Coworking space

6 Ways to Automate in Your Coworking Space

Automating your coworking space can streamline operations, enhance member experiences, and optimize resource allocation for increased efficiency and productivity.

Coworking space owners and community managers are all too familiar with the feeling that there isn’t enough time in the day, week, or month to accomplish everything they need to get done. Every coworking space has countless daily tasks that wind up on the to-do list – like welcoming new members, processing room bookings, and answering questions about policies or printers. 

Automation is a popular buzzword, but it’s intimidating! Many owners and community managers are afraid to replace manual tasks with automation either because it seems too complicated to set up and keep running or a fear that automation will remove that personal touch that makes their coworking space unique. 

Having successfully put automation to work in my own spaces and helped dozens of other coworking owners do the same through my coworking agency – I know that automation can improve nearly every aspect of a coworking space. More importantly, automation will give you more time and space – a member interruption to chat no longer fills you with a feeling of dread that it will derail your entire day. 

By strategically automating routine tasks, coworking spaces can not only become more efficient but also focus on what truly matters: building and nurturing a thriving community, with more work/life balance, more time for priorities, and more room to scale and grow.

Overwhelm Leads to Inaction

Coworking spaces thrive on community, and since they’re physical spaces located here on planet Earth there’s often a ton of routine tasks that require daily, weekly, and monthly attention by a real live human being. 

CMs and owners are often the front line dealing with the onslaught of new and ongoing tasks. Whether it’s onboarding new members, handling inquiries, managing bookings, or ensuring the space meets the community’s needs with events, coffee, and upkeep – these are just the tip of the iceberg. These essential tasks take up a lot of time – the one thing we can’t make more of – and take away from priorities, strategic planning, and member engagement. This creates that creeping feeling of overwhelm and burnout. 

Besides the sheer mountain of work, many coworking space owners believe that the personalized nature of what happens in a space cannot be automated. This belief, coupled with hard-to-understand automation tools and a lack of resources to add more expenses to the P&L, leads to a fear of automation and owners dig themselves even deeper with a slate of never-ending time-consuming manual tasks.

The Consequences of Inaction

While it’s tempting to believe you can do it all – there are many long-term repercussions of not automating routine tasks. The essence of what makes a coworking space truly special—its community and the individualized service—can be compromised if we fail to automate certain processes.

  • Member Churn:  As your space grows and expands as a result of your efforts, the personalized attention that once set your space apart becomes harder to sustain. This diminishing service quality can lead to dissatisfaction among members, which may eventually result in their departure.

  • Burnout: Without automation, you’re relying on beautiful brains to start and finish all these tasks. Relying on a limited number of individuals is not sustainable in the long term. This overreliance can lead to high staff turnover or burnout, affecting the well-being of the team and the overall atmosphere of the space.

  • Stunted Growth: Without the ability to efficiently scale operations through automation, coworking spaces face significant hurdles in growth. The inability to expand services, manage increasing member numbers, or open new locations without compromising service quality can halt progress.

  • Knowledge Bottlenecks: When only one person knows how to do everything that needs to be done in your coworking space, it creates a bottleneck. If they leave, get sick, or any other unforeseen issue happens – this dependency can lead to total chaos in their absence, affecting your ability to run your space and respond to member needs promptly.

Harriet’s Journey from Manual Overload to Automation

Let’s take a look at one of the real-world examples of a coworking space community manager we worked with at Space Savvy Studio

Harriet, like many community managers, prided herself on the personal touch she brought to her coworking space. She knew all the member names–and even their kids’ names! She loved handling onboarding meetings, manually triaging every request for event space, and even booking members’ meeting rooms for them. Not only did she think it was just “easiest” for her to do it herself, she believed it was essential to “getting it right.” 

This dedication (while coming from the right place!) made her oblivious to the inefficiencies and limitations she was facing. As the space grew, so did the volume of tasks, leaving Harriet tied to her laptop, consumed by administrative work and constant interruptions, and inadvertently neglecting her biggest priorities. 

As the coworking space continued to attract new members, the manual processes began to buckle under the pressure of increased demand. Onboarding new members became a bottleneck, booking conflicts arose, and responding to inquiries in a timely manner became harder and harder.

Harriet found herself spending more time managing tasks than interacting with members, a shift that not only affected her job satisfaction but also the overall community vibe. The personal touch she valued so much was being lost in the sea of tasks.

When Space Savvy Studio began working with Harriet, we identified her priorities as well as which repetitive tasks could be automated without sacrificing the personal touch. There is always low-hanging fruit to automate — not everything must be a complicated Zapier dance! 

Within a few weeks, the impact of automation was visible and profound. With the piles of routine tasks automated, Harriet was able to redirect her focus towards revenue-generating priorities like private office sales, as well as member engagement and fostering a vibrant community. 

