The office used to be the be all and end all of working environments. Many businesses found themselves stuck in a small space, as the cost to expand is too big of an investment. If you weren’t stuck in a small traditional office space, you had set up a business from home, which had its limitations in terms of practicality and often left entrepreneurs prone to procrastination and loneliness.
Coworking has now changed the way we view a productive coworking environment. It provided a way for startups and entrepreneurs to gain all the practicality of an office, plus several other amenities for a fraction of the cost it would take one to lease their own space. The success and benefits of coworking have made it impossible to ignore and now we see a lot more than just entrepreneurs becoming coworking members, now enterprise-grade businesses are expanding their teams and hiring out large chunks of space to work in.
Currently, everyone is talking about the benefits of working in a coworking community. The problem is that the benefits of one coworking space aren’t necessarily the same as a different space. In fact if you pick the wrong coworking space, you’re likely wondering whether everything you’ve read about is actually true. To help you avoid this, we’ve pieced together the following guidelines to help you pick the right coworking space.
1. Cost Effectiveness
This is one of the major benefits you hear about with coworking. A coworking membership subscription is a lot cheaper than leasing an office or other traditional space. By coworking you are already saving money, but you should still consider how you can optimize cost efficiency. Ask yourself the following:
- What coworking space is closest to you?
- What coworking space is closest to most of your employees?
- How long will you need the space? Does the space offer weekly, monthly, yearly memberships?
- Does the space offer any deals for businesses wanting to take up a large space?
- What amenities does the space offer that will save you more money?
If you’re in a large city with multiple coworking spaces, one or two may be located better, have more suitable membership subscriptions or have preferrable amenities. Determine the opportunity cost now rather than later!
2. Check Facilities
Firstly, what facilities are you looking for? Are you only looking for a hot desk, a private office or suite, multi seat offices? Do you expect to need different types of seating? Will you need access to a meeting room and an events room?
With facilities you want to have the potential to use a range of spaces. As your business grows in the coworking space, you may want to use the coworking space for a range of reasons. You may find certain projects are better suited for a private office, while a more social hot desk will better suit others. You yourself may simply want a more private or social space from time to time.
When it comes to facilities you need to first ensure that you will gain access to the desk type(s) you’re looking for. Secondly, the space should have a space for you to bring clients and hold meetings with those external to your business.
Lastly, look at the state of the space itself. Is it clean? Do the chairs and desks look comfortable? Would your clients be comfortable with this space? In the desk themselves are impractical, your productivity will fall, better off looking for a more comfortable space!
3. Check Amenities
Amenities can seem just like nice extras, but they are really important. Every coworking space has amenities, so you should consider whether the amenities they have actually serve you.
Cover the most essential amenities first: a restroom, medical room, printing room, pantry and coffee machine (essential!). Then consider specialist rooms that are very important for certain staff (like daycares) and then finally move to slightly more “fun” spaces like a cafeteria, recreation room or gym. These are spaces that may align with your hobbies or can be used to help build team culture.
4. Check Accessibility
Many coworking spaces will claim they are accessible 24/7. It’s important you find out what is actually accessible outside normal working hours. It’s unlikely all amenities are actually available at that time, it’s also unlikely the entire working space is also available. Because of reduced numbers at later hours, it’s more likely a certain space will be sectioned off for members working outside normal hours. So, check what’s actually accessible during later hours so you don’t end up disappointed.
5. What Security Do They Provide?
You want to ensure you or your employees will be kept safe, as well as your businesses’ privacy. Coworking spaces should have some sort of security system that makes sure only members are going in and out of the building. Internet should be private and well-secured, and any communal devices should have a secure login system.
6. Fast Internet Connection
It’s 2020, every business needs easy access to the internet and it needs to be fast. Time spent waiting for things to load is potential for you or your team to lose focus. If the internet isn’t fast or can’t handle a lot of coworking members working simultaneously, avoid this coworking space.
7. Thoroughly Read Your Contract
Standard practice for any contracts really. Take the time to read through anything, are there any hidden agendas? Can you be billed extra expenses if you use a certain amenity or facility? Is there a trial period you can use? You want to learn as much as possible about the space before you sign anything, the more you’re unaware of, the more likely that space will turn out to be the wrong fit for you.
If a coworking space you’re considering does offer a free trial period. It’s important you gain a good idea of what a Coworking workday is like . This will give you an idea of how people like to work, where they’re likely to sit and how social they’re likely to be.
8. Discover Who You Will Be Sharing the Space With
Many freelancers or businesses will look to share the space with similar parties. This way, they can provide solutions for each other. Corporations now have employees migrating to coworking spaces so that they can find new business ideas and look for recruitment or partnering opportunities.
Other than business benefits, coworking is about connecting with like-minded people on a social level. If there’s a trial period, get the feel of the space socially and interact with others if you want. Some coworking spaces will encourage this by holding small coffee break events for people to socialize. Whether you want more social opportunity or not, generally it’s simply reassuring to know that those you’ll be sharing the space with are respectful and considerate.
Begin Your Search
Coworking is constantly expanding and is changing what we think of a traditional working environment. This has provided a platform for many new business ideas as well as for a generation of workers experiencing greater productivity and improved well being.
To help you in your search or at least provide an example of a great coworking space, we recommend viewing Zioks coworking. They have a diverse range of facilities and amenities and are set to be one of the premium coworking spaces in Kolkata.