What to look for in a coworking space?
Not all coworking spaces and communities are alike, here are some things to think about when choosing a coworking space.
Coworking spaces come in a wide range of shapes, sizes and feel! One space might work for you, while the next may not. Everyone is different and what you need from a coworking space will depend on your job, your working style, your aesthetic preferences and your social disposition. Here are some things to consider when choosing a coworking space.
Coworking spaces come in lots of different sizes, from small town community-oriented spaces like INDY MTNS to large spaces catering to corporates and startups that span multiple floors in CBD office buildings. Larger coworking spaces are more likely to offer private offices and some offer private suites to house large teams.
Bigger spaces will have a range of options for meetings including formal meeting rooms and informal breakout spaces that are sufficiently private for meetings. Smaller spaces may also have meeting rooms and breakout spaces. When choosing a coworking location make sure there are enough meeting options for the number of members in the space.
When you take a tour of the space (definitely do this before signing up) you’ll get a sense of the vibe. Every coworking space has one. Is it vibrant? Techy? Creative? Homey? Dull? Most importantly, does it suit you? Will you be inspired to work in the space?
Coworking spaces are as much about community as they are about the physical space. In fact, many would say that the community is far more important. When choosing a coworking community it is important to take a tour and meet the community manager. This is the person who looks after the day-to-day running of the space and sets the tone of how people interact with each other. Do they introduce you to some members on your tour? Are they friendly? Can you see yourself working alongside them?
Importantly, is the community broad? Or is it predominantly niche targeted? Will your business benefit from connecting with the range and type of businesses using the space? Will you personally feel comfortable within this community? It is important for you that the answer is ‘yes’.
Most coworking spaces will have a range of membership packages to suit different types of businesses and people. The most common membership options are fulltime with a dedicated desk or private office, and part time with access to a hotdesk area. Some membership packages are all inclusive, while others are starter packages with optional extras. Memberships are typically month-to-month with no long-term lock in period.
Some coworking spaces will offer ‘pay-as-you-go’ and drop-in rates in addition to monthly membership plans. These can be a great way to test out coworking to make sure it is right for you before committing to a monthly membership.
INDY MTNS also offers virtual office memberships and community access memberships for individuals and businesses that do not need office space for daily work.
Location, location, location! That’s what they say! Often it is the location of a coworking space that makes all the difference. It could be that it is simply close to where you live – so close that the convenience makes everything pale in comparison. Also worth considering is the coworking space’s proximity to shops, cafes, post office, chemist, banks, all day parking and other local conveniences. Being close to shops can make ‘life tasks’ easily achievable during coffee breaks, lunch or after work.
And the neighbourhood? Is it a professional setting for clients to visit? Is it accessible by public transport? Are there places for clients to park?
If a coworking space ticks all these boxes then it is ideally situated for convenience. This can be hugely beneficial to its members.
The range of facilities offered within a coworking space will vary considerably and will impact the affordability of membership plans. Facilities can include business concierge, business address services and mail handling, phone booths, sit/stand desks, high speed WIFI, dedicated phone lines, scheduled hard drive backups, printing, copying and scanning, parking, storage lockers, bike storage, end of trip facilities (showers and towels), and complimentary beverages and snacks. Some spaces may even have in-house cafes and podcast recording studios.
One thing that is a must is to test out the office chairs. You’ll be sitting on them for hours each day and it’s an absolute must that they are comfortable and ergonomical.
Importantly, what do you need for your business? Choose a space that has what you need, but not more – otherwise you’ll be paying for facilities you do not need within your membership fees.
Some coworking spaces are more social than others and host regular networking events for members to connect such as drinks every Friday night. You might love Friday night drinks as a way to ease into your busy weekend, or you might prefer to escape at 4pm to curl up under your duvet. Most spaces will promote their social events on their websites and it is worth taking a look at what they offer to make sure it is a fit for you.