The 6 Best Workflows to Automate in Your Coworking Space 

While many things can be automated, the following list is a great place to start. Once you’ve had some success with automating the basics, you can progress to identifying more blockers and automate even more tasks from your workload.

Project Management Tools 
When working by yourself or even with a team, the paper to-do lists can get very messy, very fast. Start using project management software to organize tasks efficiently, read in other team members on what’s happening, make sure nothing is overlooked, and free up time for strategic planning. 

Many of these tools can integrate directly with your email inbox for quick task creation. Suddenly, you have an organized to-do list, tons of visibility into every corner of your space, and the ability to triage and delegate all in a collaborative environment. Plus you have the historical data all in one place if you need to look back on a task, and can flex your copy/paste skills — the original tech automation. Bonus: you can set up task templates for tasks that happen often.

Automated Onboarding
When A new member signs up through your website or space management software – implement an email drip campaign to welcome them, providing them with all the necessary information to access and get started in your space. New member information includes basic house rules, where to park, and how to use the member portal. This ensures that new members (and visitors!) have the information they need as soon as they need it — rather than the staff needing to be available round-the-clock.  

Centralized Ticketing System
Use your space management software to integrate a ticketing system, streamlining member issues and requests, and ensuring quick and organized responses. Direct members to open tickets for all requests, issues, questions, and feedback. With this system in place, your members will no longer need to track you down, and they won’t deal with the guilt of interrupting you again and again.

You can devise a system and cadence that works for you when it comes to how to process these tickets – and even make sure that “urgent” tickets get efficiently escalated. This might require “retraining” members about the new system. And be cautious about providing a quick fix at the moment – most things that seem urgent aren’t as urgent as they might appear. Plus, these tickets can be answered from anywhere – opening up the option for you to “work from home” or hire a remote VA providing even more premium service to your community.

Booking Automation
Facilitate easy access to meeting rooms and workspaces with automated booking systems, making it even easier for members and non-members to book rooms. Many space software have good integrations, making it a seamless experience from payment to directions and door access.

🔔 Pro Tip: Create and use templates or an automatic email campaign to respond to new bookings – with directions, how-to information, parking, and more.

Outsourced Call Management
Employ a professional answering service to be the “front line” and manage calls, ensuring no member or prospective member feels neglected, while also allowing your team to concentrate on in-person interactions and other tasks. You can set up a customized system that’s specific to your needs – members can be directed to open tickets to get assistance, tours can be booked, calls can be transferred, and sales inquiry information is taken down for follow-up by an internal team member.

Plug-and-Play Amenities Integration
Leverage technology for amenities like printing (ezeep) and mail management (Pilotomail). With these types of tools you can give access to printing or managing mail without installing weird computer drivers or being the on-demand tech support. Having these amenities built into your tech stack helps improve member experience (who doesn’t love a seamless printing experience?), and generate additional revenue. 

The Impact of Automation: Peace of Mind, Satisfaction, and Growth

Ultimately, using automation changes the game in several wonderful ways:

  • Happier Members: Quick, smooth services mean members are more satisfied. They’re likely to stick around and recommend your space to others.
  • Growth Without the Growing Pains: Automation lets your space expand without the need to spend much more or hire a lot of people. It means your team has more quality time for building genuine connections.
  • More Money, Less Waste: Automated systems help you find new revenue opportunities and make the most of what you already have. With the time you save, you can focus on enhancing your business even further.
  • Your Peace and Happiness: Less rushing and fewer tasks on your plate means a calmer, happier you. Enjoy the peace of running your business without the constant juggle, allowing you to focus on what truly matters.

Ready to get your time and mental space back and automate manual tasks in your coworking space?

If you’re ready to transform your coworking space with effective automation strategies, I’m here to guide you. For a limited time, I’m offering a free strategy session to help you identify key areas for automation in your space and develop a tailored implementation plan to get you there. Book your session now.

Abigail Schilling Bio

Abigail Schilling is a seasoned coworking space expert — and your personal competitive advantage as you build and grow your own space. With over twenty years in leadership with expertise in business and marketing, and as the owner/operator of three coworking spaces in Oregon, she saw firsthand the struggles facing coworking space operators. 

Abigail founded Space Savvy Studio, a coworking operations agency offering services like administrative support, marketing, and custom tech solutions, focusing on improving operations and member experiences in coworking spaces. Known for her strategic vision and dynamic leadership, she is committed to empowering others in the coworking industry with her experience and creative solutions.

About PilotoMail

PilotoMail is a mail management platform that creates recurring revenue streams for mailrooms through postal mail handling automation, and virtual mailboxes for the remote workforce. Property managers, coworking spaces, mail centers & registered agents can handle large volumes of mail efficiently, comply with all postal regulations, and increase revenue from their existing footprint effortlessly.

Don't put off the most sustainable path toward profitability. Request a Demo with one of our mail experts below.