In only a few years ahead (2020), global coworking spaces are projected to surge to over 25,000. Digitally enabled commercial hubs such as New York, London, and Tokyo may well have over 400 spaces, we even more spaces filling a hybrid or strictly shared office model.
For the coworking professional looking to find workspace, lets look at a few key factors that are now more than ever easy to drill down on and compare.
Your coworking space’s location can be a big factor in how much value you get out of your membership. Being located in a prestigious neighborhood can impress potential clients. Having conveniences within walking distance (or within a few minutes on your vehicle of choice) is a big plus as well.
For example, professionals at Gravitate, a coworking space in DesMoines, appreciate many nearby conveniences. Surrounded by parks, it’s easy for members to go for a stroll through nature and get exercise on their lunch break. A delicious treat is also never far away because the coworking distance is located just a few blocks away from a gourmet supermarket.
Checking where your potential coworking spaces are located can easily influence your decisions. Aside from being in a central part of town with many conveniences, you’ll also want your space to be near your accommodation if at all possible.
The availability and price of parking are also important considerations. In some cities parking can be scarce or pricey if not included in your coworking membership.
In many cultures people say that when you marry someone you also marry their family. Likewise, when you join a coworking space you also join its community. It’s important to understand that being surrounded by other entrepreneurs, digital nomads, and talented independent professionals is one of the biggest benefits of joining a coworking space.
Making friends at your coworking space and seeing others hustle to build their businesses will encourage you to come to work each day. The social aspect of working alongside people who “get” your entrepreneurial challenges will also help you avoid the feelings of isolation and loneliness that often arise when working independently.
Some coworking spaces such as Nomadlife even offer leisure activities like team volleyball for members to enjoy together. Brainstorming, collaborating, and networking are the big business advantages you’ll enjoy if you choose a coworking space with the right community.
Fortunately, finding a space with a great community isn’t too difficult. When deciding if a community is a good fit for you, you may want to ask yourself; of what professions are people at this workspace? Are my skills a good fit for this community? Does this space host regular events for members to network with each other? Will this space help drive and hone in my ambitions?
#3 Work Environment
Your surroundings and the amount of distractions they bring are a huge determinant of how quickly you’ll make progress on your projects. Working at a cafe often brings loud giggling gossip. On the other hand, family members and domestic tasks can’t help but call for you while working at home.
Coworking spaces have the potential to be affordable distraction-free workspaces, but they’re not perfect either. Some spaces bring excessive chatter from members collaborating on joint projects. Other spaces are too hot or cold to comfortably work for extended periods of time.
Perhaps most importantly, some spaces may not have your preferred type of seating. Not all coworking spaces have standing desks, ergonomic chairs, and beanbags. Yet, these types of seating arrangements have huge health benefits and the ability to greatly increase your productivity.
When trying to determine if a coworking space has a suitable work environment, visiting that space is the best way to find out.
Apart from a work environment that allows you to focus, it’s also important to find a coworking space that gives you everything else you need to maximize your work experience. Is free coffee a must for you? How’s the internet connection in the work area? Does your work often require you to have access to a printer, or Skype room for client calls?
These are all things to think about. The infrastructure and amenities a space provides can make or break its value proposition. Finding a coworking space that offers a membership plan that gives you everything you need to be productive, without offering a bunch of extras you’ll never use isn’t easy.
Of course, amenities don’t just help balance the work side of the work/life balance equation. Coworking amenities can be a lot of fun too. Someday, maybe, Springboard will offer outdoor trampolines for their members to jump on.
Membership fees and how much you’re willing to pay each month are fundamental in choosing a place to work. Memberships at premium spaces, with full access and amenities packages, massages and even fitness and living accommodations can go for several thousand dollars a month. This is a dream package for successful entrepreneurs wanting a great place to work, and expand their networks, but if you’re on a budget you may have to compromise on some things.
Likewise, it may be professionally limiting for someone with a six-figure income to work at a space with less comfort, amenities, network, that appeals to early stage professionals just starting out.
In short, you’re going to need to prioritize what you need from your coworking space to get the best return on your investment. Remember that environment is everything, and putting in the extra effort to find a space that is unique as you are will reward you handsomely in both your professional and social pursuits.
The post is written by Cameron Chardukian. He is a lead contributor and analyst at Coworker.com. Passionate about coworking, he is always writing or learning new things about it.