Be prepared because we’re going to tell you all about co-working spaces for events! So, be honest – how many times have you actually considered getting a space where people can work at your events? And we’re not talking about hotel rooms or random empty spaces. No, we’re talking about a room that’s specifically tailored for this. If you haven’t that’s fair. But we’re about to let you know why this might be something you want to consider.
And who better than our amazing host Will Curran to walk through this? As a remote worker and event professional, Will knows everything about the ins and outs of co-working spaces. And he’s ready to share all of his wisdom about co-working spaces for events. So press play, it’s time for another episode of Whiteboard Wednesday!
Co-Working Spaces For Events: Why You Need One Right Now – Video Transcription
Hey, what’s up, everybody? Will Curran from Endless Events, back with another Whiteboard Wednesday. And today we’re talking about why your event needs a coworking space. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m a remote worker, or because I spend a lot of time at conferences or both. But I’ve always felt that you need co-working spaces for events. And you might be thinking to yourself, well, of course, I always have space for people to work in. Or if people need to work, they can go back to their hotel rooms, whatever it may be.
Well, what I’m going to do is share with you a specific reason why I believe you need to design and create a coworking space at your event. Again, this is primarily targeted towards conferences, meetings, things like that. And a lot of larger-scale ones. Obviously, if you have a 50 person meeting, you might not need to make a whole coworking space, because that might be just a little excessive for your size meeting. But those thousand-person conferences, 500 person conferences, this is going to be great for.
Why Co-Working Spaces For Events?
You’re at an event, you are getting ready to enjoy all the sessions and everything like that. You go to a bunch of sessions and you realize: “Man, this just isn’t good. I’m going to walk out. I need to get some space. And you know what? I have so many emails to get to, or have a client call to get to, that sort of stuff.” Well, what ends up happening a lot of times is that we ended up posting up against the wall, or around the corner, or going into an empty room if it’s available. Or if the worst comes to worst, we end up going all the way back to our hotel rooms because we know it’s going to be quiet there.
This is not good, because that completely removes you from the event. And you’re not going to be able to enjoy it. In fact, you’re going to feel very physically disconnected from it.
Change It Up!
So what I’m proposing is, for you to create some sort of coworking space inside of your event. So for example, in this case, it’s right by the registration area, right? Or it’s right outside the general session, or it’s really, really close nearby.
So then that way when someone wants to get some work done, they can pop in real quick, get some work done, and then pop out again really fast, in order to get the work done and get back into the event. And pick up right where they left off. So you’re on board, you say, “Yep, so many attendees these days are remote workers, or so many people have to get work done. I don’t want them to remove themselves and go all the way back to the hotel room. How can I create this coworking space?”
How To Create Co-Working Spaces For Events
Well, I’m coming right at you with some tips right now for how you can make an awesome coworking space for your event. So let’s dive right on in. So here are the must-haves as we go through it. Your coworking space should have these sorts of things. There’s a lot of nice to haves, but these are definitely the must-haves, that you have to have in co-working spaces for events.
Get Them With The Internet!
The first thing is fast wifi. This is kind of obvious, right? We need to make sure that everyone can hop on, download the files they need, all that sort of stuff. Or if they have to do some video conferencing, that’s okay. So what I recommend, at least 10 megabit per second internet connection. I found that when I am working somewhere where remotely, 10 megabits per second is fast enough for me to download files, get things done, everything like that. But it’s not necessarily too fast where it’s going to cost you an arm and a leg for all of your attendees to be able to have a 10 megabit per second.
And what I’m talking about, that connection I’m talking about, the attendee has the ability to hit that speed and that bandwidth. Not necessarily 10 megabits per second shared across a hundred users. So fast wifi, we want to make sure that we have that. It’s very, very common. Especially because people have to do video conferences a lot of times when they’re doing coworking.
The Power…Of The Outlets!
Next thing is outlets, lots and lots of outlets. We want to make sure you have power for anyone who needs to plug in a laptop, their phone, whatever they need to plugin. You want to make sure they do it. And far too often, a lot of these co-working spaces for events or charging stations, we just have USB ports. This is not okay. Because a lot of people are obviously when they’re working, they need to get on their laptops. Also, there’s a lot of security concerns around USB ports now. But also a lot of times I find when I’m plugging into a USB port built into furniture, it doesn’t charge as fast as my phone charger does. So give people full outlets, lots and lots of outlets. And if you’re doing an international event, make sure these are the power strips or the power outlets, that have one of every single type of outlet in it. So literally they can just plug in and go, and it automatically converts and everything like that.
Co-Working Spaces For Events Need To Be Close By
All right. Next thing that you have to have, when I mentioned is, it has to be really, really close. Have it preferably inside of your venue. So then that way people can get in and get out very, very quickly and be very, very closely attended to the event. What’s also great about this is even though it’s a coworking space, we’re not talking about just a quirking space or a silence space. You want the ability for people to work together. And so I’ve had it many a times where I’ve seen people who are knocking out emails, or you’re getting calls done, and I know them, and I’m like, “Oh hey, hey, is it okay if I join you? Can I sit down and get some work done with you?” It creates that social interaction, and allows people to still mingle, and so those spontaneous moments to happen, but it is still a working space that people can be inside of.
What About The Noise?
All right, so next thing is, this idea of quietness and this is a preference, I would say. And this is probably maybe more so me, because I do a lot of client calls and a lot of sales calls. But I want a space that is quiet, so then that way I can make a call, no problem, without having a lot of noises, music things like that. But not quiet enough, where if I make a call and it’s dead quiet in that room, it’s going to disturb someone else. I know, it’s this fine line of, quiet but not too quiet. Right? And obviously maybe the way you can break this up is by having different layers. For example, the way one room is pitch quiet for people that need to be laser-focused. Maybe you do allow room for people who are working and talking and meeting. And maybe like an in-between for phone calls. Ah, who knows? But definitely make sure that’s quiet enough but not too quiet.
