If you’re a budding entrepreneur, or owner of a small enterprise, or run an organization; and looking for an office space that matches well your brand image or fulfils to add to the repute then a trending co-working space is where you should be heading to.
Getting involved with the procedural hassles of talking to the commercial real estate landlords and building owners is cumbersome, and frankly, nobody wants to get into it.
This is where co-working spaces appear like a silver lining.
Loaded with perks and facilities that go beyond traditional office space and confined within an unmatched décor, co-working spaces have become the new trend in office spaces. And, everybody wants to experience working in it.
The vibe, the energy, and the unparalleled motivation are just a few intangibles that propel professionals and companies toward it. Such is the fad that even structured organizations are moving away from establishing separate office buildings and marching towards reserving seats for their employees in a shared office. Everybody loves the ambience, the deduction of hectic maintenance management and costs, and being open to newer opportunities.
But, is finding a co-working company that simple?
Choosing a coworking space is no easy task. There are probably thousands of coworking spaces present around the world. The concept of shared offices or “coworking” gained grounds in the late ’90s. In India, Regus opened their first office in 2004, and it took almost nine years for the first major coworking brand, 91Springboard, to get recognition in the market.
Since then, the story has changed for the better, as the market of coworking spaces kept looking brighter and promising. With each passing year, new spaces are coming up. Even Tier-II cities are enjoying the momentum, as the major providers are making their presence felt.
Taking a boomerang from its growth, how critical can it be for the professionals to decide on a workspace that is not only unique but also fitting in fulfilling their personal expectations? Some might just keep the work environment on their priority, while some may keep the price structure of a coworking space as their agenda for looking out; and other can also consider other points like the generation of creativity, work output, and professional fulfilment.
Luckily, unlike traditional office setups, coworking offices come with a tremendous USP of options.
This is nothing but pure bliss.
Where, a few years ago, a one-size-fits-all approach in selecting coworking spaces was being undertaken’ today people have the liberty to customize work areas suiting to their needs. This has left many freelancers and entrepreneurs using alternative workspaces, but ultimately the need for growth and competition led them to decide on a particular place due to the lack of other factors.
Therefore, to come to a sound decision here are 10 questions that you should be answering for finding best coworking company that fits your professional needs;
- What are the costings involved?
According to a Deskmag survey, only 40% of all coworking spaces are profitable. Which means, the management will try their best to cover up the additional costs of running the space, either as operational expenditure hidden behind monthly rentals or added as a cost of an additional perk. The highest and hidden cost of managing a coworking space lies in building and retaining the right team. To avoid staff turnovers, coworking spaces charge a lot of money from its existing members.
If you fancy yourself inside a swanky coworking space, prepare before to spend money. Your priority should be on picking coworking spaces that fit your budget and needs, instead of future networking and opportunities. If space has already begun to suffice your initial demands, half the road has already been travelled then. You’ll start meeting like-minded folks and create new avenues of work because you’ll not worry about the expenses.
- Which facilities are included?
The decision of choosing a co-working space, was only because you wanted better amenities and facilities, sans the risks of running them. In this light, the amenities offered at a coworking space should match the operations you run.
Every space offer an array of basic amenities within their package like maintenance (that includes janitorial and technical support), security, internet, meeting/conference areas, stationaries and printer services, pantry/cafeteria area, power backup, parking lot, good AC and heating, storage and lockers, front-desk and mailing address, and few others.
Apart from the basics, you should be looking at any specific facility. Like for e.g. when large organizations take up seats, they look for privacy at the workplace. Therefore, providers assist them with a perhaps a separate floor, or an entire location. Similarly, digital nomads look for a plug-and-play environment where they can just sit for a few hours, wrap things up and get going.
- How committed are the providers?
When finalizing a coworking space, it is crucial to know how strongly the providers look ahead on fulfilling customers’ needs. If there aren’t flexible in bending the process for in terms of rules, timings, or future expansions, they could possibly be eyeing on a particular set of audience. Sometimes, a few coworking spaces might just be well suited for freelancers, while some may only focus on startups and bring in auxiliary services accordingly.
Zero-in on a space that ideally stays open, mainly because it is that one place where you can work anytime. A coworking space’s commitment toward the members is seen when they stay open 24×7, work on suggestions in uplifting the community, add people from various background and encourage others to mingle, and so on. After all, it shouldn’t be just about work timings but make timings work for members.
- How often would you use it?
Always go for a free-trial pass before signing-in. That’s the rule of thumb.
It will help you determine how often you would like to be there. If you’re a full-time freelancer, you would probably be needing the facility for roughly 5-6 hours in a day. On the other hand, startups could spend an entire day working on multiple projects.
