Security is a crucial consideration when you open a coworking space because different types of coworkers are looking for a variety of amenities. This can make your security decisions fairly difficult but once you have defined the type of member (and a coworking model), your security choice will be easy.

It’s imperative to decide who you are building your coworking space for before choosing a security system.

Consider these types of coworker personas and their needs before planning your office security:

 

Digital Nomad

This person is a short-term member who typically frequents larger cities. They will work and live from anywhere and prefer to be on the move. If you focus on this type of member for your coworking space you will have frequent turnover to manage.

Their access needs: These members prefer daily or “pass” memberships which means you’ll need someone at the coworking space at all times to manage them (if you allow them 24/7 access). Digital nomads work remotely meaning they will rarely have clients or non-members visiting them at the coworking space.

Work From Home Professional

This person is a mid-term member who will be found in any sized city. They often work from home and have settled into a living situation nearby the coworking space. Work from home professionals are looking to separate their home and work life. This member will be looking for flexibility in their membership but will commit to a monthly model because they will want to bring in some of their belongings to the space (computer, chair, etc).

Their access needs: The work from home professional will want 24/7 access and will also want to know the items they leave at the space are safe and secure. This member will mostly work remotely. They will also host clients and visitors 1-3 times a month, on a less-frequent basis.

Entrepreneur

Having entrepreneurs at your coworking space is your greatest asset. These are long-term members who will participate in your community and can be found in any sized city. They work on-the-go and tend to travel frequently but they are in need of a “home-base”, much like the work from home professional. These people also tend to live near the coworking space and are in need of flexibility. Most successful entrepreneurs will appreciate and understand a long-term vision (if you have one) and will participate in your community.

Their access needs: They will want 24/7 access to the coworking space and will most likely desire an office to customize. Entrepreneurs will work remotely, on-site and will utilize the coworking space by frequently having guests, clients and visitors, potentially 1-3 per week (or more).

Member Security Needs and Options

A coworking ecosystem considers, welcomes, and embraces all of these types of people, yet an all-inclusive model comes with many challenges because each one of these groups require different needs. If you decide to cater to one of these working groups please see the security options below that will be most ideal for them and your entire community. If you decide to build your coworking space on an all-inclusive model (highly-recommended) you will most likely need to consider a blend of all of these security options.

Digital Nomad

Work from home professional

  • Locked doors with 24/7 access
  • Fob/key/card software (stores and tracks movement)
  • Easy on demand door access via smartphone
  • Conference room access
  • Video monitoring
  • Lockable storage for personal items
  • Minimal guest access

Entrepreneur

  • Locked doors with 24/7 access
  • Fob/key/card software (stores and tracks movement)
  • Easy on demand door access via smartphone
  • Conference room access
  • Video monitoring
  • Lockable storage for personal items
  • Frequent guest access

 

Case Study Carlson Cowork and Port 100 – Focus on Entrepreneur Persona

At Carlson Cowork and Port 100 (coworking spaces that I’ve co-founded) we are focused on generating a community of people that encompasses all of the member personas I’ve outlined. In both instances we have decided against daily passes so we can build stronger community bonds and relationships. This format does not typically cater to digital nomads although we do have a few in our mix. Our commitment to long-term sustainability means that we only offer monthly memberships. This poses a security challenge that we have solved by offering 24/7 access through a key fob system.

Security at Carlson Cowork and Port 100: The doors of the coworker are locked and anytime someone uses their fob it is logged in our system. We also have security cameras because many of our members bring their personal belongings to put at their designated monthly spaces. If visitors come to meet with a member the member is asked to communicate with that person and is responsible for them during their visit. We have no need for a receptionist because we’ve eliminated the daily options to purposefully build community bonds.

Do members ever complain about security cameras?

I’ve been asked this question and understand that security cameras can have a negative connotation when it comes to invasion of personal privacy. However, they are wonderful tools to use when establishing a safe community for individuals who are keeping their personal belongings in a semi-public space. At the coworking spaces I’ve helped co-found no one has ever complained about the security cameras in the space. We have also had many events with 100+ guests and have not had to use the security cameras to identify theft or negative conduct in any circumstance. We have created a safe culture where people respect one another’s personal property and security cameras help to reinforce it.

Below are some other brief security considerations;

  • Proper lighting will give people a better sense of safety (especially at night).
  • A safe location will have the same positive effect as lighting.
  • In emergencies it is critical to have a property-manager on call and will help members know there is always someone to help, if needed.
  • Many new business owners haven’t thought of obtaining business insurance and coworking gives them an opportunity to begin to understand some of their responsibilities and liabilities.
  • If a member loses keys, key cards, or fobs be sure you have a way to deactivate them and a system in place for replacing (potentially fining the member) when an access device is lost.
  • Lockers are great for people to temporarily store personal items in a safe place.

 

Get Kisi - Modern Access Control For Coworking SpacesSecurity is important

Coworking will continue to be a mainstream option for many different types of people who are interested in growing their businesses. Many effective coworking models cater to different types of individuals which makes it such an appealing option for office space and organic networking. That same flexibility that makes coworking so beneficial is also what makes it somewhat difficult to keep secure.

When deciding on the types of security to have at your coworking space remember to identify the types of coworker personas you’ll cater to and keep it simple (using the tips in this article).

Thank you to Patrizia Kuehn and Bernhard Mehl at Kisi for their inspiration and contributions to this article – Powerful & Reliable Door Control