Summer Doesn’t Have to Mean Going Backwards
Yay! June! And you really want to take some time off. Play with the kids. Go to Reykjavik. Especially after the last few years.
And then the dread hits.
If you’re running a coworking or flex office business, and you’ve been doing it for a while, you know that a week off can be just as stressful as being at work. You’re not there to smooth over a conflict or advise your staff on the best way to handle the member who’s coming in at midnight and leaving the open space a mess. (I was trying to studiously avoid the picture of dirty dishes in the sink. I failed.) Or you’re worrying about the outstanding deal for a large team that didn’t quite close before you left. Or will the AR be collected so the bills can be paid? And will your post-pandemic growth continue without you there to goose it along?
All small businesses have stress, but it seems that coworking with its fast pace and daily unknowns and so many personalities (!) really requires a discussion on this topic.
Let’s start with the premise. Yes, you can take a vacation. And if you set up your systems right, not only can the business run smoothly, but it can deal with inevitable eventualities. And you can…very occasionally…check in during your time off.
I’m a big believer in having wonderful staff: staff that stays. I know that’s considered counter-intuitive in coworking, but we have Community Managers who’ve been with us for more than five years. Treat people as well as you would want to be treated, and pay them as much as you can. Our CMs get a share of the profits monthly. We want them to own their centers and know they are supported in their creative problem solving.
Our touchstone is Member Self-sufficiency. Sounds like a boring buzzword, but we mean that members can do as much as possible for themselves. That’s why automation is so important. While you’re gone, someone’s car is going to break down or a CM will inevitably get sick, and members have to be able to get into the space and get to work without a staff person there. Your members’ online and physical interactions with your coworking space have to be fast, simple and intuitive for everything they want to do: reservations, communications, access – and making coffee.
And what about you? Your touchstone has to be visibility. You can’t be worrying about what you’re going to walk into when you get back. You need to be able to see (OK, now my software hat, as well as my running centers hat) who’s in the space at any given moment, what’s happening with reservations and how the money is doing. And you need all of it on one screen so you can get back to the beach.
If you are in coworking for the long haul, you need to be able to have a well-rounded life. That means work and play. Yes, work-life balance. Your business will be better for it – it needs your refreshed creativity.
Not only can you take a vacation…you should.