Picking Your Workplace: Finding the Niche for your Business
Not all co-working spaces are created equal – and that can be a good
thing. Perhaps you want a super-professional, crisp and clean lobby
with white furniture and no music. Or maybe you need a wide expanse of
desks with active conversations and collaborative teams. Before you
make the decision of which co-working space will best suite you,
consider some of these issues:
Can you easily downgrade or upgrade?
You might feel invincible, but every business goes through its ups and
downs. If you suddenly lose your biggest client, can you easily switch
from a private office to a single desk without much trouble? And when
business picks up, can you easily add one of those desks onto your
lease so you have a place for your part-time employee?
What are the other businesses in the space?
While it might be comforting knowing that you are surrounded by other
businesses like yours (think tech starts ups, non profits, lawyers,
etc), you will likely have a greater sense of workplace satisfaction
with a greater diversity of people at your co-working space. Plus, if
you are a business that is looking to use the co-working space for
networking and business development, the greater the diversity, the
better. Be sure to ask about networking events; people often need some
wine and chips to step outside of their office shells and start
talking to each other.
What kinds of fringe benefits does the space offer?
More specifically, how good is the coffee? Neither you nor your
clients want off-brand coffee that sits all day and turns into tar. If
the co-working space doesn’t include hospitality services, you might
want to consider another place. Single serve coffee machines, free
printer use, and a strong Wi-Fi signal can mean the difference between
a mediocre office and a stellar one. And check on the hours of
operation. Some co-working spaces are locked up by 6pm and closed on
the weekends. So if you are going to use your office for any off hour
meetings, you will need to ensure you and your clients have easy
Parking and Meeting Rooms
Is parking going to be difficult? Many co-working spaces are in busy,
downtown areas. Is there public transportation that can get you to the
office? Without it, you might be paying a meter and moving your car
throughout the day. And how accessible are those meeting rooms? Sure,
you may not need to meet clients at the office every day, but if the
meeting rooms are booked three weeks in advance, then you might
trouble when you need to have a private, professional conversation.
Most importantly, visit each space and try to interact with some of
the current tenants. Every co-working space will post beautiful photos
on the web; but standing at the espresso bar and chatting with some
current tenants about the next internal networking event will make
selecting the office an easy choice.