You’re a professional who works outside of a traditional office setting, so you don’t have that dedicated office environment, and you don’t see colleagues on a daily basis. Plus there are constant distractions to deal with throughout the day when working from home or in a coffee shop. If you’re starting to think you could be happier and more productive with a different way of working, it might be time to look into a shared office environment. Below are 5 major factors to consider when searching for the one that’s right for you.
Factor #1: Your work style and personality
Take the time to do some self-reflection. What is it about your current work situation that isn’t working for you? Is it noise, distractions, non-work related responsibilities, a poor office/desk set-up, no place to meet with people, no place to meet clients or just a sense of isolation?
Once you identify exactly what isn’t working, you will easily be able to pinpoint what you, as an individual, truly need in a work space to make it the ideal place for you to be productive. Make a list of these requirements. Somewhere quiet? Stimulating? In a specific location? With certain amenities?
Now that you know what works and doesn’t work for you in terms of your productivity, you’ll be able to narrow down the coworking or shared offices that will fit your needs.
Factor #2: Environments can vary
Since every coworking office has its own unique environment, you’ll need to check your notes from above to determine which offers the type of space where you will flourish. Environmental elements include light, color, sound and energy. If sunlight and color stimulate you in a way that can be directed towards your work, look for that when you tour a space. But if you find that type of atmosphere takes away your focus, look for a space with more monochromatic colors.
If noise is a distraction to you, look for a workspace that is quiet, where people are super focused on their work. That way you’ll be able to do the same. But if you thrive from interacting with people and their energy, a shared space buzzing with people might be a better choice for you.
Just make sure to tap your “inner worker” during every tour, and you’ll feel what space will suit you the best.
Factor #3: There are levels of “shared”
Most coworking offer a variety of plan levels, anywhere from offering just a simple business address, to private office rentals where business groups can work together. So be prepared to express to the tour guide exactly what your objectives are and what you require from the space. This way they will be able to customize your visit so that it makes sense for you, and you won’t be wasting your time hearing about plans that aren’t relevant to your needs or your wallet.
Factor #4: There are levels of what’s included
When you’re looking for a shared workspace, you are looking for more than simply a place to sit and set up your laptop. So the question becomes: What exactly is included in the monthly coworking rent? Some, like Red Oak Coworking, include everything you could need in their monthly rate, so there are never added costs. Others might charge additional fees for necessary office amenities like conference room use, printer/copier use, mail distribution, coffee and even wi-fi. So make sure you know what you will need, do your research, and ask questions!
Another thing to consider, in addition to the potential extra costs for using these amenities, is the hassle of arranging for their use and checking your monthly charges. It could be something you won’t feel like dealing with unless that location offers other benefits that make it worth it to you.
Factor #5: What’s outside the office matters too
When you’re considering coworking, remember that it’s not just what is inside that counts. Location is another huge factor in several ways. It has to be close enough that you and any colleagues who are involved will be happy to commute there as frequently as is needed. If you feel being in the center of the city’s business district, rather than on the outskirts, would be beneficial, that is also a consideration. If you enjoy easy access to cafés and restaurants, keep that in your mind as well.
Then there is parking. If you are considering a downtown location, you may have to deal with the added cost of parking. Red Oaks Coworking is located in the center of best part of Manchester NH’s downtown, and is fortunate to be able to offer our coworking clients a discount to our parking garage across the street. So when you tour prospective coworking spaces, make sure to ask about any deals they can provide to help with parking.