There’s a lot to take into consideration when choosing a coworking space for yourself. Whether you are used to the freelancing life or have just taken the plunge, started your journey as an entrepreneur or are busy handling your dream-team of your dream venture – your new routine requires you to have the ideal workplace.
The best coworking space should be able to attend to every need, answer every query and most importantly, let you work on your goals irrespective of your field or profession. And by that we mean, the best coworking space equals freelancers, entrepreneurs, startups ahoy!
Before choosing a coworking space, ask yourself the following questions to see if the place you have in mind will contribute to your work (and life) in the most effective way possible.
1) Is It Economical?
Unfortunately, money tends to become the primary factor for most decisions. While spending one evening or even a day at Starbucks writing your script might be nice, doing the same every week might not be easy on the pocket. If you are a one-man army (i.e., a freelancer), then your needs and consequently the cost will be different. And staying away from the stifling-but-dependable salary a traditional job offer is bound to make your wallet take a hit.
If you have a battalion comprising of harbingers of change, then the stakes are a little bit higher. You need to realize your goal, your team is supporting you but you can’t afford to run out of fuel (read=money) before you have even left the barracks. Especially if you’re a startup that is yet to secure funding. So cross-check to see if your favourite coworking space offers-
- A low price point to start with,
- various plans that you or your team can subscribe to depending upon the frequency of your visits,
- will let you change your plan in the future (depending upon your business, the size of your team or any other factor)
Flexibility for your payment plans is vital. Which leads us to the next point –
2) Does It Help With Time Management?
A coworking space where you need to work on a daily, weekly or a monthly basis needs to have flexible timings. While most freelancers use coworking spaces and have a set routine (despite what others may think!), you may want to switch up your working hours. So choosing a space which offers flexible timings or longer working hours are non-negotiable points.
Is the coworking space of your choice easily accessible and close by, cutting down travel time (one of the main reasons people prefer coworking spaces)?
Choosing a coworking space that you are familiar with would be an asset for you. Which brings us to the next point –
3) Does It Have Good Location?
Location is important for every business in every field, but it is absolutely vital for coworking spaces and its users, otherwise, the whole concept becomes a moot point.
The same is applicable to entrepreneurs as well. If you are just starting out and have a small team where people are constantly coming and going from the “office” space, you need to know that the space will accommodate.
Can your coworking space accommodate your team meeting of say, 15-20 people? Can they give you an area where only one or two departments might have to work? Flexibility is important for all but essential for those entrepreneurs and startups who are just starting out.
Let’s take flexibility a step further and check – does your coworking space of choice have multiple spaces within a city? Or is it present in multiple cities? When business is booming for you, the need for travel can crop up.
Can it be easily located for interviews and meetings with prospective clients or employees? Is it centrally located so that your team can converge at one point? Or alternately, can your team work out of a chain of coworking spaces, that’s present in all prominent locations?
The coworking space itself and its locations are prime factors to be considered as safety itself is a top priority. And speaking of safety –
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4) Is It Safe?
Safety is paramount, especially for women choosing to work out of coworking spaces. There’s no point in charting out a whole routine with timings other than 9-5 if you can’t implement them due to safety issues. And if you are responsible for a team, then this becomes a hot point while choosing a coworking space as the safety concerns for your team fall on you.
So check if the coworking place that you have narrowed down is located in a safe, well-populated and well-located area. Where working late at night or calling down clients and/or employees will not pose a problem.
The travel to and fro from the coworking space and how connected they are also become an important point to consider here. Additionally, check if the coworking space offers any special security measures for women.
5) Does It Have Good Infrastructure?
Simply put, does the outside match the inside? Of course, it is unlikely that if the outside resembles a mall, then the inside will have cracks in the wall and a roof that caves in. But by infrastructure, we don’t just mean it literally. Visit the coworking space for yourself and see – does it offer all the basics of an office?
All the fundamental office stationary is usually available but always ask and check that all the basics are present – such as wifi (ideally, free!), office stationery, printers, scanners and more? Does it have an ideal and optimal work environment? Is the ambience conducive to get the creative juices flowing?
6) Is It Ambient?
This point is something that must be addressed here separately (fun fact: even while this article was being researched and written, all of us here at myHQ were gung-ho on this! And we were adamant that this point be given its due importance).
Once again, let’s go back to our reason for taking the road less travelled. Part of the reason why it’s so easy to feel bogged down and trapped in our offices is due to our environment where we spend our days. And if you are a creative person or an entrepreneur in dire need of inspiration, then the drab white or grey walls will only drown you further.
There’s a reason why cafe’s offer a certain soothing and relaxing decor or why startup offices are “cool”, complete with bean bags and motivational posters splashed across the walls. Coworking spaces fall somewhere in between and thus, try and offer the perfect work environment.
When you crash and burn because of that dreaded writer’s block or feel demotivated along with your team – you’ll be surprised at how an aesthetically pleasing work space can come to your rescue!
7) Does It Have An Inclusive Environment?
The road less travelled taken by courageous entrepreneurs and freelancers can be quite lonely. There will be lots of facetime with a mobile screen or a laptop and almost none with an actual face. So it is incredibly important to be a part of a community where you can grow, support and find support as well.
For a freelancer, this is vital as this puts you in direct contact with not only future employers but collaborators and team-mates as well. And startups tend to thrive here as they can learn from other startups and create meaningful networks that could help them rise (and in turn, help others rise up as well).
There’s nothing that could help you and your business grow faster than learning from your peers. Community mixers and events offer this opportunity. You can find your inspiration or a solution to your current problem from the unlikeliest sources! (Speaking from personal experience I, a writer, managed to find a solution to a software problem from startup founder who was also a pro with all things software-related. And guess where? Why, at a myHQ community event of course!)
“You are the average of the five people you most associate with”, proclaimed Tim Ferris. So if you are an entrepreneur or a freelancer, wouldn’t you want to spend your time with people who are in constant pursuit of success in a similar field?
8) Does It Cater To Your Needs?
Every single individual using a coworking space will inevitably have different needs while working. The best coworking space which you ultimately decide to make your second home should offer you your lifelines and so much more.
Some users could have very specific needs such as an exclusive work zone or a pocket-friendly plan. In that case, they can look for a coworking space which not only offers their favourite beverages and healthy snacks but also get credits or redeemable points on your bill.
Maybe they need a buzzing workplace to get the creative juices flowing or a calm work zone with a Rest ‘n’ Relaxation area to de-compress with ease. Easy access to meeting rooms for client or employee meetings, of course, put the cherry on the cake!
On the other hand, users with very specific needs such as virtual office, mail services, locker system and exclusive work zones for their themselves or their teams should also be welcomed and accommodated. The best coworking space should be well-prepared and equipped to deal with a variety of people and their needs as well.
You have already taken the first step by choosing the digital nomad life and breaking free from the 9-5 prison. So why not choose the best coworking space to work keeping these points in mind and be well on your way to success?
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