Before jumping into the topic of how to choose a coworking space, there are a few facts that I’d like to share with you.
In 2018, The Global Coworking Survey estimated that 1.7 million people will be working in around 19,000 co-working spaces worldwide by the end of the year. With 50% of the workforce projected to be millennials by 2020, the younger generation is ready for this change and embracing new environments.
Many startups and small businesses also choose coworking spaces because of the presence of additional opportunities to socialize and harness the business network through the community. Coworking spaces also offer events. These benefits typically have no additional cost, whereas traditional offices lack such perks.
And with the increasing number of startups, the demand for coworking spaces is increasing in the market.
Coworking brands are rapidly expanding and the industry is growing at a rate higher than ever. However, not every coworking space in the market is suitable for different business models. This makes it challenging for startup owners to choose the best fit for their startup.
The questions and answers here will make it easier for you to find a suitable coworking space for your business venture:
- What are your business requirements?
- What is your budget for a coworking space?
- Are you planning to expand in the future?
- What is the culture you want to build for your business?
- What’s a suitable location for your business?
- What are your expectations from the facility management of the workspace?
What are your business requirements?
I consider it as one of the most important factors because unless an individual doesn’t understand their business requirements, they’ll end up investing in a space with services that are unnecessary for their business.
The average space requirement for an individual sharing a coworking space is 100–150 sq. ft. Similarly, do the math to understand how much space/seats you require along with the services like training rooms, meeting rooms, and conference rooms for your business/team on a regular or temporary basis. These calculations are the first step towards understanding your basic requirements.
What’s your budget for a coworking space?
Coworking spaces are considered more suitable for startups – Do you know why?
It’s because, at such a nascent stage, a business doesn’t have the capital to invest in infrastructure and its maintenance.
At this stage, what does a business demand?
- a skilled and professional team
- basic equipment and amenities for the team
- a business network to grow
Coworking spaces are a perfect fit for such demands, at a minimal cost.
It’s always good to have control overhead expenses and to limit our expenses on things which are not mandatory for the business.
Now, how would you know how much to spend on your office?
- Research and list down the offerings and prices of the coworking spaces available in your target city/area.
- List down your business requirements and their costs.
- Set up your budget accordingly.
- Pick the space that fits you the best.
Are you planning to expand in the future?
Suppose you have a team of 20 members now, you’ll pick a space for 20 people but what happens when the team grows in the future, will your workspace be able to fit in the additional workforce? If not, then you’ll have to move your business to a new workspace. That will adversely affect your business operations for some time. Would you ever want it to happen? No.
So it’s always better to pick coworking spaces instead of traditional offices. Good coworking spaces allow you to scale up your workforce due to their flexibility in providing additional space as your team grows without hampering the time you invest in your business operations. You expand from 20 to 40, you can get separate private cabins for different teams, a manager’s cabin, a bigger and equipped conference room to hold your teleconferences, etc.
Though there are many coworking space providers in the market that may help you to scale up, very few of them give you the freedom of customizing your layouts exactly how you want when the time comes.
The best office space providers provide innovative customization options using features such as movable glass walls and in-house assistants. In this way, a coworking space becomes scalable, and can grow with you.
What culture do you want to build for your business?
Work culture has a significant impact on the productivity of your team and consequently your entire business.
Coworking spaces automatically create an atmosphere of community building. The aspect of building business networks has a critical impact on a business’ success. Emerging startups get an opportunity to learn from the coworkers when they interact and share ideas, unknowingly adding value to their current business.
A few offerings such as 24/7 access in coworking spaces will also help you in creating a more productive work culture for your team. Such offerings provide you the liberty to decide the operational hours for your team best suited for the nature of your business.
Choosing coworking spaces that provide the above opportunities will surely help you expand your horizons of your business.
What’s a suitable location for your business?
“Power is a lot like real estate. It’s all about location, location, location. The closer you are to the source, the higher your property value.” – Frank Underwood (House of Cards)
It’s true, isn’t it? Inversely, sometimes even location signifies power. From an office space perspective, we list down a few factors that should be considered before choosing the right location for your coworking space.
- Business hub – Choosing a location in a business hub or central business district (CBD) of a city adds credibility and adds to your brand value.
- Easy commute – Your workspace should be well connected to the transport system. Having easy access to taxis, metro stations, and bus stops will allow your team members as well as visiting clients/guests to easily commute to your office.
- Accessible neighborhood – Having decent restaurants/eateries, shopping malls with movie theaters, cafés, hospitals, business hotels, etc. around your workspace add that x-factor to your work life. It’s proven to be effective in keeping the employees happier and cheerful during the workday, resulting in higher productivity.
What are your expectations from the facility management of the workspace?
One of the top reasons for moving towards a coworking space instead of a traditional office is escaping the hassles of managing/maintaining the facility.
Whether the coworking space providers offer immaculate facility management including housekeeping and common area maintenance, can be referred to from online reviews. We all trust the negative ones, don’t we?
Another way to assess whether the money you would spend on the “managed” part of the managed offices you opt for is to take a trial. Most of the coworking space providers in the market offer a trial period for customers to test the facility before committing to a longer relationship. If not, you can request them to allow you the trial period – and they won’t say no. They need customers as much as customers need the workspace. This surely helps you to understand the challenges you face at the facility and assess how the management responds to them.
When you gain the trust that you wanted from the office space providers, go ahead and sign the deal.
Choosing the right coworking space is as important as deciding to move to a coworking space. It’s a big leap for any budding entrepreneur. I’m sure implementing the process discussed above will land you the correct and the most suitable coworking space for your business.
When you’re done assessing multiple coworking options, you can finally compare your list of the chosen coworking spaces with each other and make a final call.
Choosing the right coworking space will nurture your business and push you to the pinnacle of success – May the force be with you.
This is a guest post by Sumit, a digital marketing analyst at Novel Office in Bangalore, India. The service offers customizable layouts and coworking spaces, and has a branch in Dallas, TX, USA.