Coworking spaces are officially in fashion. According to data from the 2015 Coworking Europe Conference, in Europe alone there are some 2,800 spaces and 400 are currently operating in Barcelona according to lists on Coworking Spain. One of the most recent spaces to open its doors is none other than Cloud Coworking, located in an attic in the heart of Barcelona, and not too far from the city’s 22@ business innovation district.
Although it opened less than a year ago, Cloud Coworking boasts a full house, where rarely membership opportunities are available. We spoke to founder Sergi Tarragona to find out the secret of his success and why he choose electronic signatures as part of the space’s management system from the outset.
The proliferation of coworking spaces worldwide, and in Europe particularly, is abundantly clear. Most agree it is not a mere trend: coworking spaces are at once symptomatic and an emblem of changes afoot in our current economy, where developing new innovation ecosystems formed by entrepreneurs and independent professionals are the norm, with coworking spaces being frequently used as a common place to meet and connect.
"Coworking spaces contribute to the development of the entrepreneurial ecosystem because they facilitate the implementation of ideas. In addition, sharing a space makes it easier to establish contacts and take in a new kind of culture."
- Neelie Kroes, former European Commissioner for EU’s Digital Agenda
Build community by organizing events
According Sergi Tarragona, it is precisely this capacity to bring together entrepreneurs and freelancers under one roof the underlying success of coworking spaces. But synergies and innovative partnerships cannot be forged by simply providing a work space with WiFi access and a coffee machine. On the contrary, a truly successful coworking space should encourage communication between members and facilitate meetings. To do so, Sergi recommends organizing internal events to break up routines and generate new group dynamics that foster the exchange of knowledge and ideas.
Encourage communication through good space design
Another key to attract and bring together a community of like-minded people - and to stand out from other coworking spaces - is, according to Tarragona, getting the interior design right. Certain areas should be clearly defined and separated from one another: there should be open areas for departmental meetings, common areas to eat and relax as well as break out rooms for more private conversations. "All this undoubtedly generates added value and the appreciation of the community," says Sergi.
Using electronic signatures to sign rental agreements
As is inevitably the case when almost 100 people are working side by side (as in Cloud Coworking’s case), internal issues regarding administration and management will crop up. It practically goes without saying that any internal issues should be resolved quickly and efficiently, so time that could have been spent organizing events or other beneficial activities is not wasted.
One very common administrative issue is when joining members sign their rental agreement contract with the space. Once upon a time, the process involved printing contracts and copies of the contract, followed by the need to "chase" new members to get their paperwork signed, before archiving everything. In addition to be environmentally unfriendly, this scenario poses a problem in terms of space as mounting rental costs do not financially justify the storage of mere paperwork.
Therefore, to speed up the contract signing process for joining members (and their legal incorporation into the space), Sergi Tarragona considered Signaturit’s electronic signature solution a perfect management tool that "saves so much paper by using eSignatures to sign rental agreements."
To find out more about how Cloud Coworking uses electronic signatures as well as how they could also be useful in your own coworking space, be sure to download the following free client success story.