New approaches to hotel coworking spaces are changing how many operators design and program their properties.
Today’s work-life trends include hybrid work schedules and solo, heads-down work in “third places” like lifestyle hotel settings. Many companies are adopting a “remote-first operational model,” which includes solo coworking and various types of remote in-person group work.
Leading hotels support these mobile work lifestyles, including “work from anywhere” (WfA) teams. The hotel company and lifestyle brand citizenM was founded with a prototype design that welcomed coworking and offered comfortable coworking spaces adjacent to the lounge, food and beverage settings, and meeting rooms for various types of meetings.
The challenge for hotel operators is to design hotels for broader workplace acceptance, traffic, and optimal remote-work lifestyles. To reinvent longstanding hotel models and adopt more modern approaches, hotel design teams must consider the post-pandemic situation and survey the target guest base to gain a fresh baseline understanding.
Hotels are adapting by creating spaces to accommodate travellers who wish to remain connected to the office while on the go. After COVID-19, guests are staying longer at hotels on average.
Hotels must offer elements that create a stronger sense of belonging, such as foosball tables, board games, and a centrally located espresso machine. Workplace acoustics, as are sustainability efforts to attract remote workers committed to environmental, social, and governance leadership, are also important.
Over the last 15 years, hotels have increasingly adopted the coworking model. The emergence of the WeWork model and the shift toward a lifestyle component in hotel lobbies have contributed to this trend.
However, we also must consider the impact of architectural and interior design on the success of hotel coworking spaces.
Overall, statistics show that coworking is here to stay, and coworking spaces in hotels respond uniquely to locale and meld tourism and the local workforce. CitizenM’s coworking design provides repeat business because of the hotel amenities and attractive interior design. As remote work continues to grow, hotels that cater to this trend will likely attract an increasingly itinerant workforce.
Hotel design teams need to reevaluate the post-pandemic landscape. For instance, they can convert lobbies into coworking spaces to encourage community engagement, reinforce brand loyalty, and boost F&B sales.
From the standpoint of guests and their organizations, WfA and in-person options create a more scattered work environment, an opportunity for both organizations and employees. For workers, the increased flexibility can lead to benefits such as reduced commuting and more personal time. Employers may gain access to a broader talent pool and enjoy reduced real estate costs.
However, some hotel transformations need to look into the genuine opportunity for appeal and long-term loyalty. The concept of third places, which drives guest satisfaction in coworking settings, should be central to design in the new normal. By embracing this concept, hoteliers can enhance their approach and adapt to changing dynamics.
After the pandemic, guests stay longer at hotels, leading to new strategies to differentiate work settings and cater to the varied needs of travellers and guests. This includes creating opportunities for coworking, such as offering options for neighbours and city dwellers in the local community and integrating coworking as a rewarding element in the evolving hotel membership program.
Hotels must also offer entertainment opportunities (games, relaxing nooks, bookshelves, a signature 24/7 bar, etc.) and easily accessible amenities to create a sense of belonging and engage more fully with guests. Additionally, hoteliers must manage workplace acoustics carefully to provide a comfortable and productive environment for coworking.
Within a typical hotel, incoming guests encounter a striking atmosphere with eye-catching artwork, luxurious furniture, a well-placed bar, and possibly a unique architectural feature. With coworking spaces in lobbies, the hotel can keep all public activities on the same floor, fostering a diverse and bustling environment that remains lively throughout the day and night. The design should evoke bold, colourful, and, at times, provocative emotions that foster memorable experiences for all.
24/7 accessibility is a crucial aspect of the coworking space hotel experience. Guests can request coffee or cocktails at any time and make use of the stylish furnishings for work, relaxation, or socializing. The public zones accommodate coworking, entertainment, and food and beverage services, catering to the needs of individuals accustomed to bustling office environments. The hotel should also provide quiet spaces, generous living rooms, and society rooms designed for acoustic and visual privacy.
To create a conducive environment for remote work, coworking spaces must offer flexibility, elements of art, biophilia, outdoor views, and workplace acoustics.
Sustainability is also a significant consideration for long-term success. Studies indicate that remote workers are drawn to businesses committed to environmental and social responsibility. Therefore, hotels need to align their efforts with sustainable building practices to meet evolving guest and market expectations.
Coworking has become integral to the hospitality industry over the past 15 years. Hotels have adapted their spaces to accommodate coworking, offering amenities and stylish environments to attract remote workers and business travellers. This shift has influenced major hotel chains to enhance their common areas, incorporating elements that cater to the needs of remote and hybrid-remote workers.
The success of coworking spaces in hotels has been evident, especially in attracting a diverse and increasingly mobile workforce. These spaces’ unique design and amenities have contributed to their appeal and potential for continued growth in the hospitality industry.