In an era of startups and entrepreneurs, many traditional business ideals have been ditched for newer, more effective ways of getting things done. Coworking spaces are one of these newer trends, enabling a more flexible workplace at a lower cost while retaining professionalism and avoiding freelancers needing to post up in Starbucks or in their own beds every day. In this article, we explore what to look for in an ideal coworking space for your company.
Features and Location
The core elements of a coworking space are the features it provides for you and your colleagues to get work done. The ideal combination of essentials and perks will differ based on your own personal preferences and needs.
Internet speed, availability and size of workspace, and the ability to leave equipment and belongings overnight securely are all essential factors to keep in mind. Balancing your budget with the hours, space, and desk type that you need will narrow your search for a coworking space that fits your needs.
Coworking spaces with lots of amenities like pool tables, lounges, and even bars can provide a welcome break for some. Others, perhaps those with a tendency to get distracted or indulge in extended breaks, might not fare as well in a space that enables this sort of activity.
Noise levels can also be a matter of personal preference; some employees are very comfortable plugging in to headphones and drowning out other, while others need a certain level of quiet to be productive. Some studies have even shown certain levels of background noise to boost productivity. Make sure to research which spaces have the right acoustics for your personnel. Of course, to get the best sense of this, make sure to visit the spaces in person.
Of course, a good coworking space should be easily accessible for all members of your organization. Spaces close to transportation hubs, light rail lines, or bus routes are ideal for this.
Coworking spaces can afford to offer inexpensive rates because they lease the space to multiple companies, freelancers, and other professionals at once. While this provides some great benefits (which we’ll get to later), it also carries some risk.
Aside from the obvious distractions that can occur when many different projects are being worked on in close proximity, intellectual property (IP) concerns can arise. Especially in the startup and entrepreneurial realms, big bold ideas are extremely valuable. If your company is still at a pre-patent or development phase, it’s possible that eavesdropping or a casual conversation that occurs in a coworking space could lead to the theft of ideas.
Choosing the right coworking space, and following the right IP protocols, can help insure you from any negative consequences according to J.D. Houvener, a patent attorney at Bold Patents Houston law firm. “Coworking spaces are a hotbed for ideas, but that can backfire if the space is too crowded and doesn’t have any designated private spaces. Companies must make sure that they have the right trade secret, patent, and copyright plans already in place and that all their employees are briefed on what they can and cannot divulge.”
Lastly, one of the most crucial but most often overlooked facets of finding the right coworking space is right there in the name: the coworkers.
Chances are, you’ll be sharing your space with like-minded individuals in similar or related industries. This opens up incredible opportunities for networking and collaboration. Many business relationships can be sparked by a casual conversation in a shared space, and can continue on long past.
Most coworking spaces are transparent about whom they rent their space out to, so be sure to inquire with them and do some research on who you would be sharing your space and time with. A good relationship with your co-coworkers can make everyone involved better off on a daily basis.
When shopping around for the right coworking space, many factors come into play. The essential logistics of budgeting, availability, location, and services are always paramount. Make sure to look for places that have the right combination of calm, amenities, and accessibility for your specific needs.
Striking the balance between privacy and collaboration then becomes the goal for an ideal coworking space. Make sure your employees are briefed on confidentiality issues, and that you have access to private meeting spaces if needed. Look up who will be sharing the space with you and base your decisions on compatibility.
Finally, keep in mind that a gut instinct will serve you well, so you’ll want to visit any potential coworking space candidates to see how it feels in person. For more info and articles on coworking, head over to our blog!