Co-working spaces can seem like a great idea for small start-ups and entrepreneurs looking to get their foot through the door. A large office space can be expensive and, to be honest, a little unnecessary when there are so few employees to house. A co-working space allows workers to come together and share a great office setting – even if they have absolutely nothing to do with each other’s work. This is a growing trend, and more and more companies are looking to lease building out to potential co-working inhabitants. However, some spaces and potential working relationship are better than others.
Here are some important questions to ask when setting up the ultimate co-working space.
1) Is the vendor financially viable?
This is an important starting point. You have to remember that this new working environment is the responsibility of the supplier. They are essentially your business landlord. They should offer a great place to set yourself up at a fair price, and supply the space with all the right utilities and tools. Therefore it helps to look for a “landlord” with a good reputation. This means someone with multiple locations and previous experience. It means someone that has done all this before and won’t get shocked when you ask for basic needs – such as the following.
2) What are the internet and phone connections like?
Many workers in need of a co-working space will also need a reliable internet connection. How else are you meant to send those emails, research those trends and connect with teammates in other locations? The problem is that while we may expect a good internet connection like its a basic human right, office space vendors may not share that view. Make sure to ask about the connection and its speed before signing on. It also helps to know how many other people there are in the space that may slow things down.
3) Are actually going to be able to get your work done in a distraction-free manner?
A co-working space might be a step up for people that once worked from home or from the corner of a coffee shop with their headphones in. A co-working space can seem like a busy, noisy space after all that. This can be distracting. There are two possible solutions here. You could meet the current workers in the space to see what they are like before signing on. You can also see if there are privacy areas in the office.
4) Are these co-workers really the right people to have around?
Distractions for pen-clickers and whistlers is one thing. You also need to consider if the people in the office will work well with you and offer something. This may not seem important if they are with another company. Yet, you can still call upon these officemates for advice and use them as a sounding board during difficult projects. Those that are in a similar field might understand your viewpoint. Those that have more experience may act as something of a mentor. But, those with no relevant experience, or a bad attitude, could have a negative effect.
5) is this a short-term solution with no room for development?
These co-working spaces are a great solution for all newcomers that want to focus on costs and finding a stable place to base themselves. The problem is that companies that hit their stride quickly can soon outgrow this co-working office space. Rapid growth and expansion may require tech and solutions that aren’t possible in this current space. This could be short-term accommodation between the first sales and the next expansion. However, there are some great office spaces that may be able to expand with you and help you establish a better base.
6) What do the choice of building and office space say about your business?
This final point is something that many new companies might overlook. It is easy to focus on the office that is the cheapest, closest or has a great bar around the corner. Instead, try and see the office from the eye of potential clients and those that may visit. Is this a professional space that suggests a company on the rise? Or, is it untidy, run down and full of young co-workers slacking off. This is another reason why it is important to consider the people you will share that space with. One false move on their side and they may scupper a big deal.
In short, research the right space through the eyes of both the owner of a developing business and the eyes of a client. Be careful who you associate with in regards to the vendors and the other workers inhabiting the space. Finally, consider your long-term needs. Can you see yourself here in a few years time with everything you need to succeed? Once you can find a positive answer to all these issues, you can find your ideal co-working space.