Coworking office security for the shared office revolution

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Coworking spaces are becoming the new norm – so much so that over 1,000 new coworking spaces opened in the United States in 2018 alone. Now, even dog-friendly coworking spaces are easy to find. Many companies are using coworking spaces to stay competitive and attract the best employees, as well as to skyrocket the productivity of their teams.

Coworking spaces provide all the amenities of an office like board and meeting rooms, printers and presentation equipment, computers and internet services, and the ubiquitous coffee station and water cooler, without the long-term rental contracts. If you’re switching over to a shared office space (or even just want to make your office feel like a coworking space), it is imperative that you keep your coworking managers happy. Here are a few ways you can give your team the tools they need to succeed.

Provide Coworking Security

The first step in managing a successful coworking offer is to create a safe space for employees and customers. If you have a coworking space, you’ve probably experienced frustration when it comes to your coworking office security. Granting secure and seamless access to your ever-changing membership list of tenants and guests is essential. But logistically-speaking, it’s a nightmare. Members lose their key fobs, forget their pin codes, and can’t even remember the Wi-Fi password. This requires constant management on your end, and who has time for that? 

There are a few different options when it comes to coworking office security, and you want to make sure that the system you implement is frictionless for both you and your tenants.

On-Site Security Staff

Hiring on-site security staff is a common way to control access to a coworking space – but it’s also the most expensive and management intensive. For 24/7 access, you’ll need to pay and supervise a staff of employees.

One benefit of hiring a team of on-site personnel is that they help the office space run smoothly and make sure the tenants have the amenities they expect to be readily available: keep the kitchen stocked with snacks, brew coffee throughout the day, clean the facilities and coordinate access for visiting guests who need to meet with your members; they can also collect payments. But with all of those tasks on their plate, automating tasks like managing access credentials could be a huge time-saver.

Keypad Entry Systems

A PIN code locking system is the cheapest access solution. You can use a mechanical keypad lock or a modern touchpad lock that you remotely set from a smartphone. With a keypad system, it’s easy to distribute and update the PIN code by email, perhaps on a monthly basis.

The main drawback with keypad security systems is the lack of monitoring and the hackability. Members can give the PIN code to as many friends as they want, and you won’t know who is entering and exiting. Distributing new keycodes by email or text is not only insecure, but could also cause problems if members don’t get the message.

RFID Key Fob Access

RFID (radio frequency identification) systems are often used for controlling access to small coworking spaces. Whether your system uses a key fob or wallet-friendly keycard, members can come and go as they please 24 hours a day. If someone doesn’t pay their dues or cancels a membership, you can revoke RFID access remotely from a centralized hub.

The biggest drawbacks of an RFID system are that members can give their key fobs to friends, and the key fobs themselves are easily copied. Although you can see which key fobs are entering, you won’t know who is actually using the key fob. Even worse, members are prone to losing their key fobs and access cards, which adds costs both in physical replacements, and time spent reconfiguring new key fobs. Although RFID key fob access is more secure than a keypad entry system, it requires a lot of energy to manage. 

Keyless Entry & Remote Access Control

A keyless access control system with cloud-based management software that you can control remotely, like the one provided by Openpath, gives you more flexibility when it comes to door access control. With so many disparate people coming and going, a top-notch access control system is a must, and being able to configure it from anywhere means you can grant or restrict access to anyone no matter where you are in the world.

For coworking access control that combines the best of both worlds – security and convenience – Openpath offers intelligent coworking security that lets members enter and exit the coworking space with their smartphones. Your coworking managers won’t have to worry about keys, key cards or fobs, they can simply grant access to new members through an app. Plus with Openpath’s wave to unlock technology, members can conveniently access your coworking spaces hands-free without compromising security. Members simply tap the “Unlock” button from the app on their smartphone or wave their hand in front of the reader while the phone is in their pocket or purse to open the door.

Smartphone access offers greater security than key fob access; it’s highly encrypted, and most members will not readily give out their smartphones to friends. Openpath’s customizable system also works with Apple watches and tablets, as well as traditional key cards or fobs when required.

