Guest Policy In A Coworking Space

Hello all! I’m the new community manager of a relatively new coworking space in Philadelphia! We have a client who repairs cracked phone screens and he has customers coming in and out all day long–especially on the weekends. This has caused a bit of a safety risk (we have already had one police-invovled incident). We don’t want to be too harsh on a guest policy (I know places like WeWork allows for unlimited guests…), but the safety of our members is something to be considered! What are some guest policies that you all have stated in your communities? We would love some guidelines!

I think this goes far beyond “guest policies” and down to use. If we’re going to be someone’s retail storefront, that’s a TOTALLY different set of needs and expectations than sharing a place to work and learn. It’d be like someone wanting to use our conference room to fix cars - it just doesn’t make sense. :slight_smile:

Concretely, we had a startup that was doing this sort of thing but with new “trainees” and it was really, really tough. Beyond security concerns, we had people showing up at all hours, unsure about where they were or why. This was extremely confusing to them (the visitors), our team, and our members.

It was a pain point that we tried to resolve in lots of different ways. We even tried helping them find a smaller training space nearby (totally separate location/address) but people would invariably show up at their “office” in spite of several emails saying specifically where to go.

At the end of the day we determined that their needs were beyond what was reasonable for a coworking space to provide and that getting their own office was a much better fit.

-Alex

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On Tue, Apr 26, 2016 at 11:22 AM, [email protected].com wrote:

Hello all! I’m the new community manager of a relatively new coworking space in Philadelphia! We have a client who repairs cracked phone screens and he has customers coming in and out all day long–especially on the weekends. This has caused a bit of a safety risk (we have already had one police-invovled incident). We don’t want to be too harsh on a guest policy (I know places like WeWork allows for unlimited guests…), but the safety of our members is something to be considered! What are some guest policies that you all have stated in your communities? We would love some guidelines!

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One of our spaces has an entry/front room which, because both the front door and the stairs are in it, never really found its groove. After some years of this, we found a great use for it: we put storefront use in it. Webshops, services of all kinds, and business with foot traffic goes there. Because the foot traffic is exactly the problem in that particular part of the space, so it is idea for people who need and want foot traffic, they catalyze each other.

Right now it is hosting a web retailer who is exploring having a bricks and mortar experience as well. But certainly a repair business would be a use we would put there.

It worked out so nicely that we are doing similar in some other locations. But police relaeted incidents are right out.

In general I find that if you can channel the use of the space based on need it works out better.

We had a similar situation when we opened- we didn’t really have a visitor rule, and found that people would bring a visitor in and then the next time we’d see the ‘visitor’ was 5pm when they walked out. We’ve been through a few policies since, but like Jeannine we realised that our front room was the key. We have a front room which seats around 10 people, plus a breakfast bar which serves as reception. At a Town Hall we floated a proposed policy where as long as members were checked in, they could have visitors in the front room- on the proviso that visitors were always checked in, and that the member was responsible for their visitor’s behaviour, and got them any drinks etc rather than us doing it. We then had a policy that a visitor who walked through the members door into the main space got charged to the member they were with as a day pass.

So we’ve ended up with the following options for members and visitors;

  1. Member checks themselves in to the hub using their swipe card. Members manually signs visitor in. Both people sit in front room. Member can get visitor a free drink. Extra cost to member = zero (this means we lose less people to the 5 coffee shops opposite us). Means that the member has to take their chances with respect to whether there will actually be any seating available at the time their visitor arrives. Also not much use for private meetings.

  2. As above, but member takes visitor through to the members area. Member (discretely) gets charged a £10 visitor day pass. More room in the member areas, plus member meeting rooms to use for private meetings, though these aren’t pre bookable and again the member takes their chances. Visitor can stay afterwards and work if they wish, but the member is responsible for them.

  3. Member books a £10/hour meeting room, guaranteeing privacy and seating for them and their visitor.

We always allow 15 mins for a member to show any visitor around without charge, which allows for people wanting to show their significant other/kids where they work

This policy works incredibly well, and we’ve not had a single complaint or moan since we agreed it (well apart from the fact that two members left immediately, and they were the ones who were causing the issues, so we assumed that would happen)

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On Wednesday, 27 April 2016 10:10:30 UTC+1, Jeannine van der Linden wrote:

One of our spaces has an entry/front room which, because both the front door and the stairs are in it, never really found its groove. After some years of this, we found a great use for it: we put storefront use in it. Webshops, services of all kinds, and business with foot traffic goes there. Because the foot traffic is exactly the problem in that particular part of the space, so it is idea for people who need and want foot traffic, they catalyze each other.

Right now it is hosting a web retailer who is exploring having a bricks and mortar experience as well. But certainly a repair business would be a use we would put there.

It worked out so nicely that we are doing similar in some other locations. But police relaeted incidents are right out.

In general I find that if you can channel the use of the space based on need it works out better.

How does this group handle members meeting clients but dont necessarily require a formal or booked conference room??

Our approach is to allow (and encourage!) members to have clients visit them for meetings in common areas instead of conf rooms, but if it goes >2 hours it’s no longer a meeting and qualifies as a guest pass at our daily rate. Keeps it nice and simple for everyone to understand!

