Nice to see this discussion.
I’ve had several requests from members for a way to see who’s in each space, who is sitting where, and whether they could reserve seats next to each other for the day, so I’m curious if there are good available (and affordable) online solutions. Although I would prefer the low-tech solution of members just looking to see who’s there, here’s why I’d like an Internet tool (that can be accessed away from the space):
Challenge 1: Allowing members to choose who to work alongside across multiple floors and multiple locations. We have two coworking spaces about 15 minutes away from each other (by public transport). All members are free to work at either location and some of them mix it up moving between locations on a regular basis. Some members have preferences about who they work with (or who they don’t work with), and often it’s an overall view they want to decide where to go. I don’t want to reinforce cliques, but on the other hand, I do want to make it easier for members to choose the environment they’d prefer without having to visit both spaces to decide. If they could log themselves into the website and get a sense of who’s where (especially if they know there friends will be doing it, too), it would help them decide where to work.
Challenge 2: Allowing members and the coworking space to manage capacity across multiple locations. Almost all of our desks are hot desks, and there is amazing variatiability in how full (or empty) a floor or coworking space is. Some members prefer a busier space and some prefer a quieter space. If they could look to see how crowded the different locations are, it would again help them to decide where to work that day (and help us manage our resources more efficiently so we don’t have to worry about a space being completely full while the other one is half empty). (This part doesn’t require any kind of identity or seat-specific tracking, just a space use/availability counter that could be visible to members off site.)
Challenge 3: Allowing members to reserve spaces to be sure they can find a desk next to each other on a given day. Sometimes a group of three or four members wants to work alongside each other on a project for the day. Usually this isn’t a problem since we they can usually find a spot with four available seats side-by-side. But we’ve had larger teams (off three or four people) who decided not to join our coworking space because they were worried about being able to find free tables to work together reliably. We always have plenty of available space, but not always four spaces next to each other, so I’ve had to tell them that that won’t always be possible. Members have there own keys and often there isn’t a manager at the space to reserve a desk if we wanted to offer that option. I’d love a system where members could reserve seats online (with a map of the space, so they could be sure to reserve seats alongside people they want to collaborate with).
My ideal would be some kind of 2-D space layout tool (like the many online tools for seating planning for weddings or other one-off events, but instead for a permanent seating layout) with the ability for members to log in to a seat but only once they’re connected to the onsite Internet. I’d like it to have a reservation system, so you’d have both current users and an ability to see future reservations. And I’d like the ability to set fees for reservations (so people only reserve seats when they need them), and to set automatic cancellations of reservations if people don’t log in to their seat from within the space within a certain specified time (to minimize seats being reserved that aren’t actually used). My thought was a good tool like this would have great general use (movie theaters, restaurants, any place with fixed seating where groups might want to be able to choose where they sit or who they sit near without having to first show up and see what’s available. You could have an option to log in through google+, facebook, linkedin, foursquare, etc., and either make your identity “public” or just make it visible to your “friends”, etc. But even without the mass social media tool designed for multiple purposes, I’d love a solution that just worked for my coworking space and our members. Does anything like this exist already? (Or anyone want to build it?
On Monday, February 3, 2014 6:37:14 AM UTC+1, Justin wrote:
Sounds great - but how do you track who is in the space today - I guess they have to check in somehow but what works for you ?
Sent from my iPhone
On 2 Feb 2014, at 18:11, “Sam Rosen” [email protected] wrote:
For what it’s worth Desktime has a member directory built into the app so it shows members the folks that are in the space today and those that are part of the community, but aren’t booked in the space. Since it’s the same system that managing billing and scheduling we’ve had great success at the member directory being up-to-date and utilized.
At NextSpace we have a member’s also have wall that stays current with folks pictures. They add a little “new” symbol so folks can quickly see new members of the community.
Desktime powers Coworking.
On Thursday, January 30, 2014 5:36:15 PM UTC-6, Eli Malinsky wrote:
Wonder if anyone has novel ways of showing which members are in the space on a given day. Do you use table signs? flags? Pictures? Anything? I’d love to hear any creative ideas.
We’ve tried a few things in the past but nothing’s really stuck. I’d love to hear your experiences, see pics, etc.
Centre for Social Innovation
New York // Toronto
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