The traditional American office is going the way of the buffalo. In ten years, it’s estimated that a third of American workers will work remotely at least half of the time.
It’s obvious why working from home is attractive. You get to dress how you want, you can avoid the office chatterbox, your boss isn’t breathing over your shoulder…
But it also comes with its own challenges. For instance, it can be difficult to keep on task when no one is around to make sure that you are.
Many people have started trading the home office for a coworking space.
While coworking was a foreign concept ten years ago, the coworking movement continues to rise now, with spaces expanding and opening all the time.
But not every coworking space is the same. You might find that one space bolsters your productivity while another offers more distractions than your home does.
Here are seven things to think about before choosing a space!
Before you look at what’s available to you, you need to figure out what you need in a coworking space.
Are you looking for a quiet place to work in peace? Do you need other people around to help brainstorm? Do you need a flexible office where you can meet with clients uninterrupted?
Once you narrow down your needs, use that wish list to look for a coworking space that fits them.
Location, Location, Location
One of the most important things to consider is the location of the space.
There might be a space with amenities on top of amenities that has a great culture, but it’s in a sketchy location that’s difficult to find from the street. You probably won’t be able to meet with clients in such a space.
Or there might be a space where you can work well but the commute is so long that you lose the time you’d gain in productivity.
Before choosing a coworking space, think about what effect the location will have on your work.
Know Your Neighbor
Perhaps the biggest variable in coworking is the “co” part. Who are you sharing this shared workspace with?
While the community of coworkers will ebb and flow, you might find that—just like your old office—there are some personalities that affect your productivity one way or another.
Additionally, your neighbors in the space might offer valuable networking opportunities. If there is a local business owner that you’ve been wanting to get to know, sharing a workspace can be a fortuitous situation.
Get to know some of the tenants of the workspace before signing up.
An office is so much more than just four walls and a desk. For instance, the decor of a space can have a huge effect on your productivity.
Many coworking spaces offer additional amenities to help make their members as happy and productive as possible.
At a bare minimum, a coworking space should have wifi, reliable electricity, and a working HVAC system to keep members comfortable. However, some go even further.
Here are some amenities that you may want to look for:
- site security
- front desk services, such as mail and telephone relays
- shared pantry or cafeteria
- printing and copy machines
- private meeting rooms
- coffee and other refreshments
- IT support
Just as every coworking space offers different amenities, they all charge different rates for membership.
A coworking membership is a business expense like any other. As such, it should be considered with great seriousness.
Does the space add enough value to make up for the membership fee? Will a membership allow you to be more productive—and make more money—than if you worked from your home?
Look at your business budget and decide what you can afford. And remember: coworking memberships are tax-deductible.
One of the biggest benefits of working from home is the ability to set your own schedule. Working the traditional 9-to-5 schedule can actually hurt your productivity, so why not work when you’re actually productive?
However, if you’re working in a coworking space, you might find yourself forced to adjust your schedule to fit their operating hours.
While many coworking spaces operate 24-7, they may not offer certain amenities during off-hours. If you’re joining a space because of their helpful front desk staff, working there in the middle of the night might defeat the purpose.
Other spaces may be entirely closed during their off-hours. If a sudden burst of inspiration hits you in the middle of the night, you may be out of luck.
Coworking Space Culture
Regardless of amenities, hours, and location, every coworking space has its own culture.
This culture is a little more intangible than the rest of the factors: you may not be able to put it into words, but you can absolutely perceive it.
One coworking space may act as a hotbed of startups, while another is more laid back, given more to artists, writers, and crafters.
One may find its members wholly devoted to their own work while another has a constant murmur of small talk and collaboration.
Besides the day-to-day operations, a space might throw various events, such as member pot lucks, keynotes from influential figures, community service projects, or day trips.
Before committing to a membership at a coworking space, take some time to nail down the culture of the space.
Get to Coworking!
If you’re an entrepreneur or freelancer struggling to stay productive while working at home, a coworking space can be a great way to stay on track.
But choosing a coworking space isn’t a decision to be made lightly.
Once you’ve narrowed down what you’re looking for, search our directory for a coworking space near you!