Choosing the Right Coworking Space for Freelancers
Many freelancers turn to coworking spaces to help keep themselves productive, network and meet people, and to have a reason to get out of the house. There are many great benefits to working out of a coworking space as opposed to a coffee shop. I try to find coworking spaces that specialize in hosting events for their members, have a good atmosphere from temperature to good lighting and ergonomic workstations, as well as having quiet areas to take calls. There are many different things to consider when choosing a coworking space, based on your needs.
There are several different online resources for looking into coworking spaces. Outside of Googling coworking space in your city, there are other websites that put all of the information you need into one place. Websites like coworker.com provide compiled information on pricing, amenities, and reviews from users to help make the research process easier.
Understand Your Needs
There are a lot of different factors to consider when choosing a coworking space depending on you. When I was a digital nomad I was finding new coworking spaces every 1-3 months as I switched cities. The things I looked for in a coworking space were different than when I'm living in a city for a longer period of time. Below are different areas for you to consider.
Nobody wants to have a long commute, so depending on where you're currently living, you should factor in how much time will it take you to get to the coworking space. Will you have to travel during peak traffic time? Is there one within walking distance? Understanding how the location will impact your desire to work from this space will be an important factor in the coworking spaces' sustainability.
Another consideration is parking. Will you have to drive and look for parking around the coworking space? If you have to add an additional 10-15 minutes circling around for parking, that might be more hassle than it's worth. Some places will offer parking but at an additional cost. In larger cities, this could be more than $100 a month for a parking spot. Understand your budget and the parking situation to eliminate sources of friction.
How much does the coworking space cost and what is included in it? There are an array of different types of coworking that can range from $125-$300+ per month for a hot desk. There are also some services like Spacious in NYC offer coworking spaces all around the city for one membership price.
Understanding the types of coworking options, from having a dedicated office space to a hot desk, and understanding, if there are quiet places to take calls, can be helpful when evaluating what you're getting for what price. Keep in mind that these expenses are tax-deductible.
There are also different types of pricing structures depending on the space. Some offer a number of hours per month, while others are a flat monthly fee for unlimited use. I personally prefer hourly amounts, but that seems to be more common outside of the US.
Having a good ambiance helps boost productivity. Things to consider are the lighting, temperature and desk situation. Is the coworking space a nice place to be? Will you be comfortable and be able to be productive in this space? Asking yourself these questions will help evaluate whether this coworking space is right for your needs.
If you’re selecting a hot desk over a defined office space how many hot desks are available? Is there variety in the areas that you’re allowed to sit? My current coworking spaces has only a few tables of hotdesks which make up maybe 20% of the open space. I prefer other coworking spaces I’ve been at that have more variety in environment.
Events are often a high priority for people who are focusing on building a community or a networking. Coworking spaces that host events several times a week is a great way to take breaks from work. These events can range from a new member orientation to after-hours events or organized lunches but can make a big difference in meeting more people. Additionally, it provides an opportunity to expand your professional network as well.
A lot of different coworking places offer different types of free inclusions. From free coffee, kombucha on tap, snacks, different coworking spaces offer different perks. Depending on your needs this is a good thing to consider, even though it's unlikely to be the deciding factor.
Once you've evaluated the different factors you want in a coworking space I recommend checking them out to choose what is best for you and your needs. There's no perfect solution, but getting a feel in person based on your list of desires will make it a lot easier to be confident in your decision.