How to Simplify Access Management of Your Co-working Space
Flexible new workstyles like co-working and shared offices along with the wave in innovational entrepreneurship have created a new market segment in the previously rather traditional field of commercial real estate. The emerging co-working space market is predicted to grow rapidly, making up 20-30% of the total office market by 2030.
One issue faced by co-working space operators is access solutions. Unlike traditional offices shared by a fixed staff who either use physical keys, RFID card systems or simply rely on concierge services, co-working spaces are frequented by a large number of people, whose access rights will vary greatly according to their needs and the use plan they have selected.
For example, a business traveler might choose a daily pass for a free seat in the co-working area, while a professional freelancer will probably settle on a fixed desk or office cubicle leased on a monthly or semi-annual basis. Co-working spaces have also gained popularity among startups, resulting in more and more operators providing small private offices for 5 to 10 people for added convenience and confidentiality. In addition, shared spaces like meeting rooms or event halls can be rented on an hourly basis in most co-working facilities.
The large number of users and facilities in combination with the many different use patterns makes access management a real challenge, which cannot be overcome by conventional locking systems. Of course, key cards can be registered to multiple locks to give users access to the individually booked spaces, but there is no way to include time-limits for shared facilities leased hourly or daily. Beyond, the registration procedure is time-consuming and tedious, resulting in additional cost, plus the cards must be retrieved after the leasing term expires. Similar limitations apply to PIN code locks or biometric access solutions. Additionally, most digital locking solutions require costly installation and exchange or alteration of existing hardware, which is often not approved by landlords.
Smart locks, on the other hand, are cost-efficient and flexible, while offering solutions to all issues addressed above. Granting virtual keys via a smartphone application eliminates the need for key cards or other credentials, not only sparing users having to carry one more item, but also being exceptionally safe, as only the registered user can log into the app account holding the access rights.
While these characteristics would be good enough to choose a smart lock over a conventional digital lock, the feature that makes smart locks essential for co-working spaces and similar facilities is the function of producing virtual keys valid for a specific period of time only, be it the term of a monthly membership or two hours of meeting room lease – all you need is to set the start and expiration date and time and the key will automatically become invalid after the set period. This means you don’t have to worry about retrieving cards or deleting authorized passwords or fingerprints, simplifying access management considerably.
For managing large numbers of users and/or locks, some smart lock companies offer a web-based platform in addition to the smartphone user application, which allows creating user groups for simplified group management. For example, if you want to grant all newly registered users with semi-annual memberships access to the main entrance, you won’t need to do so one-by-one, but rather create a group and produce the same time-limited key for all members.
Some smart locks can even be combined with a reservation management system to fully automate your processes by linking online reservation, payment and issuing of keys on a single platform, which comes close to your place running itself, allowing you to save big on time and personnel expenses.Finally, as many smart locks are wireless and retrofitting, there is no need for landlord approval and no additional cost for professional installation.
If you plan to establish a co-working space or are looking for a way to simplify access management of your existing facility, which will increase efficiency and reduce cost, you might want to consider implementing a smart lock solution that can be combined with reservation and group management systems for full automation.
While many are still skeptical of interconnected devices and internet-based management, there is little doubt that office automation constitutes the future of workspace. Investing and being part of it early on will not only keep you on track with technical advance, but also make upgrading and adding other compatible devices and software over time easier, allowing you to remain competitive and your co-working space up to date.