Questions you need to ask before choosing a co-working space?
Opting for a co-working space brings many benefits; there’s flexibility in determining where one works, the timings one wants to take on, and the type of seats they want. Minimal overheads to start with work often make co-working spaces a big hit amongst start-ups and entrepreneurs as it is easy to scale up or down to accommodate business needs.
Despite these advantages, there are certain important factors one needs to consider in order to maximise these benefits.
Here are some questions that you need to ask yourself before deciding on a coworking space-
What’s your budget?
While shared spaces are generally priced cheaper than the conventional offices, you still need to do a smart calculation in order to get the most without going overboard with your finances. First and foremost, the goal should be to choose co-working spaces that fit into your budget and ticks off all your basic office needs.
Furthermore, keep in mind that almost all the prices listed exclude GST which account to about 18%. (Not all businesses get rebate on GST)
What is the ideal location?
Location is extremely important when it comes to coworking spaces. While a great location can turn the tables around, a poor location can land you in a soup. One of the basic ideas behind coworking spaces is to reduce members commute time. Ideally the space should be centrally located and in addition to ease of access, the location should be in accordance to the nature of your business.
Community matters a lot
While you certainly don’t exercise any direct control over the community at any coworking space, but the least you can do is look up your future coworkers and their profession well in advance. It really does matter who your coworkers are and how you can benefit from them and/or in turn, benefit them. Your coworkers often inspire and motivate you to thrive and they often help create win-win situations within the community. For instance, at our centre in Faridabad, a company named Shiny Sleep which deals in online mattresses, was able to find a digital marketing firm (GDC) from within the same facility, which helped them create a solid online presence and helped boost sales. The basic concept of givers gain (introduced by BNI Association) also works really well in a coworking space. But it still helps to do a little research about the community, because more often than not, the community members can also potentially become clients/customers.
Figure out your exact requirement
…a private space, a hot desk or a fixed desk? The best part about shared office spaces is that they don’t operate on a one-size-fits-all model and that they can even customize plans for customers depending on their preferences and budget. Before opting for a co-working space, you need to decide what suits your requirement, whether you are looking for a hot desk, fixed desk or private office. Apart from this, you need to figure out the number of prints and meeting room hours that you require. (a ball park figure works!)
Also, make sure to enquire about the internet speed well in advance as many businesses depend on it.
Hot-desking is particularly popular amongst freelancers. These seats are on first come first serve basis; people who opt for these seats usually sit beside someone new every day (satiate the demand for #networking). However, one would need to pack up their things at the end of the day and hot-desking areas can sometimes be too bustling for some individuals.
Fixed desks are a great option for those looking for a space to claim but still want to be around other creative entrepreneurs. Fixed desks are basically dedicated to specific individuals, and they are exclusive to them regardless if they are in office or not.
Finally, private office! They offer privacy and room for the team to collaborate in a closed environment but still being part of the coworking culture. Private offices in a coworking space offer all the coworking perks like breakout space, shared common spaces and all-round innovative vibe.
What facilities does the space offer?
Most of the shared workspaces cover basics amenities like access to internet, meeting rooms, a kitchen, breakout space, printing facilities, reception area, etc. Going further, some shared offices offer parking, 24/7 access and recreational rooms as well. Ideally, when searching for a coworking space, you should start by listing the non-negotiable facilities.
Some quick points one needs to keep in mind are-
- Will there be any additional charge (on usage of conference room or printer)?
- How much is the security deposit? Is it completely refundable?
- Do members have flexibility to increase or reduce people if their company grows or contracts?
- Do the office space providers offer reciprocal access to other facilities? For instance, can a member operating from a coworking space in Gurgaon also access the same space provider’s Mumbai office?
- What kind of workstations do they have? Are they standard size?
- Do they have a backup server if the internet goes down?
- How much space is available per person?
- Is there a community manager? What are their assigned roles?
- Do they offer IT support?
- Is there 24/7 security? Part of a gated complex?
- Is there plenty of parking? What are the monthly/day charges?