Coworking Insights: A Post Occupancy Evaluation of FatPipe ABQ's Coworking Environment
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ABOUT FATPIPE ABQ
FatPipe ABQ is an open office cowork space situated in an urban innovation district. Upon opening its doors in 2014, it joined just a handful of coworking environments in Albuquerque, New Mexico – a market that is still learning about the advantages of the coworking movement.
In its first two years, FatPipe has established itself as a collaborative center for innovation and a home base for entrepreneurs. It has a solid reputation for hosting networking events and receives positive feedback from tenants.
ABOUT THE STUDY
Even though it has had much success, FatPipe ABQ and similar coworking offices are young, and data about such spaces is only just becoming available. In an effort to better understand how design solutions can contribute to the continued evolution of cowork spaces, Dekker/Perich/Sabatini conducted interviews and surveys with FatPipe’s owners, tenants, and community partners.
The study evaluated FatPipe ABQ's utilization rates, demographics, and profitability in addition to characteristics of the cowork community and performance of the space.
The interviews and surveys revealed five big takeaways.
- Adapt your space. People will adapt space to suit their needs. In the case of FatPipe ABQ, there was a natural tension between the owner's desire to maximize occupancy and tenants' inclination to keep occupancy and noise levels down. This conflict could likely be resolved by developing additional quiet zones for tenants' varied work styles.
- Know your market. Because the coworking movement is still in its early stages, marketing and branding efforts continue to evolve and adjust to market feedback. FatPipe, for example, revised their branding strategy from targeting tech millennials to attracting the 40+ crowd in the creative industry.
- Provide variety. People work individually, collaboratively, in groups, side-by-side, et cetera. Each level of interaction requires its own kind of space, as described in the Four Modes of Knowledge Work published by Steelcase. In addition to providing several types of work spaces, coworking offices should also consider scalability to accommodate the solopreneur all the way to growing teams.
- Encourage face-to-face encounters. Despite the rise of online social networks and work becoming more dependent on technology, 71% of survey respondents said they joined FatPipe ABQ to gain better access to other entrepreneurs. Coworking environments are testament to the importance of face-to-face interactions.
- Know your team. Finally, FatPipe ABQ serves as inspiration for how to coordinate design and operations as coworking communities continue to evolve. While not all challenges can be solved with design, a strong client-designer team can determine how operations, design, and other factors can best work together to support a strong business.
"The experts at DPS helped us create a space that is inviting, cheerful and yet functional. The space pops with color and our residents have learned to use every nook and cranny. We can’t wait to work on another project with the team at DPS – they are amazing!"
~Lisa Adkins, COO & Director, FatPipe ABQ