Surely, you’ve noticed numerous vibrant coworking spaces popping up out of nowhere in the last few years. Today, as more and more businesses choose to manage a remote team, the exponential rise in popularity of shared and flexible workspaces is to be expected—and it’s showing no signs of decelerating. As a matter of fact, coworking members are projected to grow by over 5.1 million by 2022.
What makes it so popular these days, you ask?
Coworking spaces have become increasingly common these days—and for good reasons. They offer unbeatable perks to entrepreneurs, remote staff, startups, and SMEs. Aside from fueling creativity, communication, and collaboration, it provides its members unique flexibility of office spaces that enables them to scale up or scale down with ease.
In addition, entrepreneur and startup challenges will be lessened, as coworking offices allow them to bootstrap on office expenses while enjoying access to a professional, fully-equipped workspace. Still not convinced? If those aren’t good enough reasons, a coworking space empowers its members to focus more on their business and worry less about maintaining the office.
Now that you’re seriously thinking of getting a membership to a coworking space, the next question that will come to mind is which is the right one for you. With so many coworking workspaces to choose from and membership plans available in the market today, finding the most suitable one for your business’ needs may sound like a daunting task. Be that as it may, here are some of the most important things to look for to help you decide the optimum workplace for you and your team.
First, consider the area of your potential coworking space. Make sure it works for you, your business, your team, and your clients.
Say you’re managing a remote team, you may want to choose a location that encourages your employees to come in to work excited, motivated, and inspired. For a well-balanced lifestyle at work, get a space that is close to great cafes, restaurants, and gyms.
If you are looking to launch a start-up, you may want to check out coworking spaces at the heart of your local central business district—this helps boost your business’ reputation and brand image.
In the same vein, see to it that your potential workplace is accessible both by car and public transport. Assess whether or not the area is conveniently located near bus stations and train lines.
If you and your employees come to work via private cars, make sure to check if there are enough parking spaces and take note of their rates. Ideally, to better accommodate your clients, it is best to consider having a look at guest parking options and prices, as well.
Also, since we all know traffic jams are undeniably frustrating—enraging even—it’s wise to select a coworking space situated in a relatively less congested area. This will help cut your team’s travel time and save your clients from unnecessary stress and hassle.
In deciding whether to go for a coworking or lease a serviced office, you’ll need to determine the amenities you’ll need to propel your business to success. To maximize productivity, here are the most common amenities to look for in a coworking space:
- Lockers and storage facilities
- Pantry and kitchen facilities
- Meeting rooms and boardrooms
- Private office spaces
- Communal work desks
- Phone booths
- Smart TVs and projectors
- Computers, printers, and fax machines
However, office needs differ from business to business. If, for example, you’re looking for a coworking space to accommodate your video production and photoshoot needs, standard office equipment might not be enough—you may want to look for a workspace with a creative studio.
If you’re one of those entrepreneurs who can’t function until caffeine hits their system, it’s also nice to know if your potential coworking space offers good snacks, coffee, or tea!
Similarly, if you lack the resources to carry out administrative duties, you can opt for a serviced office, as most offer to handle and manage your mail, take calls, and provide reception support as needed.
Yes, since we live in the digital age, having a good Internet connection is immensely vital nowadays—thus, the need to separate it from the rest of the amenities listed above. No matter the industry your business operates in, you’ll need to connect to the Internet at some point.
While most coworking spaces today offer Wi-Fi access to its members, the speed and quality vary. Whether you’ll only use it to send out emails or need it to back up large files to the cloud, stable Internet is a must. Although the Internet speed is often advertised initially, it’s best to test it yourself and make sure the connection is stable, fast, and reliable. Also, remember to keep your gadget safe if you’re using a public Wi-Fi.
When canvassing coworking offices, it’s important to ask about the flexibility of their space in terms of operating hours and expansion.
On one hand, if your business caters to clients from around the globe, it would b advantageous to choose an office that is open for use round the clock. On the other, if your business’ focus is to serve your local community, selecting a workspace that operates during regular working hours can be an economical choice.
Apart from operating hours, it is good foresight to know whether they allow ease of expansion once your team starts to grow. Be it simply an extra desk or a new private office, make sure your future business needs can be met.
Heads up: While some office spaces offer flexible and affordable membership terms and rates, others may increase your lease once it is up. Avoid being backed into a corner by thoroughly understanding your contract before finalizing your rental.
6. Office design, atmosphere, and environment
Nowadays, with a ton of coworking spaces out there, you have the freedom to choose from a wide variety of workplace designs—from cozy home office designs to open, sustainable green spaces.
While office design is vital in promoting collaboration, functionality is as important. You should also take into consideration your work style and the nature of your business to find the right space that fits your needs.
Do you often meet with your clients and give presentations? If so, look for a coworking space that offers well-equipped meeting rooms. Do you need a flexible space for your growing creative team? Then you’ll want to look into spaces with an open floor plan to inspire creativity, with a private and soundproof studio for your production needs.
The workplace environment is also a primary factor in assessing the best coworking space for you, as office temperature, lighting, and noise level can significantly affect your mood, productivity, and overall well-being. Make sure to check whether the standard temperature and lighting are right.
In terms of noise level, it will depend on your cup of tea. Do you thrive in a quiet workplace or are energized in an environment buzzing with life? Do you like working with some music or not really? Once you’ve got your preferences down, don’t forget to assess the general tone of potential coworking offices.
7. Community vibe and events
One of the benefits of coworking spaces includes being part of an awesome community of like-minded individuals with the urge to learn from each other, grow together, and thrive in today’s economic landscape. So, it’s important to know the vibe of people and start-ups operating in your soon-to-be workplace to ensure your philosophy and aspirations align with theirs.
Similarly, coworking spaces now regularly organize events in the interest of further fostering a sense of community. If you’re interested in gaining more exposure for your startup and meet thought leaders in your field, you should check out previous and future events in the space and see whether or not they speak to your interests.
Your potential coworking office may tick all the boxes, but does it have a good security system in place? Remember, your safety must always come first, which is why you must work to find a space that is focused on providing a secure workplace for you and your team.
Aside from surveying the area where the coworking space is located, you must also be aware of the security systems and business safety measures before signing your lease.
Indeed, you aim to pick the right space to move into—one that can help boost productivity, creativity, and collaboration. Make sure to do your research, read relevant reviews, and assess the space yourself. As much as possible, try to visit your top choices more than once.
Finding the best workspace for your business and setting up your office can be overwhelming. Needing to visit offices in your preferred location is understandably difficult, but it is rewarding is to find the perfect space for your company. When putting into consideration the list of things to look for in a coworking office, you’re bound to choose the best possible option well-suited to your needs.