With the rapidly increasing popularity of coworking spaces, organizations of all types, sizes and industries have come to realize the many benefits of moving into a coworking space.
However, like everything in life, not all coworking spaces are made equal. Different service providers focus on different aspects and benefits of coworking spaces, which makes a significant, albeit intangible impact on how your organization functions.
Through this post, we will help you to choose the perfect coworking space that’s best suited for your business needs.
However, if you’re new to the concept of coworking places, fret not, for we will be explaining the basics of what coworking spaces are, the different benefits that these coworking spaces offer, before giving you a step-by-step method for you to choose the right Coworking Space
What is a Coworking Space?
Coworking spaces, as the name suggests, offer you and your employees a space to work from, in a formal setting, completely managed by a coworking service provider that you choose.
You can avail yourself of all the amenities that you’ll find in a traditional office space – desks to work from, canteens and beverage stations, parking lots, high-speed internet, printer facilities, training rooms, meeting rooms, relaxation and recreation areas, among others.
However, unlike traditional office spaces, these coworking spaces allow you to share these resources with other organizations that are subscribed to the same coworking service provider.
Coworking spaces are all about shared services, greater access to a community of professionals and endless networking and collaboration, making it ideal for flexible offerings.
For instance, if you require only two desks for your team of two, you will be paying only for the two seats, instead of paying rent for the whole building. As and when you choose to expand your team, you will be able to add on more seats, making it ideal for scaling as well.
In a traditional office environment, your business either purchases or rents a building and makes it suitable for employment. However, the down payment involved, apart from the time and resources required to maintain the building properly can be better utilized by your business by focusing on your core operations.
Moreover, with traditional offices, where you are surrounded by only the employees of your organization, you miss out on networking opportunities.
Now that we are clear on what coworking spaces are, and why you might want to shift your business to one, let us move on to the next steps – choosing the coworking space that’s perfect for your business needs. It’s very crucial to understand these next steps in order to make an informed decision.
As a user, you must be aware of certain factors (explained in the next steps) so that while comparing different players you can have a clear understanding of things that are absolutely crucial to you. It could be anything from-
- Cost per seat
- Community & networking opportunities
- Premiumness of the building and area
- Ambience of the space
- Privacy, etc.
There are just a few common things to consider while choosing the right workspace for yourself. Read ahead to know more of these factors and some other uncommon one’s that are important but often overlooked step 3.
How to Choose the Ideal Coworking Space
Choosing the ideal coworking space for your business is quite like deciding what career to pursue or what stream to take. It naturally takes time and you come to a decision upon a lot of thought, comparison and things you’re strong in.
Similarly, choosing a coworking space also comes with its comparisions and things that will make them standout from others based on your requirements. In fact, if you follow this step-by-step guide, you’ll know exactly what type of coworking space that you’re looking for.
STEP 1: Calculating your Cost Per Seat / Monthly Budget
As mentioned earlier, coworking spaces allow for your business to pay only for the seats that you use. In order to assess what coworking space is ideal for you, it is important for you to calculate your current cost per seat, and extrapolate that data into choosing the ideal coworking space.
Calculating your cost per seat is really simple – the below mentioned points are the most basic one’s to keep in mind to include in your calculations.
- Calculate all Rent + Tax + Building Maintenance
- All the other months expenditure (Tea/coffee, internet, housekeeping, etc.)
- Other miscellaneous expenditure
- Calculate the total cost and divide by the strength (number of employees)
The number you arrive at is your current cost per seat. Use this number as a base to make decisions on how much you’re willing to pay for a coworking space.
STEP 2: Narrow Down on Location
The next step is to choose the ideal location for your business. It is important for you to understand the nature of your business and your industry. If it is required for your business to stay in particular localities for success (say, being physically near to your customers is essential), you’ll obviously have to choose that location.
However, if there is no such necessity, prioritize the comfort of your team members. Run a quick survey within your team, and get to know what areas they prefer. Make educated guesses on where you’ll be hiring future recruits from, even if it comes at the cost of being distant from your place of residence.
Find yourself a map of the city, and create highlights on the most popular area from the survey. If there are multiple areas, give higher preference to the location that you deem is more “premium” and suitable for your business. Make sure that necessary amenities and locations – like parking, public transport, hospitals, food joints, etc, are adequately available in the area that you choose.
Once you’ve decided on the location, start asking around, run a Google search, and list out the coworking spaces that offer the services that you need within that locale.
STEP 3: List Down Players and Compare them
Once you’ve listed down the different spaces available, it’s time for you to compare the different offerings that are available. Think about the important needs for your business, and some additional benefits that you don’t necessarily need (but would be very nice to have).
The number of factors that affect your decision, and the weightage that you can attach to these different factors is extremely subjective. It depends on you, your business and your industry, among others. However, we can help you out by giving you a list of important factors, both common and overlooked, that will help you choose the correct coworking space.
Common Factors While Choosing the Right Coworking Space
Cost Per Seat
The money you pay is obviously the first thing that comes to your mind. Compare it with your base cost per seat that you’d calculated during step 1.
