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Why Your Space May Need a Coworking Executive
The Evolution of Leadership in Coworking Spaces
As the industry has grown and diversified, so too has the complexity of managing these innovative spaces. This evolution has led to the emergence of a new pivotal role: the Coworking Executive.
The Roots of Community Management in Coworking
The concept of community management first took root when coworking spaces began to proliferate in the early 2000s. Initially, these spaces were small, often initiated by like-minded individuals seeking a collaborative environment outside the traditional office.
The role of the community manager was, at this time, embryonic, often filled by the founders themselves or by volunteers from within the coworking community.
They were the hosts of the space, focusing on fostering a collaborative atmosphere, organizing events, and ensuring operations ran smoothly on a day-to-day basis.
The Community Manager as a Jack-of-All-Trades
As coworking spaces grew in popularity, the community manager’s role began to crystallize. They became the go-to person for everything from onboarding new members to troubleshooting IT issues. In essence, they were a jack-of-all-trades, tasked with the monumental responsibility of maintaining the space’s culture, managing its operations, and being the face of the brand. This period was marked by a heavy reliance on interpersonal skills, multitasking, and a passion for creating a unique work environment.
Professionalization of the Role
The mid-2010s saw a major shift as coworking spaces became more mainstream, and the industry saw a rapid expansion. The community manager’s role was no longer an add-on to other responsibilities but became a distinct profession requiring a unique set of skills. Professional community managers were now expected to have not only excellent people skills but also a good grasp of business operations, event management, marketing, and sometimes even sales.
The Evolution Towards Coworking Executives
With the advent of corporate coworking and the expansion of spaces both in size and number, the demands on community managers began to outstrip the capabilities of a single role. Coworking spaces needed leaders who could think strategically, drive business growth, and build extensive networks both inside and outside the coworking community. Thus, the role of the Coworking Executive was born—a position that preserved the essence of community management but on a scale suited for a rapidly evolving industry.
Today’s Coworking Executive
Today, the Coworking Executive stands at the intersection of community building and business leadership. They are tasked with a broad mandate that includes strategic planning, brand management, community expansion, and often, P&L responsibility. Their role is critical in scaling coworking spaces into sustainable, vibrant communities that are not only profitable but also integral parts of the wider business ecosystem.
The Expanded Role of a Coworking Executive
- Strategic Vision and Leadership: The Coworking Executive transcends traditional management. They are visionaries, crafting strategic plans that align with the long-term goals of the coworking space. Their leadership is not just about overseeing daily operations; it’s about steering the coworking space towards sustainable growth and innovation.
- Building External Partnerships: This role involves extending the reach of the coworking space beyond its walls. By forging strong partnerships and relationships with external businesses and communities, Coworking Executives enhance the space’s network and resources, providing immense value to members.
Impact on Coworking Spaces
- Enhancing Operational Efficiency: A Coworking Executive brings a level of professionalism and efficiency that elevates the entire operation. Their expertise in handling complex logistics ensures that the coworking space runs smoothly, fostering an environment where creativity and productivity thrive.
- Elevating Brand and Member Satisfaction: The presence of a Coworking Executive has a profound impact on the brand’s image and the satisfaction of its members. They ensure that the space not only meets but exceeds the expectations of its community, cultivating a sense of belonging and loyalty among members.
Understanding the Compensation Structure in Coworking Spaces
A critical aspect of establishing and maintaining a successful coworking space is understanding the appropriate compensation for various key roles. As the industry evolves, so does the recognition of the value these positions bring to the table. Here’s a breakdown of the recommended pay structures for Community Managers, Community Associates, and Coworking Executives, based on current market data:
Community Managers: The Backbone of Coworking Communities
- Average Annual Salary: $58,000 – $72,000
- As the key figures in fostering community engagement and ensuring smooth daily operations, Community Managers are the linchpin of coworking spaces. Their compensation reflects their pivotal role in managing both people and processes, balancing interpersonal skills with operational efficiency.
Community Associates: The Essential Support
- Average Annual Salary: $45,000 – $55,000
- Community Associates are instrumental in assisting Community Managers and handling foundational tasks within coworking spaces. Their salary acknowledges their contribution to maintaining the vibrancy and functionality of the space, providing essential support that keeps the coworking environment thriving.
Coworking Executives: Visionaries at the Helm
- Estimated Average Annual Salary: Approximately $100,000 + Bonuses
- The role of a Coworking Executive transcends the traditional boundaries of community management. Tasked with strategic planning, business growth, and extensive community and external relations, their compensation is reflective of their higher level of responsibility. Coworking Executives are not only leaders within the space but also visionaries who shape the future direction of the business.
Where are the Coworking Space Owners in all of this?
In the coworking industry, the role of the space owner varies significantly, influenced by their background, the nature of their investment, and the scale of their operations. Understanding these diverse ownership structures is key to comprehending how coworking spaces are managed and developed.
Multi-Property Owner Developers: Strategic Investors
- Many coworking spaces are projects of multi-property owner developers. These owners view coworking spaces as part of a larger portfolio of investments. Their approach is often strategic, focusing on the financial and growth aspects of the coworking space.
- Such owners typically adopt a passive role in day-to-day operations, entrusting the management to skilled Coworking Executives and their teams. Their primary concern is ensuring that the coworking space aligns with their broader business goals and investment strategies.
Individual Owners: Personalized Leadership
- For individual owners, a coworking space is often a personal venture driven by passion for community building and entrepreneurship. These owners may take a more active role, directly influencing the space’s culture, community engagement, and operational decisions.
- Their hands-on approach can create a unique and personalized coworking environment, where the owner’s vision and values are deeply embedded in the space’s ethos.
Partnerships and Municipal Initiatives: Collaborative Ownership
- Some coworking spaces emerge from partnerships or municipal initiatives. In these cases, the ownership and management structure can be collaborative, involving various stakeholders.
- These owners might balance active and passive roles, combining strategic oversight with direct involvement in key areas. This collaborative approach can bring diverse perspectives and resources to the coworking space, enhancing its community impact and sustainability.
Balancing the Roles
- Regardless of the ownership type, the balance between active and passive involvement is crucial. Owners need to align their level of engagement with the needs of the space, the capabilities of their management team, and the expectations of their members.
- Clear communication and defined roles are essential, ensuring that whether the owner is a solo entrepreneur, part of a larger development firm, or a member of a collaborative group, the coworking space thrives under their stewardship.
Investing in the Future of Coworking
As the coworking landscape continues to grow and evolve, the role of a Coworking Executive becomes not just a choice but a necessity for spaces aiming to stand out and truly make an impact. It’s a strategic decision that contributes significantly to the brand’s success and the overall satisfaction of its community.
If you’re looking to hire a Coworking Executive for your business, get in touch for a free job description to post in your local market. Leveraging our extensive experience in the coworking industry, we can help you find the right talent to elevate your coworking space to new heights.
Additionally, if you believe you have the skills and vision to be a Coworking Executive, we invite you to send us your resume. We will pass it along to our global network of coworking space owners. This is an incredible opportunity to step into a role that’s reshaping the coworking world, offering a chance to lead, innovate, and elevate the coworking experience.