How to choose the best coworking space for you.
– 4 minute read –
With so many coworking spaces to choose from (there are now dozens in the Melbourne CBD alone), it can be difficult to decide which is right for you. Choosing the right space is incredibly important – whether you are a remote worker, a freelancer or an entrepreneur, the optimal coworking space can make you more productive, more creative and more successful, not to mention happier!
Here is a look at some of the most important factors to consider when choosing a coworking space. Of course, we are all individual and unique, and so the importance of each criterion will vary for everyone, and there will be some ineffable elements which will attract or repel you from certain spaces, but these factors will help you make a solid analysis when comparing different coworking spaces.
Don’t underestimate the importance of location in finding your ideal coworking space. A location which is easy (and affordable) for you to get to will mean you will use it more regularly and get better value from your membership. It is also important to consider if the space has all the services and facilities you need within an easy walking distance (or driving, depending on your situation). Depending on your business, it may also be advantageous to use a coworking space with an address which will impress clients, potential clients, and other business contacts, or perhaps is just easy for them to access if you are planning to use it to hold meetings. Also, have a think about work/life balance when selecting a CoWorking space. If the beach and parks is important for you, maybe the CBD isn’t the right fit for you.
There are many potential facilities and services which may or may not be offered by any given coworking space. These include on site car parking, car sharing services, private meeting spaces, equipment, administrative support and reception services. Depending on your requirement, some of these may be critically important to you, or may not be relevant at all. It is also worth considering if any of these factors, though not important right now, may become more important as your activities grow and expand. If at any point you may want to hold a confidential meeting or schedule a conference call, for example, the option to book a private meeting room may be an essential feature. In more general terms, you should also think about whether being able to reserve a dedicated workspace is (or may become) important to you, or if just-in-time seating will suffice.
It is also worth considering the potential yields from your coworking space in terms of being able to connect with peers, clients and collaborators. Some coworking has better community camaraderie than others, and some even provide formal networking opportunities such as social and business events, seminars, and other opportunities to increase your knowledge and gain support. Think about the type of community connected to the coworking space – in some case this is not overly specific, but in others where it may be dominated by software startups, creatives or entrepreneurs, for example. You should investigate not only the genre but the demographics of the space, to make sure it suits you.
Environment and surroundings
The space you work in can seriously impact your productivity and creativity, and therefore can make or break whether you are successful in your work. This will also depend on your working style and personality, but noise and distractions could be highly damaging to your work, and there is a wide variation in background noise in different coworking spaces. Noise is not the only factor which impacts on your work environment: there are also highly practical concerns such as the type of desks and seating available. The ergonomic chairs and standing desks which are available in some but not all coworking spaces could be highly beneficial not only to your work but also to your health.
Access and security
Other practical factors to think about include the hours of access to the coworking space. How limited are the hours that you can work in the space, and how does this fit your needs? Depending on your work, you may only need to use the space during normal business hours, or you could require more flexibility. You may also want to consider the security, especially if you are thinking about booking a dedicated workspace, and want to be able to leave items there overnight. In this case, you will want to ensure that the space has proper security systems and protocols in place.
Of course, as any professional, you have a budget to consider. You will need to determine how much you are willing to pay in membership fees. Part of this consideration should take into account the extra benefits, and therefore potential financial return, you will receive from more expensive spaces. The options for coworking spaces run the gamut from budget to luxury, so it is worth doing your research on this. Consider your coworking space as an investment, rather than expense, and work out what is the best investment for you at this stage of your business or career. Some coworking spaces offer monetary incentives such as a referral program, cash back options and discounted business services such as printing and car services.
Most co-working spaces offer their own unique benefits to their members, so make sure you check these out to see which extras may be most advantageous to you. For example, CoWork Me St Kilda offers a car share program, which includes a free car membership with GoGet, a $50 initial sign up credit and $10 credits per month. Our Members Incentive Program gives all our founding member the value of 1 months rent to spend on the services of a fellow CoWork Me member*, meaning every other person in the space is a potential customer with a credit to spend with you.