How To Find The Perfect Coworking Space For Your Business
Coworking spaces have been around for over a decade now. More specifically, the concept was founded back in 2005, by a guy named Brad Neuberg. He was owning a start up at that time and he felt the need to combine the sense of freedom his business gave him with the structure and community of a standard office. So he created the first coworking space ever, which was based in San Francisco.
His idea was highly appreciated. Other independent workers decided that they also need a smart casual space, where they can focus on their work, but also interact with other like-minded people and potential business partners.
As the entrepreneur and freelancer numbers continually grow, there are more and more coworking spaces available around the world. There is expected to be over 21,000 such places worldwide, by the end of this year.
To decide on one coworking space for your project can be a real challenge nowadays, since you have so many options, with so many diverse facilities, styles and concepts to choose from.
How different coworking spaces can be?
Well, the answer is `very different`. While some of them offer a complete set of services, others just provide you with a physical space and a few events, from time to time. They usually have that cool startup office design which is indeed luring a lot of freelancers.
In spite of the tempting looks, when you’re looking for a coworking space, you want to make sure that it can give you everything you need, in terms of usability and productivity.
Of course, conference room design is important and your #WorkGoals Instagram photos will look great. But what about community gatherings, high quality Internet services, printing, copying and so on? You can find all these facilities in places created by experienced teams, like CIC. They focus on all the entrepreneurial needs and they have a couple of locations both in the USA and Europe.
But let’s dive deep into the matter now and figure out what you actually need, shall we?
How To Choose The Proper Coworking Space (based on your actual needs)
Some people just rush into it and pick a random space near their home or in the city center. Sure, that seems like a fast and on-point approach. Go ahead, but you might end up packing your stuff and moving somewhere else sooner than you think.
Now, we already told you which are the essential elements of the ideal coworking space. What we want is to narrow down your options and help you choose the perfect office for your specific type of business.
1. If you own a start-up…
…congrats, you’re so brave! Your fresh out of the oven project needs a proper place to develop and turn into a beautiful business. You probably only have a few colleagues, maybe a team of minimum 3 and maximum 10 people so far.
Usually, what start ups need the most is connection. You want to brainstorm, collaborate and promote yourself. That’s why you should pay attention to the following aspects:
- Industry meet-ups and events
At this point, it’s essential for you to meet other entrepreneurs that operate in the same niche (or even in a different industry, why not?).
Get to know your community, your competitors and your potential partners. You can share ideas, relate to each other, learn and maybe even collaborate at some point in the future.
Check the calendar and make sure the space you’ve chosen organizes such events frequently.
- Playful and casual meeting rooms
You really want to avoid those big, cold rooms that shout lack of personality. Maybe they are useful for bigger companies, but a start up like yours needs something else.
A too large and plain meeting area will make your team seem small and that feeling can be intimidating. Instead, look for a coworking space that values conference room design and provides average sized rooms, specially designed for creative brainstorming and exiting teamwork.
- Price versus utility
When you have a start up, you want to invest your money wisely. While it’s totally okay to pay for a nice coworking space, it’s not okay to splurge on amenities you don’t even need.
For example, if the space provides you with ten large meeting rooms, 24/7 access and a huge parking lot only for your team, that’s a bit too much.
You only need one average room and your working hours are 9 to 5, so maybe you’d want to reconsider and get a cheaper option. This way, your finances can be invested in the right things, such as new projects and marketing.
2. If you are a freelancer…
…whoa, so cool! You are your own boss and you are owning it all. That means both freedom and responsibility. No matter what your activity is, you certainly need a comfortable, but productivity inducing space.
Watch out for these elements:
- Inspiring design that promotes focus and productivity
You definitely want to choose a place where you can detach from your personal stuff and fully concentrate on your projects. Otherwise, you could just work from your own home, without commuting and spending money on a coworking space.
That being said, we recommend you look for a place that really inspires you and fills you with energy. Maybe you love a minimalist office or a fancy desk with a nice city view. Whatever it is, search until you find it!
Before paying a monthly subscription, request a one-day pass or a trial period. This is important, because the atmosphere dictates your mood and productivity.
If you’re the person who can’t work unless he’s surrounded by background noise and music, you’ll hate a library-ish, silent space and vice versa.
- Hot desking
This is a term used for showing up at the coworking space and just taking any vacant seat you can find. While this option may not be so great for larger teams, it is ideal for a solopreneur or a freelancer.
It’s always cheaper and a constant change of scenery can boost your creativity. Pay attention, though, and ask the staff whether you’ll find an available spot every time or not. You really don’t want to commute for nothing on a critical day of work.
- Community events
Although they don’t seem to be essential, they can help you meet potential clients or investors, and maybe start some new projects together right away. Check the schedule and make sure you can participate to at least one or even two gatherings per month.
- Working hours
When you’re a freelancer, you most probably work exactly when you want to. That sounds cool, but we know it’s not that easy. Energy comes and goes, so it’s essential to check the schedule of the coworking space.
If you already drank your coffee by 7 AM and want to start working immediately, you have to make sure the office is open. The same goes for late working hours, when inspiration levels are high, way past midnight.
3. If you’re the CEO of a small business…
…being you must be so exciting! You already got a pretty large and strong team, maybe even a couple of different departments.
What your business needs is consistency, focus and productivity. You don’t want to get that classic cubicle type of office. You need a cool and casual place, but you still need the comfort and the facilities of a corporate environment.
Here’s what to take into consideration when choosing your coworking space:
- A wide range of facilities
When you’re a freelancer, you just need a laptop and maybe a few additional elements in order to work efficiently and safely. If you have a small business, you need more than that.
You need to make sure that you have secure storage spaces, for your documents and personal items, a printer and a copying machine. Moreover, if your company often gets or sends mail, reception services are also nice to have.
The last, but not least, is security. You want your employees to feel safe and sound, no matter the time of the day.
This time, it’s not only about you getting to the office easily, but your whole crew. Pick a working space that is easily accessible, located in the city center or in a frequently circulated area.
The central spaces may be super pricey (and also crowded!), but a well-connected area, right outside the urban center, remains an excellent option for your team.
- Proper conference rooms
Nothing compares to a professionally designed conference room. It can not be replaced by a coffee shop, a home office or a lounge area. Ever!
This is why, if you are the owner of a business, you need to have at least one of those rooms. Depending on your company’s size, you might need even more.
A perfect conference room must include quality speakers, screens, comfortable chairs, stable Internet connection, soundproof walls and good lighting. Make sure that your office provider ticks all the rules!
- Small, but important details for your employees
Opposed to a freelancer, a CEO – even of a small business – has a group focused thinking. You are working together with these people, so you need to give them a pleasant work environment, where they feel happy and motivated.
Think about free coffee and snacks, a lounge area and wellness activities, like after work yoga classes, massage or a gym membership. Many coworking spaces provide these services right there, in the building, making everyone’s day brighter and easier.
- People you’re sharing the space with
Make sure that the other companies or start ups that are working there are your kind of people. Google them (or stalk them on social media) and see who they are, before you move in with all of your stuff.
Maybe you’ll find similar businesses, partners you can collaborate with, or maybe there’s a super buzzy and noisy team of students organizing beer-infused `Happy Fridays` every week. These things are highly important, so don’t ever skip your research!
If you’re about to choose a coworking space, here’s a final pro tip for you: Always check online reviews and, if possible, ask people who already work there if they’re planning to stay. This will tell you all you need to know!
After all, whether you’re a freelancer, an entrepreneur or a CEO, remember how important your work environment is. It can change everything overnight and turn chaos into a flawless workflow. Be mindful and choose wisely, always based on your specific needs and wishes!