INTERVIEW FINDINGS | CO-WORKING SPACES
Current Co-working Spaces Customers
Eight current coworking space customers were interviewed. They were interviewed during the same trips where the coworking owners were interviewed, and, therefore, occurred during the same time period. The professions of interviewees included an entrepreneur, the director of a local Portland magazine, a software developer, a graphic designer, a supply chain manager, a wine business owner, a paralegal, and a broker for Studley Homes. Five of them first heard of coworking spaces through friends, two through the internet, and one from both. Seven of the interviewees mentioned that a convenient location was a large factor in their choice of space, while some additionally stating that they liked the atmosphere or environment
Most of the customers said that the advantage of a coworking space was the ability to get out of their home and have more space to do their work and focus. The desire to get out their homes correlates to the findings from Stiefel and Rief (2014), where it was determined that the sabbatical nature of coworking spaces and the ability to “get away” were attractions. When it comes to the disadvantages, the cost and difficulty with parking in downtown Portland were both mentioned twice. The most frequently mentioned amenities were coffee, quiet or private areas, printing, 24/7 access, WiFi, desks, chairs, and other basic office supplies. Having quiet or private spaces goes along with the research in Agora, Berlin (Agora Collective, 2016).
This case looked at the importance or structure within a coworking space and how space can be divided to accommodate all types of workers. Current customers wanting areas for quiet work and privacy further validates this research. Thirty minutes was the limit on how far customers were willing to travel for a coworking space or about 10 miles. Six of the eight customers preferred a quiet workspace, while two preferred a more collaborative atmosphere. From the data gathered on the current customers, the drivers and deterrents to using a coworking space for current customers can be determined.
Potential Co-working Customers
Interviews with potential coworking customers were conducted in coffee shops with 26 interviewees. It was determined that the most likely users of coworking spaces are those who frequently go to coffee shops to work. Therefore, we targeted coffee shop customers specifically when looking for interviewees. Most of the coffee shops were located in downtown Vancouver, WA, including Starbucks, Compass Coffee, Bleu Door Bakery, Black Rock Coffee, and Peet’s Coffee. These interviews occurred between February 15th and March 25th of 2016.
Out of the 26 people interviewed, about half had heard of coworking spaces. Of the ones that had heard of them, the majority had learned of these spaces through friends. This is similar to the current coworking customers, where most of them had learned of coworking spaces through friends.
Among the potential customers, 21 said that a coworking space would work with their profession. These professions ranged greatly, from business analysts to freelance workers to photographers. Coffee, WiFi, quiet meeting areas and 24/7 access were mentioned most often when describing desired amenities. The desired amenities described by the potential customers is very similar to what was described by current customers, showing a strong need for certain amenities in any space as well as a strong correlation between these potential customers and actual ones. In the literature review and case studies, it was pointed out that customers appreciate quiet work areas, which can be further evidenced here through the responses gathered regarding desired amenities.
The range of price points was great, which is from $75 to $1000. Generally, the respondents who stated lower prices were thinking of just a chair at a table, while the respondents stating the higher prices were thinking of private offices. The average price was around $390. As for distance potential customers would be willing to travel, the average distance was about 15 miles or 30 minutes. Twelve of the 26 were definitely interested in the possibility of a coworking space in Vancouver, seven were somewhat interested, and seven were either not interested in general or not interested at the moment. The general cause of being uninterested was having a profession that did not work with coworking spaces.
Also Visit: REGIONAL AND NATIONAL CO-WORKING SURVEYS