Not all shared offices are created equal!
…and not all coworking spaces will provide the sort of experience that your business needs.
It can be a challenge to find the right space for your business at the right time in its growth journey.
This task is made so much simpler if you happen to be in the CBD or a dense suburban area as you should have a range of spaces to choose from.
Even if you don’t live and work in the city, this list should help you create a shortlist of coworking spaces that will suit your business:
1 – Is there room to grow?
Your business might need room to grow in the future, so it’s a good idea to consider a space that is flexible and adaptable to your business needs.
Some serviced office providers lock you into a contract for 6 or 12 months for a specific square meterage or number of desks.
A growing business might be better served with a month-to-month subscription and the option to secure more desk space as your business grows, or shrinks.
2 – Is the location convenient for clients?
This all depends on what kind of business you are running. For example, if you are running primarily a virtual or digital business (i.e, not bricks and mortar), then this would not be that important.
For a business that needs a physical presence, you may need a location that is easy to get to, comfortable for your clients, or you might want a space that has a private area for you to hold confidential client meetings.
3 – Does the office create the right image or send the right message?
Most businesses want a space that provides a professional look, though with a casual feel. Many corporate fit-outs these days aim for precisely that. Long gone is the rigid, corporate branded facade – Modern organisations want a space that is dynamic, modern, motivating and well-equipped. Your office or coworking space should be comfortable and aligned with how your business presents itself to the marketplace.
4 – Are there any hidden costs?
Be sure to check about any hidden or not specified costs. It’s great if you can find a location where everything is transparent and upfront, where you clearly know what you are paying for, what’s included and what’s not.
Also, be clear on what extras will cost, such as renting a meeting room or getting technical support.
5 – What is the parking situation?
You shouldn’t have to pay to go to work!
As ex-PM Bob Hawke once said, “Any boss who makes his workers pay for parking to go to work is a bum!” I may have paraphrased that quote, but I’m sure it’s mostly right…
It’s important to consider the amount of parking available at your potential new office space. If you have to drive to your shared office space, is there a place where you, your staff and your visitors can park conveniently?
6 – Is the office safe?
We’re not just talking about having the office up to building and fire and emergency standards, we’re also talking the potential for injury to yourself or your clients?
Ensure that your new space provides ergonomic office chairs, desks at a comfortable safe height and no trip hazards or obstacles that could cause problems – bonus points for being accessible to limited mobility or otherwise impaired folks.
Security for your gear is also a consideration – do you get to bring your big monitors and your filing cabinets into the office? What is the likelihood of someone walking out with it? Who has access to the office and how is this access monitored?
7 – Would I really consider sharing an office?
Coworking is finally becoming mainstream in Australia. People are finding that it’s actually really motivating to work alongside other friendly, like-minded folk from a variety of backgrounds.
A coworking space makes a lot of sense financially as well – especially if you’re at the stage in your journey where getting out of the home office is a motivating factor.
You can save a lot of money and heartache by embracing the idea of the shared workspace and allowing someone else to bear the risk of the commercial lease.