Sit ‘Em Down
And last, make sure that you have mixed seating. Far too often I’ve seen in spaces like this, where it’s just couches and coffee tables. What ends up happening is I am hunching over the couch and working on the coffee table. Not fun at all. So you want to make sure that you have a little mixture of everything. We’re going to talk about some examples of seating in just a second with our example floor plan.
Some Extras In Co-Working Spaces For Events
So there is your must-haves. There’s a lot of other things that you can have that would make this very cool. So for example snacks, sure makes it cool. Having water nearby, so they know they don’t have to go all to the coffee shop. Making sure there’s a bathroom. So then that way if they leave their laptop, they don’t feel they have to leave very far with it. There’s a bunch of other things. But these are kind of the must-haves that are going to get you 90% of the people happy and make sure that they’re ready to go.
So what does this space look like? Well, I think one of the greatest spaces that I’ve ever seen this in person is at the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. At the Sands Expo Center, I believe this area is actually not sponsored by any event. It is literally an area put up by the venue, and sponsored by Court furniture. And it’s literally a glass-walled room.
So we kind of drew what that looks like right here. So what’s cool about this is it’s really, really close to the expo floor, and it allows people to get in and get out really fast. But then what they did is, they put these glass, or I shouldn’t say glass, Plexi plastic all the way around the entire room. And what they did is, it allowed it to create a little bit of a quieter space. But then it was all still open air. So you’re not having to build a separate room or anything like that. And also because it was clear you could look into it too, so it meant that it created those spontaneous moments where people could see what’s going on in there. “Oh there’s my friend, I’m going to go talk to them.”
So the first thing it does is build all these walls around here. You can do this a couple of different ways. If you can’t do the plexiglass walls, also consider maybe things like big thick velour drape. Maybe it’s something like, this is in a separate ballroom, in a separate room. There are a million different options you can go when it comes to this. And if absolutely budgets the concern, or you don’t want to make it constrained. Maybe for example, putting it off in a quieter area, but leaving it open can work as well, but there’s a lot of different options.
Decorating Co-Working Spaces For Events
So, the I’m going to work this is, when you walked in initially, that’s where you saw the mixing. For example, you saw couches, arm chairs, coffee tables, and then around the outside they did these high top coworking tables, as we’ll call them. Not just necessarily a high boy, because one single high boy, maybe one person on their laptop can work on, right? Maybe two. But what these are, are very, very long tables that are up high. And I love these because I typically stand when I work. So it allows someone who stands to be able to stand up and work as well. But also what’s great about it is, it just keeps people flowing in and out. They’re not sitting there for far too long.
Again, this isn’t necessarily where I’m going to spend eight hours of the day, or the entire day, maybe two, three hours max, of where I’ll be working at. So put some bar stools around there as well. And then some two-person areas as well, for a small meeting, where people can sit at chairs and talk to each other. That’s something very, very common with these coworking spaces. You just need a quiet place where you can get some work done as well, and talk to someone. Or maybe there’s some important issue that has to be discussed. Great place for that to do.
Thinking About The People
What’s cool about this as well, is right in the center, they put this kind of boardroom style table. That’s where you get that long table, but it’s lower seating. This is great for if you have a lot of people who are wanting to co-work together. Or someone needs to spread out. And what’s great about coworking is that you think to yourself, “Okay, we’re going to make a room with a big board table. What happens if one person sits at it and uses it?” Well, what ends up happening is, a lot of people will see chairs, and will be like, “Hey, can I sit next to you? Is that okay?” They’ll end up utilizing all the seating as well.
So again, you kind of create this intimate space, within a larger space. Again, put it near your registration area, put it near the front event, make it so people have to walk past it as well. And I found that you might think to yourself, “Oh, plexiglass walls, right in the middle of one of the most trafficked areas of the event. It’s not going to be quiet enough.” It was plenty quiet enough for phone calls, for getting work done, and everything like that. But then not too quiet where it felt awkward for calls. I love this space so much. Big recommendation.
Another pro tip. Don’t put music, speakers, anything like that near the coworking space. Especially, you might be thinking yourself, “Oh yeah, during the happy hour time, we want to be blasting music and getting everybody excited.” Well someone might be knocking out a sales call right during that time, and that’s just going to make someone go, “Oh yeah, I got to leave. I’ve got to go back to my hotel room and get this call done.”
Bonus tip. By the way, I almost forgot to mention these cool pods that I’ve been seeing popping up at a lot of events. These quiet pods that allow people to sit inside, they have power, everything that you need. These are a lot smaller footprint, and if you scatter a couple of them around the event, this creates a great spot for someone to knock out a call, to be able to get some work done, all that sort of stuff, and create a quiet, safe place for them to work in. I love these pods so much. Scatter them all around your event. They don’t have to be one big coworking area. You can have them all over your exhibit floor. You can have one outside, one all over the place. Super duper cool. So look into these pods as well. Super duper cool.
So, man, we just jam-packed it, full of tips for creating these co-working spaces for events. From someone who co-works and remote works a ton, man, if every event had this, it would mean I’d probably be able to go to a lot more events, just because then I have a productive space to be able to get some work done, while also continuing to learn, continuing to network, and getting to enjoy the event.
So I’d love to hear what sort of tips do you have when it comes to coworking spaces. Have you designed something like this at your event? What worked, what didn’t work? Any sort of things that I missed. Leave it down in the comments below. You know I want to hear from you. I want to get your feedback.