Workplace Nightmares: The Worst Things That Can Happen To A Coworking Operator

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Workplace Nightmares: The Worst Things That Can Happen To A Coworking Operator

Coworking horror stories.

  • To celebrate Halloween, here are five workplace nightmares that managers (sometimes) have to deal with.
  • Running a workspace is not easy and even when they’re dealing with chaos, managers have to put on a brave face and smile through it.
  • Have you got a nightmarish tale to tell? Share your workplace horror stories with us.

When we think about workplace horror stories, we often think about what makes the experience worse for users of the space… but there’s another type of horror story: we’re talking about the nightmarish things workplace managers have to deal with on any given day.

The flexible workspace industry is growing, making it harder for operators to differentiate themselves and stand out from the competition. This is why many have embraced a hospitality focused approach, one where it’s the small things — like a warm smile, carefully-thought design, great coffee — that truly make a difference and create a unique experience for users.

Running a workspace is no easy task and, unfortunately, there are times when things are simply beyond a manager’s control.

In an industry where operators aim to run a seamless, smooth operation across all touchpoints to differentiate themselves, it’s not a traumatic event or a chilling story that makes for a horror story. It’s usually quite the opposite; small, yet annoying day to day things that tend to greatly interrupt an otherwise flawless operation.

Coworking Horror Stories from a Manager’s Point of View (in no particular order)

  • Having your network provider carry out (unscheduled) maintenance work on a Monday morning (or any day of the week for that matter)
    What’s the use of a workplace if people can’t access WiFi to do their work? Managers not only have to deal with angry/upset workspace users, they also have to deal with customer service from their network provider. Those who have been on hold for hours on end while trying to reach a person that can help them troubleshoot an IT problem are familiar with this pain.
  • A burst pipe (bathroom, kitchen, or anywhere)
    A flooded place takes a while to clean up… but fixing a burst pipe takes even longer. Plus, you’re at the will and mercy of a good plumber and you’d better hope there’s no outside street work that needs to be done. Depending on how much water there is, this means a coworking space could be closed for a day or two, or even more.
  • Running out of toilet paper (especially during an event)
    Workplace managers are busy throughout the day, and having to deal with a small inconvenience like running out of toilet paper can easily throw them off their stride. On a regular day this is an easy problem to fix, but during an event when there’s 101 other jobs to do, it’s probably the last thing on your mind. Keep the stock cupboard full!
  • A broken HVAC system (a leak, a thermostat malfunction, grime in the duct system, etc.)
    This is especially problematic for flexible workspace operators running a location in regions where the four seasons are pretty marked. A hot Summer’s day or a cold Winter day without AC or heating respectively will be unproductive and uncomfortable for everyone involved.
  • A general power cut
    When the power goes out, everyone else will be out, too. Out of the door, that is. Unless you have a backup power system, there really isn’t much you can do other than repeatedly call the power company for updates or find offline jobs to do, like washing-up.

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Have any of these ever happened to you? What are some other workplace horror stories you or your community manager have had to deal with?


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