As everyone from small business owners to enterprises take advantage of this trend, many experts have shared their advice on what to look for when you’re choosing a coworking space.
Here are some of their tips, broken down into six quick pointers about the most important things to consider.
Where the space is located can be a make-or-break deal. Having to face an hour-long commute could cancel out the many other benefits of coworking, so be sure to choose an area that is ideally located for workers.
Also keep guests in mind. Downtown spaces are very convenient for hosting out-of-town clients who are most likely staying in that area. If there happen to be restaurants and coffee shops nearby, you’ll have hit the jackpot.
Staffing varies from space to space. For example, some coworking spaces have a receptionist; others don’t. If your workers will be hosting meetings with clients, and you’d like a space with a more traditional vibe, look at larger spaces. By virtue of their size, bigger coworking spaces require more attention and maintenance, meaning a larger number of staff (including a receptionist). If you don’t need all the bells and whistles, however, a smaller space would probably best fit your needs.
While you would think reliable Internet would be a given in this kind of environment, RocketSpace founder Duncan Logan says this is far from being the case.
To keep costs low, some spaces don’t invest in good Internet access, which can result in frustrating starts and stops for the people working there. How to avoid this? Look for spaces offering both wireless and “hard-wired” options, like Ethernet ports, and tech workers included in the staff.
Lease terms are also important to think about. Some spaces allow you to purchase space on an hourly, daily or monthly basis. (Hourly or daily can be a good choice for workers who travel a lot.) You should also ask about other factors that may affect price. Logan says that spaces looking to overcharge you may try to include “kitchen costs, out of hours access charges, Internet speed costs and meeting room costs.”
Will your coworker have the kind of space they need for their work to remain private? If they need to discuss confidential information with a client on the phone, where can they do so? Layout is key, because it can vary from cubicle farms to open-office. Some coworking spaces do have private offices where workers may set up shop and leave their belongings, which may be ideal for workers who don’t travel much and make confidential calls on a regular basis.
This tip is courtesy of Inspire Café’s Ben Walker: Learn how desks are reserved. Do tenants hot-desk, or are they allowed to claim one desk? While the latter would be fine for transient workers who may not need to be in an office all that much, having to clear their desks could be frustrating for those who need to use the coworking space on a more consistent basis. Also ask about the hours; is the space open during certain hours, or is it 24/7?
Like any major purchase, buying coworking space requires some careful thought and research. Avoid buyer’s remorse by keeping these six things in mind. They’ll make the selection process much easier.
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