Privacy in office is extremely crucial but it’s also subjective. While many freelancers and entrepreneurs might not need a separate cabin, other professional would look for a more quieter and private space. Anyone looking for privacy can opt for enclosed cabins and or ask their service provider for other options to maintain their privacy.
Proximity From Public Transport
All your employees (and customers, for that matter) might not prefer travelling to the workspace in their personal vehicles. Proximity from public transport becomes essential. A freelancer might consider a coworking space closer to their residence but for a small team they might consider everyone’s convenience. Still, as this is a subjective factor you might want to consider the set up costs and weight in the advantages.
Premiumness of the Area
Having your business set up in a premium area can have big-time cost impact, but it could benefit you in others ways of connecting you to better business prospects. Before you consider this factor make sure you weigh in the advantages and the downsides based on your business’ need and the comfort of your team.
Premiumness of the building
The first impression that you create, regardless of whether it’s for employees, clients, investors is very important. Corporate buildings are recommended over building with retail shops.
Community and Networking Opportunities
Community has become a crucial factor while choosing the right coworking space. It is not just about working with a group of people in the same place but working with the right set of networks that will help you grow your business. Consider the quality of your prospect community and how it will help you access the right set of networks for future possibilities.
Ambience and Furniture Quality
Quality infrastructure, state-of-the-art furniture, and a stimulating ambience can go a long way in increasing the comfort of your team, and in extension, their productivity. It’s also extremely crucial to have a well designed office infrastructure to support your brand identity and presence among the clients that visit your space.
Most Overlooked Factors while Choosing the Right Coworking Space
These might seem unimportant but turn out to be the most crucial turning points once you start working out of your coworking space.
Ensure that the space follows all the necessary regulatory requirements, and has proper fire and safety systems in place. You do not want to work in a coworking space that does not follow common compliances to keep their tenants safe.
IT infrastructure and Set Up
All coworking spaces offer free internet. That’s not where the buck stops though, ensure the bandwidth is adequate, backup facilities are proper and firewall is in place and if they provide servers for you to store private data. As a coworker you do not want your private data to be hacked or lost, thus it becomes crucial to know if they provide these facilities.
Tech to Manage Space
Coworking spaces are becoming tech-enabled, enabling easier sharing of facilities without the room for confusion. Make sure that the coworking space you choose has the necessary tools in place to ensure you always have the space to book your meeting room when you need it.
List of Clients
The clients who are already a part of your coworking service provider tells a lot about the space. Check if there are other esteemed corporates, or even potential clients, or a network of clients that can help provide you with future business opportunities.
Future Expansion Plans
Oftentimes, coworking operators expand their presence into different cities. Having a thorough knowledge about the service provider’s network can come in handy. When your team grows from 10 to 20, or you expand so you might want to know your service provider’s presence in Pan India and the space where you are already present so that both your expectations align while you expand.
Lease Term of the Property
You do not want to enter into a contract with a coworking space at the end of their lease tenure. It’s important for you to know when your space provider’s lease is ending, this is absolutely necessary when you have leased the space for 3 years and it ends in 2. You do not want to be left hanging in that situation. So, it’s always apt to make sure both of your leasing timelines match.
The most overlooked factor when it comes to deciding coworking spaces. Depending on the coworking service provider, you might get discounted services like legal, HR, product development, and digital marketing services provided by the partners of the coworking space.
Brand Value of the Coworking Space
Brand = extra capital, but the advantage of moving to an eminent workspace is far greater. The extra capital that you invest in is often worth it, and your business will reap the benefit one way or the other.
STEP 4: Shortlist, Select, Plan and Finalize
Select the coworking space of your choice from the shortlisted workspaces, and once you have compared the amenities and services finalize the terms of your plan.
Make sure to be on the lookout for certain costs and other features of the contract as well, that you might be unaware in the beginning but crop up later in time. Things you should make sure to go through-
- Any hidden costs in the contract of your customized package
- Number of shared amenities and personal amenities
- Availability of other miscellaneous services like mentorship, HR, management, legal, etc.
- Credit score for meeting room, printer and other allied services
- Studying the final contract thoroughly before you sign it
STEP 5: The Grand Move-In
Once you have made your decision after careful consideration, the grand move-in is the last step in the process of your take over in your coworking space. Often unaware, clients forget to ask for a grand ceremony on their first day.
A coworking space is the best example of curating personalized memories for their clients and thus, this is something that you can ask your service provider to arrange.
Choose a date, specifications and things you would want to include in your grand welcome event.
If you have anything particular in mind, talk to your service provider, and see if they can have it arranged.
Things like particular decoration, cake and snacks, games for your teams to start off on their first day, understand the services and shared amenities in your coworking and or an introductory session with other clients or something as simple as a welcome post on their social media handles.
Now that you have arrived at a more informed position to choose your coworking space, you can enjoy the services and amenities according to your requirements.
One thing to remember is, always make sure to compare and list down various features and amenities, compare with prospect coworking spaces and make a decision.
While most things may look in the face value, there’s always more you should think and ask about. As mentioned, earlier, choosing the right coworking space will only be possible when you’re clear about the amenities and features you want to add in your package deal.
Once you have made that clear, find the coworking space that comes close to providing you with all the necessary requirements.
Working from the choice of your coworking space only adds to your business growth and success.