Signing up for a coworking space is no small commitment. It can have a big impact on your small business and productivity, so knowing exactly what you’re getting into is important. We’ve put together this handy checklist of things to consider during your tour phase, pre-sign-up, and post-sign-up so that you can be confident in your coworking decision and help your business thrive.
During Tour Phase:
While you’re on the hunt for the perfect coworking space, keep these factors in mind when touring each office.
Choose your location: One of the biggest motivating factors for many freelancers, entrepreneurs, and remote workers during this stage of their coworking journey is location. Research from Deskmag shows that the average person drives around 20 minutes to get to their coworking space. Clearly, it’s important to many new members to find a location that is fairly close to home. When conducting tours, understand how important location is to you. Are you looking for a short commute? Would you rather be close to your clients for meetings? Or would you like a space that’s central to stores, restaurants, and entertainment?
Know what environment works: Going from a home office to a coworking space can be a big change. Understanding what type of work environment suits you best is invaluable when touring potential spaces. Are you a total silence kind of person when you’re working, or do you like some background noise? Do you like to switch up your workspace frequently, or do you want an option that will let you leave your stuff? Keep these things in mind when touring.
Understand your Wi-Fi needs: In today’s freelance world, a reliable and speedy Internet connection is just as important to success as your physical office space. If you or your team frequently works with large files or hosts a lot of video conference calls, then good Wi-Fi is even more crucial. Check with the spaces you visit to see what Internet options they provide.
Decide on a move-in date: As with something like renting an apartment, you’ll need to know your move-in date in order to see whether a coworking space will have the type of membership you need within your timeframe. Is your timing flexible, or do you have a set date by which you need to move in?
Set your budget: And of course, you can’t forget the budget. You might find as you conduct tours that you can be a little flexible with this number, but having a rough idea will help you avoid the disappointment of falling in love with a space that’s just out of your price range.
You’ve taken your tours and decided on the coworking space for you, but there are still some things you should do before officially signing up.
Review your lease terms: One of the biggest advantages coworking spaces have over traditional office space is shorter lease terms. Whereas many traditional office spaces operate on leases that span multiple years, coworking spaces often provide month-to-month memberships, giving you more flexibility. Review your lease terms carefully before signing up so that you can get a better understanding of what happens in the event that you need to leave the space or if you want to upgrade your current membership.
Decide whether you need mail services: If you sign up for a business address and private mailbox with your membership, don’t forget to fill out the necessary paperwork so you can begin receiving your business mail there right away. Also, review the times at which you can pick up your mail.
Obtain office furnishings: As part of your lease agreement, determine who is responsible (you or the coworking space owners) for providing office furnishings. Some membership types come pre-furnished, while some require that you provide your own desks and chairs.
Meet your point person: Who will be the point of contact for you and your team for any needs that may arise while you’re in the space? Find out who this person is and make sure you know the protocol for how to reach out to them.
You’ve signed up for your coworking space and now the real fun begins.
Get to know your fellow members: Coworking spaces are a great way to meet other entrepreneurs, remote workers, and freelancers in your area. One of coworking’s greatest advantages is the people who make each space unique, so take time to get to know who you’re working alongside. You might discover you have a lot in common and may even find some new collaborative partners.
Take advantage of your space’s features: Does your space have weekly yoga sessions or regular networking events and panels? Take advantage of any and all features your coworking space provides to get the most of your membership. These are often open to those outside your coworking space, giving you a chance to meet even more local professionals.