Phone Booth Limits

Hey folks,

New to this forum though I wish I’d made an account much sooner! I run a coworking space in Manhattan and the most consistent issue we run into is trying to manage the phone booth limits. We have a total of 8 phone booths in our space but on the main floor, which is accessed by day passers plus members plus guests plus visitors, we have 4. Our policy is that people may use the phone booths for up to an hour at a time and they are first-come, first-serve.

Despite our clear reminders about the policy, our members don’t seem to really care about abiding by it. We get tons of complaints each week from people noting that members are sitting in phone booths for longer than they should. Short of knocking on the door, which we find super intrusive and irresponsible in case someone is on an important call, the most we can do is email them a gentle reminder – which we do but they just ignore them!

Anybody have any ideas on how to manage the phone booths so that folks are only in them for an hour and everyone has a chance each day? Thanks in advance!

Savannah @ The Commons


Hey Savannah, great question and welcome to the forum.

Given that there’s a policy, have you had any success/frustration with making these resources bookable via your inventory system?

Whilst I don’t think that will solve the problem in itself, connecting that to what you use to communicate in/around the space (member portal, slack, in-room screens, etc) can help you trigger timely reminders before and at the end of booked slots.

Even with tech assistance though, there will be a transition period where your community managers will have to be the friendlier face reminding folks to register or tap in to start their session.

Hi Savannah! I believe a booking system can solve the problem. It works like this: members book phone booths through the app on their phones. No entrance without prior booking. You can limit the time of booking to prevent booth monopolizing.

Hi Savannah,

I agree with Helga’s suggestion to try and utilize a booking platform to help manage the use of your phone booths, but it sounds to me like this is an indication that you don’t have enough small office spaces available for monthly rentals. Do you have small, individual offices available for rent in your space? If so, are those all rented? If not, do you have space available to add some small offices to your inventory?

  • Nathan

So annoying all around. When I was just working in a coworking space all the phone booths had the same problem! The same took place in every space. The community manager sent out emails and that was it. Well, now that I am working on my own space we are trying “gentle persuasion” in several ways. Emails and taps on doors are part of it for sure. I also like the booking system idea, seems a lot less aggressive. We have played around with the idea of putting a wifi enabled light in-booth/beside the door that we can control (Phillips Hue, Lifx, etc). They are run by apps and can change color so what we do is one of our staff will turn the light to red when their hour is up. It is a bit passive-aggressive for sure but the hopes are that even if they ignore it on purpose, their zoom calls will be awkward as their video will be filled with red!

Try connecting a simple on/off power switch that you can control remotely. Then blink them like during intermission when they need to vacate

Hi Savannah

don’t give up on a “verbal contract” - it is also important to reinforce community guidelines and make people learn what accountability means :slight_smile: Probably this is not the only disturbance… e.g. cleaning or noise? How many people does your community contain? How many community managers do you have?

I would try at first to only make 2 phone booths “bookable”, depending on which solution you use right now, you don’t need anything fancy. Make it seamless

Best of success
Nina Simone