The decision purely depends on how you want it. If moving to a coworking space was just to break the monotony of working from a home-office setup, then you might want to look for decent spaces than funky or trendy ones. If you are consecutively meeting clients then a crafty setup would be ideal to spend more hours and lay positive impressions.
Some companies even select coworking spaces for say, a weekend group meeting, because they’re too flabbergasted by the ambiences and vibe.
- What’s the noise level?
Frankly, nobody likes distractions at work.
Determine the noise/distractions at coworking spaces by frequent visits. Check if space has a night-club vibe. If everyone is in a party mood, you might not be able to focus much if there’s an important project at hand. It should also be not relatively quiet. Why else would you like to work from there? The mix of vibrant yet focused community works best for a majority of coworking members. Even factors like too much brightness or too chilly atmosphere dwindle the decision of finalizing a coworking space.
If you’re a newcomer, take out time to talk to other members about any existing issues. Chances are there would be a couple of nosy folks who probably don’t understand the difference between right networking and overdoing. Some may even find regular events as distractions, no matter how informative or engaging they are.
The continuous movement of people in the pantry, around the desks, or the noise inside the playrooms can also be counted as distractions. So your discretion becomes highly important while selecting a coworking space.
- How’s the office lighting?
Lighting is a major component when it comes to the design of a coworking space. Smart use of office lighting is both, boon and bane, in finding your right work mood. Rightly placed and designed lighting helps in setting the right tone and ambience of the workspace. A little too bright or a little too dim can shift the ambience from an energetic workplace to a side alley pub.
Point to be noted is that since most of the coworking members are young, knowledgeable individuals, energy conservation and use of natural light at the workplace become debatable. Several coworking spaces, seeing the same, offer both open terraces and roof-top work areas along with enclosed booths and pods, where the members can work peacefully.
- Does it meet my ergonomic needs?
You’re going to stay happy in your workplace only when the furniture is equally good. And, when you’re happy, you’re going to generate more output!
Uncomfortable office furniture is not only deplorable for your efficiency but also your health. That is the reason why coworking spaces prefer having ergonomic furniture. Some might ignore it and just focus on its aesthetics, but it shouldn’t be the case when selecting a shared office as your next workspace.
Considering the prolonged hours that people spend on their seats, and its appalling health consequences; it can be quite distressful when the furniture isn’t right. Coworking offices select furniture that matches their business theme and décor, but it should also match the right ergonomics.
Gym balls, treadmill desks, standing desks, transforming furniture; and the list goes on – there’s a lot to see in coworking spaces and it’s fun to use too!
- How’s the community vibe?
If you like the community environment that syncs with your company culture, there’s nothing better. Many coworking spaces are built in a way that attracts like-minded people, so finding your next business partner or big client gets or making new associates becomes easy.
Great community culture also fosters greater learning. While sitting in a cubicle you can perhaps chug a good amount of information from the internet; but when you meet real people with real expertise from the fields you didn’t know much about, the information turns into knowledge.
The engaging networking events, grooming sessions, expert meetups, open pitching days, and more, are just a few of the reasons why community vibe should stay on the top of your priorities.
- Who are the other members?
Take some out in finding the members you’ll be probably interacting with. While some may love networking, not many would be interested in coming forward. It is, therefore, important to understand the nature of people. It is the same crowd that makes a successful community.
Your agenda might not be to make life-long friends, but the members can be good sources of your work. Sometimes, the task of maintaining healthy work relationships could be cumbersome and distracting, and that totally depends on the quality of people within a coworking space.
Keep in mind that coworking does not necessarily mean you have to fake a smile the moment you’re in there. It’s your place of work and it should propel free-thinking and unbiased judgements, without the intention of hurting emotions or befriending others.
- How easy is it to commute?
Is your coworking space located within the periphery of your home? Or, is it near to your customers’ offices? Deciding on both factors will determine how many hours you’re spending on your daily commute.
If it takes more than 2 hours (to and fro) from your house to make to the coworking space (just because your potential clients are situated in the vicinity) you might be spending your future expansion money. No doubt, proximity is important, but walk away from the popular belief, your ideal commute is no commute at all. While some may find their daily commute as separation from their daily tasks, others (especially remote workers) may take it as a pause from their tight schedule and may want to get back to work asap.
The deciding on the location of your coworking space, think about the conveniences and problem areas you had while working from home. Many coworking spaces may also introduce you to other networks of skill-building, hobby nurturing etc. which can be freely accessed. It helps in bridging the commute gap.
The concept of shared workspaces and coworking offices are popping up across the globe, and finding the next destination for your work becomes an ever-important factor in its long term development and profitability. Don’t shy away from asking these pool of questions. With these, the majority of your speculations, doubts and confusions will go away, and you’ll be to evaluate and make a clearer decision with your coworking options.