Coworking spaces are on the rise around the globe. These flexible work settings allow people without a traditional office building to still enjoy many of the amenities that come along with having a dedicated work environment.
The 2017 Global Coworking Survey, conducted by Deskmag, along with SocialWorkplaces.com, found that there are an estimated 13,800 active coworking spaces worldwide, hosting more than 1 million people.
This represents a major increase from five years ago, when just 2,070 coworking spaces were used by 81,000 people globally. COCO, a coworking company based in St. Paul, Minnesota, offers several different levels of membership and types of space, so clients are only paying for the amount of time they need and space they require, says Megan Dorn, director of operations at COCO.
“Our idea in doing that was to be with our clients as they grow—from the beginning of their business, to hiring employees, to maybe needing private offices—which we also have,” she says. “So that’s what makes us a little bit different than your typical coworking space.”
When the company started in 2010, it had to distribute physical keys to its members, “which is a nightmare as you’re trying to grow,” she notes, and a security concern if a key was ever lost.
Because COCO normally leases its space in a larger building, it needed a security solution that was as flexible as the working environment it provides. “We usually have to find ways—when we’re opening a space or acquiring a space—to work with the building to find ways to get our security system installed,” Dorn explains.
When COCO acquired a new space in Chicago last May, the existing security system was a door locked by a PIN code, which the building never changed. The PIN code was distributed to a large number of people.
“The space got broken into a week before we acquired it. Laptops were stolen, and people were really on edge,” she notes. “So as soon as we came in to the Chicago space, one of our top priorities was to get a really solid access and security system in place.”
COCO turned to Brivo’s OnAir, a cloud-based access control system that easily integrated into the company’s membership dashboard, called Bamboo. Using Brivo, COCO can easily distribute keycards to its clients and manage membership usage and levels.
To set up the system, Brivo representatives come to COCO’s space and add card readers to the appropriate doors. They also set up schedules and the different access levels for membership types.
COCO has one membership accountant who works out of the company’s headquarters and oversees assigning new members a keycard number through Brivo. “It’s all digital, so it can be done remotely,” she notes.
A community manager at the member’s location—the lead COCO employee for that site—can then log on to Brivo and see which card number has been assigned for that client, add the number to their member profile in Bamboo, and distribute it.
Changing, granting, and revoking access levels, as well as keeping track of when members come and go throughout the building, are all managed through the Brivo platform.
“Say you want to upgrade a member from part-time to full-time. We’re able to just go into Brivo and quickly change your access. It’s active the moment that you do it,” she notes. “That’s actually been really helpful for us, given we have all this variability in types of membership.”
When a member badges in, a wealth of information comes up on the Brivo dashboard for the community manager to see. “Their picture, their name, their membership level, how many times they’ve checked in already that month, it immediately shows up,” she says. “So it tells you in real time exactly who’s in your space and when.”
The business value of OnAir is immense for COCO, Dorn points out, because the company can tell how often members are actually using the space, and whether they have made payments, as soon as they present their access card to the door reader.
“Let’s say someone is delinquent on payment. As soon as the member checks in, there’s going to be big red circle with an exclamation point [on the dashboard]–you can’t miss it,” she says. “It’s definitely helped us lower the sheer amount of delinquent payments that we have, and receive that payment.”
When a member badges in, Brivo also alerts the community manager if that person hasn’t been in the space very often that month.
“If we can find a member who we consider at-risk, who hasn’t been using the space, and we’re alerted to that we can reach out to them, invite them to an event, or try whatever we can to reengage them,” Dorn says.
COCO is also in the initial stages of using Brivo MobilePass, which lets COCO staff remotely lock and unlock doors via a smart device, for members who want to access the space after-hours but forget their keycard.
Because of how easily it can deactivate and reactivate access, COCO also encourages members who leave the company to keep their keycards.
“The goal is to try to get the member to come back. So if you have that card and you come back, you’re already set up in our system, all we have to do is reactivate the card and then we’ll also waive any setup fees,” Dorn says.
She notes the combination of security and business insights from Brivo has been tremendous for COCO.
“Brivo as a security system has helped us go from being a group of people working out of a space to a full-fledged company,” she says. “It really helps us manage all of the different types of membership and the stages of business they’re in.”
For more information: Nicki Saffell, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.brivo.com, 301.664.5242