Looking for the “Perfect” Coworking Software? It Doesn’t Exist…Yet.




  • by Sarah Beth Jones May 5, 2016
    May 5, 2016

    coworking piece


    Schedules, budgets, never-ending email threads, trying to locate that file that you need in 10 minutes because the client requested it—so many of us have been here. To solve some of these headaches, there are countless project management tools, coworking software programs, and collaboration solutions tailored to help businesses and individuals manage tasks.


    If you do a quick Google search for project management software, you might come across Basecamp at the top of your page. But hold on! Before you click on any “sign up” buttons, do your research. While Basecamp is extremely proficient and effective, it may not be the best coworking software solution for you and your business. Like all programs, Basecamp has its issues—things we might change if we could create the perfect, custom-made solution for our individual project needs.


    You may ask, then, “What is the perfect coworking software solution?”


    Well, there isn’t a “perfect” solution for everyone. The answer depends on your needs as a company or as an individual. Every business is different. Every employee has his or her own tasks and deadlines.


    If only we could mesh together the best parts of every online tool to create the picture-perfect coworking software. Below we’ll outline what we, as marketers, need from an online management solution. We’ll highlight what solution does it best in every facet of coworking, from logistics (scheduling, daily communication) to customer service, and more.


    What we need: Simple, streamlined communication


    Who does it best? Basecamp.


    OK, we know we just said that Basecamp wasn’t the end-all, be-all of coworking management software. But it takes the crown when it comes to simple, streamlined communication.


    Basecamp has a designated area where users can contribute to discussions, either generally on the group page, or on individual items or tasks. Information is easily accessible, and Basecamp’s powerful search tool helps users locate particular documents, files, or tagged discussions quickly. Users can respond to Basecamp messages directly from email, even if they are not logged into the Basecamp system.


    Basecamp has been around since 2004, so users who choose this solution can find solace in the fact that it’s been around the block a few times—in 2015, Basecamp released Basecamp 3.


    What we need: Thorough scheduling technology


    Who does it best? Smartsheet.


    Smartsheet is great to create thorough, in-depth schedules with easy-to-identify milestones. A solution that enables strong communication—and a place where users can collaborate together on the often-dreaded schedule—is one of the key ingredients to a successful project.


    Project managers, fear not. Smartsheet is easy to navigate. You can import existing projects or schedules into pre-made Smartsheet templates, which saves a lot of time and energy. Smartsheet provides users access to tasks, calendars, files, and discussions from any device, which makes online collaboration a breeze. It is tailored to both individuals and larger groups alike for projects of any scale.


    What we need: Great customer support


    Who does it best? Nexudus Spaces.


    Janelle Doll of Hera Hub said, “We are constantly amazed by Nexudus and the team behind it.” According to users, its biggest pros include being highly customizable, “covering every element of running a coworking space.”


    Customer support goes a long way in the success of a collaboration tool, no matter how well-developed that program may be. With any program, you’re going to have users of all skills levels and skill sets; support responsiveness, a willingness to listen to users, and an understanding of the coworking world is key. Nexudus users say they usually hear back from Nexudus support within minutes, not hours—and from an individual Nexudus team member as opposed to an automated help page referral (i.e., the dreaded “please see our FAQ page” response that most of us know well).


    This support saves users valuable time and money in the coworking space, which should never go unstated.


    What we need: Simplicity


    Who does it best? Coworkify.


    Coworkify, according to its website, relates its philosophy to Zen, the Japanese word for simplicity. And that’s exactly what Coworkify claims: that it’s simple enough for ALL of its members to use—from booking coworking resources such as the meeting room and projector—while it does much of the heavy lifting (i.e., automatically calculating charges and issuing the invoice to each member on behalf of the admin, as oppose to a manual entry system).


    If you’re the one working with a software program day in, day out, it’s likely that you’ll find it simple and easy to use (practice makes perfect, right?). But if everyone using the program can navigate it—not just the project manager-savvy users with a knack for Gantt charts—then that’s a true indicator that it is indeed simple and easy to use.


    If only the application came with a zen garden and a bonsai tree; that would be “simply” wonderful.


    What we need: Automation


    Who does it best? Cobot.


    Hailing from a software agency in Berlin, Cobot is a web-based management application made specifically for coworking. Its most prominent claim is one of automation—Cobot says it can take over all the dull, routine tasks of coworking management, such as logging activity/attendance in the space, tracking invoices, monitoring payments, and maintaining the overall financial health of a coworking space.


    Jenny of The Port in Oakland, California, said, “It has helped us streamline our billing and communication to our members. The team has been incredibly responsive. As we grow, Cobot has been able to adapt to our needs.”


    An added bonus: Cobot is available in six languages: English, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Japanese.


    What we need: All of these things rolled into one


    While there are a few other qualities we would love to see in our co-working software (i.e., the ability to customize the program as the company grows and evolves), streamlined communication, scheduling technology, great customer support, simplicity, unlimited everything, and automation are among our top criteria. What’s most important is finding the best fit for you, based on your unique needs.


    Who knows, maybe one day there will be a software that allows us to take the best parts of every program and stitch them together. One can dream, right?

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