I’m willing to bet that if you use the Google machine to search “coworking space and <your zip code>,” you’ll find plenty of options. Coworking spaces can be found all over, and the market is expected to continue its growth. As someone who traveled the world as a digital nomad for two years, I’ve seen coworking spaces literally everywhere.
There are dozens in big cities like London and Washington, D.C. There are even a few in remote places like Siem Reap, Cambodia, and Fiji. Finding a place isn’t the issue—finding a place that works for you is the hard part. Here are four things to think about as you choose a coworking space.
Not only do you want a space that doesn’t involve a terrible commute, but you also want to be in or near a physical environment that meets your needs and interests. I, personally, love lunch, and I love walkable neighborhoods. When I was living in Washington, D.C., I found both lunch and walkability no matter where I was. When I moved to Kansas City, I realized that this car-heavy city required that I lose my parking spot just to go to Panera.
Think about what a good location means to you. Maybe that means it’s close to your kid’s school, near parks to take a walk, or near public transit. Don’t underestimate the importance of a good location—you’ll either feel stuck at your coworking space, or it’ll be too inconvenient to use.
Coworking amenities go beyond WiFi and conference rooms. Offerings like free beer, standing desks, and a podcasting studio/green screen are nice, but there are other things to prioritize too.
I like to seek out training opportunities, member/networking events, workshops, and lunch-n-learns at my coworking spaces. These amenities help me grow as a person and as an entrepreneur. I need the ability to both learn new skills and show off the areas in which I am an expert. Plus, I love meeting new people every time I attend an event.
3. Meeting Your (Professional) Needs
We don’t often think about our professional needs until they are not met. Satisfying professional needs sets you up for success. Ask yourself these questions:
- Do I get distracted easily?
- Will I feel out of place if I don’t have a designated place to sit?
- Do I need natural light?
- Can I accomplish my goals if there is noise?
- Do I like to walk around while on the phone?
- Do I need an area to have confidential conversations?
- Do I need access to a printer?
These are just a few questions that can help you assess your professional needs. Take the time to reflect honestly on your ideal work environment and be truthful about your needs.
Community is the most important thing to consider when choosing the best coworking space. Each coworking space should have at least one designated Community Manager for this very reason.
The Community Manager’s job is to help you in whatever way you need: a lunch recommendation, an introduction to another member who can help you (i.e., graphic designer, app developer, virtual assistant, etc.), setting up your payment, changing the lightbulb in your office, etc. Coworking spaces are designed to help you meet people, make friends, develop your pipeline, and grow your business. Be sure to ask your Community Manager who the other tenants are.
Also, there are a few “standards” in the coworking world. When you are touring coworking spaces, remember that 24/7 access, security, fast internet, and a free day to test out the space should be expected. These are not perks; they are standard.
This is your life and business. Don’t settle for a space that won’t work for you. Take your time to “date” a few spaces. The perfect coworking space for you is out there, ready to help you stay productive and become the best boss you can be.
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