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Coworking spaces are taking off around the world as economies open up in the wake of COVID-19. Coworking spaces offer small businesses, contractors, and entrepreneurs a place to work and mix with others in a positive and productive environment. New Zealand is no different, with lots of successful coworking spaces around the country. However, it is not always easy to get a coworking space off the ground. This article sets out three tips to remember when starting a new coworking space business, including:

  • thinking about your lease agreement; 
  • being strategic about businesses you are targeting; and 
  • setting expectations around etiquette.  

Think About Your Lease Agreement

Of course, in a coworking space, your premises are all important. Your clients and customers are coming to work in a particular space. Likewise, you need to take care that you have everything legally and contractually sorted to ensure that the space is secure for your business. 

Usually, you will be leasing commercial premises to launch your coworking space. You should take the lease agreement seriously and ensure that you receive all of the flexibility and freedom you need to take the premises and turn it into a thriving coworking environment.

Engaging a commercial or property lawyer to review your lease agreement can save you headaches down the line. You should also think carefully about the length of the lease and the rent review details in particular. You want to determine whether it will be sustainable to hold the premises for a sufficient period of time. Likewise, you do not want to be in a position where you cannot offer your coworking clients any security or long-term confirmation that they will be able to work from your premises for a reasonable period. 

Be Strategic About What Businesses to Attract

You should be strategic about what businesses you are looking to attract into your coworking space. It is also crucial to consider how you will design the space accordingly. Different coworking spaces have very different atmospheres and designs, attracting different kinds of businesses and people looking for a space to work. 

You should think this through in advance rather than let your own space’s style develop organically. Important details like the decor of the space and the pricing details of your coworking business will affect what kinds of customers you end up having in your business. 

Additionally, keep in mind what you are trying to achieve with your coworking business more generally. If you are looking to scale up the business drastically, expand premises and have a growth mindset, this may affect the businesses you seek as clients in a coworking space. For instance, you may want to sign long-term agreements to ensure reliable income from larger businesses rather than embrace a more eclectic mix of single individuals and workers. It really depends on what you are looking for in your coworking business journey.

Set Clear Expectations Around Etiquette

Coworking spaces are often fantastic spaces to work, bringing together a great mix of networking and productivity. However, you should take steps in your coworking business to ensure that there are still clear principles and rules around etiquette. Think about what behaviour is unacceptable and what you do not want to allow in your business. Further, commit these rules to paper and, ideally, in a place where all coworking customers can see. 

In a coworking space business, it is critical to your business success that other businesses want to work in your space and feel good to be there. Otherwise, they will quite literally up and leave your business. In that context, it is vital to be clear about behaviours and rules. These can change depending on the context, as well. If your clientele is relatively formal, you may want to have a rule against rude language and swearing. On the other hand, this conduct might be acceptable in another, more casual, coworking context. 

Key Takeaways

There are several considerations when you are starting a coworking space business in New Zealand. Firstly, you should ensure that your premises are going to be commercially sustainable for your business in terms of cost, and that the terms of the agreement offer your business enough flexibility and security. You should also think carefully about what businesses you would like to attract to your space. Finally, you should set clear expectations and rules about how people should behave in your space.

If you would like more information about setting up a new coworking space business in New Zealand, contact LegalVision’s business lawyers on 0800 005 570 or complete the form on this page.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you need to own the premises to run a coworking business?

No, you do not. Many coworking space businesses are through commercial leases.

What is a lease agreement?

A lease agreement will set out the terms and conditions of your lease of property. In the commercial lease context for a coworking space, lease agreements are essential as they provide the rules and conditions for your tenure of the premises.

How do you set clear expectations in a coworking environment?

You should have clear rules and expectations that you communicate to all people who work in the space. You can achieve this through an introductory briefing, a document that you circulate or display around the space, or a combination of different means.

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