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-Alex

I’m curious about insurance…when someone is in the facility either as a guest of a member or on a day pass…do you cover them? I have had people ask me that…

thx!

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On Mon, Oct 15, 2018 at 5:35 PM Alex Hillman [email protected] wrote:

Our approach is to allow (and encourage!) members to have clients visit them for meetings in common areas instead of conf rooms, but if it goes >2 hours it’s no longer a meeting and qualifies as a guest pass at our daily rate. Keeps it nice and simple for everyone to understand!

-Alex

On Sun, Oct 14, 2018 at 7:11 PM Katrina Dye [email protected] wrote:

How does this group handle members meeting clients but dont necessarily require a formal or booked conference room??

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Thanks Alex!

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On Mon, Oct 15, 2018, 4:35 PM Alex Hillman [email protected] wrote:

Our approach is to allow (and encourage!) members to have clients visit them for meetings in common areas instead of conf rooms, but if it goes >2 hours it’s no longer a meeting and qualifies as a guest pass at our daily rate. Keeps it nice and simple for everyone to understand!

-Alex

On Sun, Oct 14, 2018 at 7:11 PM Katrina Dye [email protected] wrote:

How does this group handle members meeting clients but dont necessarily require a formal or booked conference room??

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This is probably specific to the united states and you should DEF consult a lawyer cuz I am not one, but in general a coworking space’s general liability insurance should cover YOU (the business owner/staff), YOUR BUSINESS, and YOUR BUSINESSES’S BELONGINGS.

E.g. if someone slips and falls on your premisses, your insurance protects you from them in case they sue you for damages…but it doesn’t specifically protect them.

Your insurance does not cover members/guests, their businesses, or their belongings.

-Alex

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Thanks That is a key question…am trying to get my head around how the day pass world works if those people fall when in your coworking space…

Thx again!

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On Mon, Oct 15, 2018 at 6:08 PM Alex Hillman [email protected] wrote:

This is probably specific to the united states and you should DEF consult a lawyer cuz I am not one, but in general a coworking space’s general liability insurance should cover YOU (the business owner/staff), YOUR BUSINESS, and YOUR BUSINESSES’S BELONGINGS.

E.g. if someone slips and falls on your premisses, your insurance protects you from them in case they sue you for damages…but it doesn’t specifically protect them.

Your insurance does not cover members/guests, their businesses, or their belongings.

-Alex


The #1 mistake in community building is doing it by yourself.

Better Coworkers: http://indyhall.org

Weekly Coworking Tips: http://coworkingweekly.com

My Audiobook: https://theindyhallway.com/ten

On Mon, Oct 15, 2018 at 6:03 PM Marion roger [email protected] wrote:

I’m curious about insurance…when someone is in the facility either as a guest of a member or on a day pass…do you cover them? I have had people ask me that…

thx!

On Mon, Oct 15, 2018 at 5:35 PM Alex Hillman [email protected] wrote:

Our approach is to allow (and encourage!) members to have clients visit them for meetings in common areas instead of conf rooms, but if it goes >2 hours it’s no longer a meeting and qualifies as a guest pass at our daily rate. Keeps it nice and simple for everyone to understand!

-Alex

On Sun, Oct 14, 2018 at 7:11 PM Katrina Dye [email protected] wrote:

How does this group handle members meeting clients but dont necessarily require a formal or booked conference room??

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Day pass users probably aren’t different from members in the eyes of an insurance claim, and that’s all that matters. A human inside your space is a human inside your space, with all of the opportunities and liabilities that come with it.

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The #1 mistake in community building is doing it by yourself.

Better Coworkers: http://indyhall.org

Weekly Coworking Tips: http://coworkingweekly.com

My Audiobook: https://theindyhallway.com/ten

I have a similar Situation but slightly different. A prospective member wants to use the open working area as a place to meet with her clients that she does one on one training with. She would have 3 to 4 one-hour training sessions per day. Our feeling was that it would be disruptive and that she needs to have an office. We felt it would open up a can of worms if everyone could bring in clients every hour. Right or wrong?

We’ve tried this, most often with “city launcher” employees of delivery startups. It’s only ever caused problems.

Not just noise and disruption, but even with a private office the range of people wandering in for the trainings meant that people were often confused or late, which meant it was a lot of work for OUR team to orient these lost souls who had no interest in coworking. We tried to make this easier on everyone so many ways, ended up being a waste when the company moves on to launch the next city.

I’d say the success of this REALLY depends on the kind of training, who is being trained, and the trainers being VERY organized. In a perfect scenario that addresses all of these concetns, I’d come up with a bespoke pricing option that is fair. Otherwise…probably not worth the headache!

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The person is doing business coaching/training about using LinkedIn for business. So she’s very professional, training established businesses who MIGHT be interested in coworking or an office. I get what you’re saying about people traipsing in and out. That would be a hassle.

Nanette

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great post, it has given me the idea for a future coworking space to try to develop public facing “offices” with a front door for the public and a back door into the coworking space. Give small businesses like your repair mate, a micro storefront that is attached but also isolated from the coworking space, complete with signage options and supported with all the facilities that coworking spaces offer.