shared workspaces that have been using Kisi, a cloud-based access control system, to go beyond the normal access control card experience in their spaces:

  • The Farm Soho simplifies workflows with integrated access control.
  • Work Heights uses Kisi to keep its community secure.
  • The Yard streamlines operations and saves on overhead with modern access control.

If you’d like to check out the possibilities or have questions about how it could work for your space, Kisi provides discounted pricing for shared workspaces and communities. You can get a quote here.

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