Try a Coworking Space
A great coworking space is like your favourite pair of jeans - comfortable enough to wear every day.
The absolute gold standard in seeing whether a coworking space will be right for you is to try it on for size.
Making your decision from behind a keyboard at home is no good. There's more to a coworking space and community than just the photos you see online or the promise of free snacks.
Every space has a different feel, a different vibe and a variety of people which can subtly change the mood from day to day, depending on who's there.
The only real way get these feels is to go and see for yourself and talk with the residents there and the manager of the space.
Every good coworking space will offer a free trial day before you sign on the dotted line, and most will have times set aside to show you through and introduce you to the facilities and some of the residents.
Remember, you're not just subscribing to a desk, you're there for the community and the opportunities and benefits that it will bring - you'd better be sure that they are going to be right for you.
How do I know a Coworking Space is right for me?
Honestly, it could take a while.
Just like moving to a new neighbourhood, you'll only really know if you like it and whether you fit in with the locals if you're there a while. Like that pair of jeans, you need to break it in a little.
Though, there are a few things that will indicate whether you'll have a long and lasting relationship with a new community:
Does it do what you need it to do?
It may not have your cat or your favourite easy chair from home, though a coworking space should meet your basic needs for working:
- Is it close enough to commute every day?
- Is there paid parking that will add to your cost overheads?
- Is the WiFi fast enough for your work?
- Is there enough room on your desk to stretch out so you don't feel cramped?
- Are you far enough away from other people so as not to feel crowded?
- Do you feel comfortable leaving a laptop out while you nip to the loo?
- Is it too loud for you, or too quiet?
- Do you feel comfortable having professional conversations in the open space?
- Is there a kitchen and somewhere to get away from your desk?
- Can you take a break or go for a walk without having to pack everything up?
- Does it feel like you can trust the people there?
If you can answer these questions in the affirmative, you can move on to the more advanced requirements >
What will make your productivity soar?
This is a very subjective question as everyone's needs, activities and ambitions are different. Though, you can ask the questions when you trial a space as to how you can customise it to suit your working life:
- Can you bring your stuff in to work? Desktop computer, big monitors, desk toys, pot plants, your reference books etc.
- Can you access printers and scanners? For some people, this is still a must-have whilst others have embraced paperless.
- Can you get mail and deliveries sent to the office? Will parcels be accepted and held for you if you're not there? Does a business address that's not your home provide a better appearance to customers?
- Can you get an office phone number or extension? Mobile phones are great, though having a landline number can be great and potentially less of a radhaz! Will reception answer your calls if you're in a meeting and take a message?
- Are there interesting people or others in associated industries also working in the space? For example, if you're a mortgage broker, is there a real estate agent there that you can refer clients between?
- Can you bring clients into the space and are they likely to feel comfortable doing business around other people?
There are just a few considerations that can be important to prospective coworking residents. However, the most important question you need to ask yourself is:
Will this space and this community help me achieve my goals?