7 Steps to Finding the Perfect Coworking Space
Coworking spaces can be the ideal solution for remote workers looking for a place to get things done. So how do you choose the right coworking space for you? With so many options out there, the choice can be overwhelming. But if you follow a few simple steps, you can easily find the right place for your working style and your budget.
1. Figure out how much you’ll use it
Getting a membership to a coworking space is like getting a membership to a gym: it’s only worth it if you’re going to use it. Before you sign up anywhere, be honest with yourself about how much you’ll utilize the space. If you’re perfectly content and productive working from home, you might not need a coworking space at all! But if the amenities of a coworking space can help your business, make a list of the benefits you’re looking to gain from a membership. This will help you shop around for a space that will meet your needs without breaking the bank.
2. It’s all about location
Find a coworking space that’s in a convenient location—and it all depends on what “convenient” means to you. Maybe you’d prefer a short commute so you can quickly pop over and get work done when it’s hard to focus at home. Or maybe you’d like a cool neighborhood where you can meet friends or clients nearby for food or drinks. Or a space that’s easily accessible by public transportation. If you plan on hosting clients at your space, will they be able to get there easily? Figure out what makes a location great for your business, then use that to help you find a space in the perfect location. Because there’s nothing worse than an amazing office in a location you’ll never use.
3. Check out the amenities
Take stock of the amenities at each coworking option and make sure they have what your business needs. Whether you’re looking for basic office amenities, to be part of a bustling creative community, or just want to indulge in free coffee and snacks, make a list of what you’re looking for in a space. Then go out and find it. Make sure you clarify what your membership entails—is the coffee in the kitchen free, or does it cost extra? Will you have to pay to use the printer or to book conference rooms for meetings? Some locations will even provide mail services—for a price.
4. Try it out
You wouldn’t buy a car without a going for a test ride, so don’t commit to a coworking space before giving it a test of it’s own. Most spaces will let you hang out and get a feel for the place before you make a commitment to join. Really take advantage of this time—don’t just do a walk through, actually sit down and try to do some work. Do you feel comfortable enough to get things done? Does the noise level match your work preference? Is it too crowded? Too empty? Everyone has a different ideal working environment, so spend some time in the office and decide if it will work for you.
5. Determine a commitment level
If you work mostly on short-term projects and have trouble forecasting your revenue too far into the future, you might not want to commit to a full year membership at an expensive space. On the other hand, if you’re in a long-term contract with a big client, it may be advantageous to commit to a longer membership term to have a well-maintained space where you feel comfortable hosting meetings and can keep your clients happy. And if you can’t commit to a long-term plan, don’t worry. Most spaces offer monthly plans, and some even have “on demand” daily access. So ask about all your options before committing.
6. Find the right culture for you
These days, every coworking space is essentially a brand—and if you live in a major metropolitan area, you probably have at least a few to choose from. So find a place that matches your personal aesthetic and where you’ll be comfortable working. Another big perk of coworking spaces is the ability to network and attend events to expand your knowledge base and connect you with like-minded people. Ask for a calendar of upcoming events to see if any interest you. The more you use your space (even for events outside of work), the more bang you’ll be getting for your buck.
7. Think about budget
Last but not least—let’s talk money. As with any business decision, choosing a coworking space is a delicate balance between getting the space and amenities that your business needs, and getting them at a price your business can afford. If you’re just starting as a freelancer, think hard about your current money situation before paying a premium price for an upscale coworking space. On the other hand, if you’re in a good place with your career and have a solid roster of dependable clients, joining a more expensive space with lots of perks might be worth it. But only you can make that decision—so run some numbers and choose what’s best for your budget.