As traditional office jobs get displaced by more remote and location-independent positions, many people are looking for better alternatives to suit their work lifestyles. Coworking is a relatively new concept that provides a solution, as professionals have access to the same freedom that working from home offers while being able to enjoy the perks of an actual office environment complete with supplies and fellow workers. With a variety of coworking spaces and membership options available, it can be difficult to navigate what the best option is for you. Here are four things to consider when choosing a coworking space:
Define Your Needs
With the popularity of coworking on the rise, it can be difficult to distinguish which space suits you best. Many coworking spaces can look the same as they tout similar features and benefits. To help, think of choosing a coworking space like you would choose a home. That means making a list. Where is it located? Is it convenient? What are your must-have features? What is your budget?
Coworking is the perfect solution between working from an overly-crowded coffee shop for free and renting an over-priced private office. Even still, make sure that the membership price not only fits within the parameters of your personal budget, but also reflects the quality of the space and extras that you are getting.
Be sure to compare prices of other coworking spaces in the area that you’re looking to work from. Prices will vary based on membership type, amenities and other extras, accessibility and the size of the space (i.e, is it a large company with multiple locations or a single location).
Remember to ask about any additional fees like those for conference room credits, printer ink and paper, parking, use of business address and signage. While not every coworking space will charge extra for these things, it’s important to find out before committing.
As competition among coworking spaces grows, being amenity-rich has recently become a hot trend. Some spaces will go as far as offering on-site gyms and rock climbing walls to sleeper beds, car washing services and free beer. Amenities provide an opportunity for coworking spaces to stand out and for you, the coworker, to benefit. While many professionals look to see the kinds of in-office amenities that are available such as WiFi, printing, mailing services and conference space, don’t forget to also look into opportunities to play, connect and to grow your skills.
Scope out the staff at your prospective coworking space. Talking to the on-site staff can give you a more intuitive feel of the atmosphere and overall vibe of the space and how it’s run. Having access to an on-site community manager is useful if you have any questions, concerns or requests, especially considering that person is there only to enhance the customer (you!) experience.
Ah, community. One of the major benefits of coworking is being surrounded by other working professionals. Look at it this way: your coworking membership could pay for itself if you’re able to find new clients or further your career by collaborating with like-minded individuals.
Fundamentally, you have the opportunity to make new friends. Being able to socialize plays a huge role in job satisfaction, especially for professionals who would otherwise work alone from home. If you’re looking to be around a particular crowd, many coworking spaces are marketed toward and target specific niches, such as women, startups, tech companies or developers.
If you’re really looking to socialize, focus on finding a space that offers networking events, workshops, happy hours and other community gatherings regularly. This is just another built-in way to help you interact and build relationships with fellow coworking members.
Ask the manager at your prospective coworking space about the community surrounding that particular space! These people could end being assets to you both personally and professionally.
Written by Caroline Ta