The visitor receives a text or email with a clickable link that allows them to come and go for the amount of time specified by you, without needing to download the app. And the administrator can monitor who is coming and going from their property in real-time with full control.

Openpath’s cloud-based software is also great for coworking office managers that oversee operations for multiple locations. You can access all your properties from a centralized control hub for different buildings – or different cities – throughout the world. There’s no need to manage or install local software on a server inside each building. Plus, Openpath keeps working even when the internet goes down.

Implement Good Design

Stuffy corporate offices with cubicles segregating employees at their desks can actually deter top talent, especially when it comes to coworking arrangements. Opting for a more fluid shared workspace that puts flexibility and frictionless coworking security systems first can attract better candidates and tenants, and keep your managers happy.

Modernize & Update

The ideal coworking space is not only optimized for productivity, but looks great. Nobody wants to have an important meeting in a boring, plain office. And that first impression starts at the door. If the first thing your tenants (and their guests) see is a clunky PIN pad or outdated keycard reader, you should consider updating your shared office space security to smart readers, like Openpath’s Smart Readers. Getting the latest equipment is key. Everything from computers and printers to presentation equipment for the board room should be state-of-the-art, and a fast internet connection will keep your customers and coworking managers happy. 

Don’t forget about the basics, too. Research shows that natural light and views of the outdoors are what workers crave most in an office space, and that plants reduce stress, improve indoor air quality, and increase productivity by up to 15 percent. Providing plants and bright, open windows will create a happier workplace.

Switch to the Cloud

With cloud-based software, coworking managers can rest assured that software is automatically updated to protect against security threats. Using a cloud-based coworking access control system avoids the costs associated with traditional server-based systems while providing greater security.

Your coworking managers are valuable members of your team. On average, it costs 20 percent of their annual salary to replace employees in mid-range positions and up to 213 percent of their annual salary for executive employees. Giving your coworking managers the tools they need to succeed can help to improve your staff retention which will save money in the long run.

Go Green

Promoting sustainability in your coworking spaces will help to reduce costs and your carbon footprint. Many employees favor companies that care about the environment. Save money and reduce your carbon footprint by creating recycling stations in your coworking spaces. Use teaspoons and coffee mugs rather than disposable items. Use eco-friendly cleaners to reduce your impact on the environment and improve indoor air quality. Your customers and coworking managers will appreciate your efforts to reduce your carbon footprint.

Create Social Spaces

Coworking spaces provide a unique environment for employees to network with a more diverse group of professionals. Creating social spaces where your coworking customers can enjoy a beverage and connect with other professionals away from the work areas will foster a healthy, interactive experience for clients and coworking managers alike.

Emulate a Coworking Experience

Even if you’re not working in a true shared office space, the benefits of coworking are hard to ignore. In fact, cites that employees who utilize a coworking space showed 74% higher productivity, and an over 66% increase in their creativity and collaboration. Here are a few ways to promote similar improvements in your current office. 

  • Increase flexible work arrangements: Employers are increasing flexibility for their employees through flexible schedules, so team members can come and go as they please. They are incorporating compressed workweeks of less than five days, job-sharing arrangements and other perks. Some are adding different work locations within the city and giving employees the option to work from any location.

  • Create open seating plans: Many employers are saying goodbye to the cubicle maze by setting up an open seating plan. Team members can move around to different desks, large tables, desks, sofas and “collaboration areas” while doing their jobs. Here are some great ideas to consider for open seating.

  • Install tech that promotes collaboration: Install tech that promotes collaboration: With employees working remotely and spread across different offices (perhaps even around the world), coworking-friendly employers equip their team members with a suite of collaboration-friendly tools that include video conferencing, live chat, video creation, project management, and more.

Key Takeaways

WIth the increasing need for secure coworking environments, all shared office managers should put security and flexibility first. Providing modern amenities and top-notch technology keeps your coworking office space attractive to new businesses. Updating your coworking access control system to a cloud-based option like Openpath is a great way to make sure you’re protecting your facility and tenants, but also optimizing your management capabilities with frictionless coworking security design.

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