Considering branching out from your home office or cubicle and into a coworking space? Wondering what you should know before you make the plunge? Look through our comprehensive guide to learn what we think are the most important things to know before committing to a space.
When deciding what space best fits your needs one of the most obvious things to consider is price. Are you a startup with two, ten or fifty employees? Are you a freelancer attempting to gain traction in your industry? Coworking managers usually factor in amenities with their price tiers and there's likely one to fit your needs. Always consider all your options. Does this space that is more per month offer something that the cheaper space does not? How badly do you want that extra resource/amenity?
The other businesses in a coworking space play a large part in building and developing your own professional network. While competition between similar businesses is definitely not something to be take lightly, the major concern should be how other businesses contribute to the overall community. Some spaces have more niche communities than others. Coworking communities can be targeted toward specialized groups like artists, developers or scientists. While they might not necessarily brand themselves as an "Artist" or "Tech" space, you may want to analyze the companies to get a feel for it yourself. Remember, companies from different industries is not always a negative. They could end up being your customers in a way you had no expected.
Are the members engaged? Do they take advantage of networking opportunities? Relationships with other members is important in getting the most out of your community. Ideally you will be able to find a space that fits your resource needs and also cultivates a warm and welcoming environment.
Everyone has a level of expectation— wifi, printer, desk availability, free coffee. Do you have strong preferences about aspects of your work environment? Do you prefer a place with a fully stocked kitchen? Do you think modern interior design would make you more excited about your workplace? This is always something to consider when touring spaces. Ask yourself, "Yes they have what I need, but do they have what I want?"
Conference rooms are very important for conducting virtual and in-person meetings. The space you sign with should not only have adequate space, but a software cabable to handling room reservations and provide easy access to conference room availability.
Outside of conference room availability, one should also weigh the cost of reserving that space. A coworking space could have appropriate availability, but if reserving that space is out of you budget, that could effect your business. Spaces tend to have different approaches to conference room bookings. In some spaces there will be plans with built in cost for conference room usage and at others you will have a certain amount of hours to book per month and when you exceed that limit you will pay by the hour. If your company does not depend on frequent meetings this might not be a deal breaker for you. However, if you do this is something that could sway your decision on who to sign with.
Some spaces use softwares like slack while others have an "in-person" approach. Your space should provide ample tools for networking and communication to align with that. Choosing a community with poor communication channels can lead to an inhibiting member experience.
Your wifi stops working in the middle of a project. It's happened to all of us. Is there an FAQ section on your app/website that can walk you through these kind of issues? Make sure you join a space that has ample resources available for self-service so you don't have to depend on management.
If you find yourself in a situation choosing between two similar spaces, its always a good idea to figure out what makes each space unique. Is there something that one offers that is more fitting for your business? Maybe you can't pinpoint the unique quality that draws you to a space, but you immediately feel like your business would thrive in that community. Trust that feeling.
Many coworking spaces offer day passes, which gives someone who is indecisive the opportunity to be immersed in the experience of the space before having to commit to it. It doesn't hurt to ask. Many community managers are flexible and will accommodate your needs.
Once you have considered all of these questions, go with your heart. If you keep an open mind when joining a new community, odds are you will find a fun and engaging community to work in.