If you’re reading this article, I’m going to assume you’ve already spent time here reading about the benefits of co-working spaces. I hope you have already come to understand that a co-working space can be a practical and economic solution for freelancers and companies who are looking for a professional setting, without all the overhead of renting your own dedicated office. Congratulations on making it this far!
Recognizing the value of a co-working space is a great step. But it’s not necessarily easy to choose the right one for you. With the increased popularity of co-working spaces, especially here in the Bay Area, the sheer volume of choices may be overwhelming. How do you know which space is right for you?
Here are a few points to keep in mind as you evaluate your choices:
- Location - We tend to think of co-working spaces as an urban phenomenon. But as more and more of them keep springing up, we’re seeing them in locations outside of downtown, and even out in suburbia. Consider whether you really need to be located in the heart of the city, where rents are usually the highest. Some types of work require that kind of presence, but others will do just as well out in the burbs, where rents are lower and parking is easier. You’ll have to factor in who’s going to be using the space, and where they live. Commuting time could make a big difference in your choice.
- Population - One of the main features of co-working spaces is that you’ll be sharing space with people from other companies, other industries, and perhaps other business cultures. Most people who use co-working spaces find this to be one of the great benefits. The open area of the office becomes a fertile field of diversity and networking. You may find that your interactions with your co-working associates provides new and different perspectives on your work. You may find individuals to partners with, and even establish new client relationships. We recommend that you visit co-working spaces you’re considering, during working hours, to experience the vibe and culture firsthand before you make your decision.
- Amenities - As they become more popular, the types of co-working spaces available are almost as varied as the types of workers that use them. Make sure that you find a space that will meet the needs of your work. Consider such features as connectivity (you’ll certainly want high-speed internet access), availability of parking and/or public transportation, and eateries in short walking / driving distance. Look for creature comforts like a well-stocked coffee bar in the co-working space as well.
- Price - I hate to bring it all down to dollars and cents, but a big part of the reason you’re going to use a co-working space is to save money, so do review the costs and do some comparison shopping.
There is no shortage of choices of co-working spaces these days. Be sure to visit a number of them, and ask the right questions, to ensure that you find a location that will foster productivity in a pleasant and rewarding work environment.