7 not-that-obvious things to consider while choosing a coworking space

April 2021

Don’t let them spoil the fun and magic of coworking.

Whether you are a freelancer fed up with home office, an expanding startup looking for comfortable options for your workers and for your wallet, or a company searching for something more than a soulless glass-facade building: coworking spaces and serviced office could be for you.

If you are on the hunt for the best coworking space or a micro office to rent, there are a few tips that can help you chose wisely and not be discouraged by the potential shortcomings.

Here are 7 things to consider before committing to a long-term agreement.

1. Great Internet

Most likely, you went coworking to improve your performance, and there aren’t many things more counter-productive than spotty coverage. Make sure that the place of your choice has a good, reliable connection, and even better – a backup one too. It may seem obvious that modern offices should offer quality Internet, but you would be surprised how often it is not the case. The dream location for coworking offices are usually centres of popular touristic cities. The city centres, with their historic facades and cobblestone, may prove to be problematic if you want to add technical infrastructure to their landscape. Hence, the office owners’ may be forced to select between not-really-best-in-class offers.

2. Comfortable chairs

If you sit on it for so many hours a day, better chose a comfortable one. Good quality chairs that have many options of regulation are pricey. Many places decide not to invest too much in chairs at it seems redundant. This case is a tricky one as you need to sit in a chair for a while to appreciate its shape and construction. It may take longer than a trial day and definitely more than a quick tour around the office. The bottom line is you will spend a substantial part of your day on the chair so don’t settle for the model that should be sold with a complimentary neck brace.

3. A proper desk, not some wobbly cardboard

You may be a minimalist, clutter-free desk advocate wondering what on earth is wrong with the guy sitting opposite, hiding behind the fortresses of plants, gadgets, mugs and other chaos around him. You might be the complete opposite. And it does not really matter, both ways are perfectly fine.

What is not fine is a desk that has wobbly nature, uneven legs and thin desktop. Look for offices that offer well-built, sturdy models and save yourself unnecessary annoyance.

Another vital thing is the size of your desk. You will know best how much desktop space you need. Let’s say you are a graphic designer or a developer and need to accommodate two monitors, a laptop, plus a keyboard. Or you simply like to keep an impressive collection of technology close at hand. The standard, cheapest desk from the most popular chain stores may not qualify.

4. Kitchen

Take a peek at a kitchen and see if it has inviting atmosphere. Does it encourage to sit for a coffee and spend some time talking with your fellow coworkers? It is important, especially if you joined coworking office to end or limit the home office seclusion. A kitchen is definitely the central spot for shortening the social distance, cultivating relationships and networking.

Hence it is vital that it allows for more than just microwave lunch or wash your dishes. Check if it is well-equipped for your needs. Maybe you like to cook a simple meal during a break? Then some pots, pans, knives and a cooking hob will come handy.

5. Conference rooms and phone booths

If there is not enough room for private conversations, you may be in trouble. Even if you do not plan on making a lot of calls. There is a high chance there will be this one guy right next to you talking on the phone constantly. Isn’t it relieving when you may simply ask them to go… use a conference room?

If you do plan on using conference rooms, remember to ask if they come free or with an additional fee. It is rather a commonplace practice to charge extra for using conference rooms and phone booths. It may be worth confirming how heavily occupied they are on average and if it is easy to book them. They will not be much of a help, if predominantly unavailable.

This leads us to the next relevant issue.

6. Hidden costs

It may happen everywhere and with everything. As cliché as it may sound, too often a price tag is a catch. It can exclude many amenities that will be essential for you in your everyday tasks.

Before committing to a long-term agreement remember to check the „price does not include” section. Or make a list of your top needs and confirm if they come in price.

The popular features that may or may not be covered are:

  • Conference rooms use.
  • Phone booths use.
  • Audio-visual equipment.
  • Printing.
  • Office accessories.
  • Picking up post/parcels.
  • A locker.
  • A monitor.
  • 24/7 access.

7. Atmosphere

Do not underestimate the ambience in your future office. It is highly important. In the end, you are investing your money so that you can be more productive. You simply need to feel good in the place you chose to spend many hours a day in.

It may not be immediately apparent, but coworking offices can differ in this matter substantially. There are offices with more chirpy atmosphere, vibrant energy, that will go well with people for whom the hustle and bustle means only a positive stimulator. You can find calmer ones, great for workers who need peace and quiet to be able to focus.

Some coworking spaces will have a long-term clients who know each other well and have strong ties. Others will be perfect for digital nomads, who like to change their place of living and company more often.

Think what would suit you best, what type of coworkers you would like to be surrounded by. You may ask the owners or the staff about it, they should know perfectly well how it looks like in their office space.

It is the best part of coworking: almost every detail of your future working conditions is up to you.

Karolina Kondrak

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