How to choose your ideal coworking space
hether you’re a startup founder, a freelancer or an employee, the chances are you spend hours a day at a desk. With so much time at work, it’s important to create a space that allows you to find your flow and work uninterrupted.
Consider location and accessibility
Perhaps the most obvious point to consider is where the coworking space is located. If you’re looking to work alongside a team or cofounders, make sure to get everyone’s input into what areas are most suitable and what everyone values in a space. Choosing a well-equipped and affordable office isn’t very useful if it’s in an area that is hard to get to or requires a long commute for your core team members.
Similarly, make sure that the building is accessible for you, your team and any anticipated regular guests. This might mean having elevators, automatic doors, wide aisles between desks or adjacent parking. The specifics will vary, but be sure to consider your practical needs before getting caught up in flashy details. A rooftop garden isn’t a perk if you can’t access it.
Coworking spaces in Stockholm and elsewhere often provide access to multiple locations from the same operator. This can be useful if your needs vary. Perhaps on most days it’s just you who will be working from the space, but you have monthly team meetings that require a meeting room. In this example, it might be best to work from a small space near to home most of the time, but from a more central location with event facilities for the team meetings. If you’re a member of a coworking organization with several locations, it can make moving around much easier.
Check what services and facilities it offers
Are you a dog person, or do you have kids? For many of us, home and work life are increasingly blurred and it can be useful to know that your dog or toddler can come to the office without it being an issue.
Make sure to ask about pet policies, childcare provisions and any other specific services you need. This should also include the basics like kitchen facilities, quiet spaces and private phone booths or rooms. Make a checklist of what you need before making any visits to avoid forgetting to ask in the moment.
Particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, you may also want to ask about cleaning protocols and the space’s policies for if a member tests positive for a communicable disease.
Are you looking for networking and community?
Many contemporary coworking spaces offer more than just a space to set up a desk. Often, they are focused on networking and building a community. Is this something you value or would you rather work from a space without feeling obligated to be a part of events? Does your team feel the same?
If you’re looking to build or scale a business, joining an established community of like minded people can be an asset. Similarly, if you’re a solo entrepreneur or freelancer who is new in town, a community-focused space can be a great way to find new friends and business contacts. Make sure to ask about regular events and any obligation to participate in group activities before signing a lease to make sure it’s a good cultural fit.
Ask how flexible the terms are
Are you looking to grow or scale down? Will you have 100% occupancy at the office post-pandemic? What length of commitment are you comfortable with today?
Most coworking spaces have flexible lease terms with price breaks for longer commitments. Ask about the different options and make sure to read the small print to check for any penalties.
If your team is growing or you’re unsure of what the future looks like, consider asking for a basic tenancy with the option to add on additional members if needed. For example, some coworking spaces in Stockholm allow you to add on memberships when renting a private office. This means that you can rent a long-term office based on your everyday needs, and also have the option to add on shorter memberships for additional people as needed.
Look at lots of different spaces
Just as with buying a home, it’s advisable to go to lots of viewings to get a comprehensive view of the market and your options. When you’ve seen enough places to make a shortlist, revisit the spaces you like during different hours of the day to see what the light and atmosphere are like.
Colors and sunshine can affect your physical well being, so don’t dismiss the decor and light when choosing a coworking space. You might be able to choose your own furniture and decorate your office, but you’ll never be able to decorate away bad light.
Some operators want their spaces to look and feel coherent and use the same kind of furniture and colors throughout their buildings. Make sure you’re comfortable with the space and ask about what modifications you can make. It might seem minor, but if you have to use a supplied chair and desk that you find uncomfortable, it can make your days feel very long.
Ask for expert advice
If it’s overwhelming to consider all the options in your city or you simply don’t have time, consider asking an expert. Office-finding services usually rely on a kickback from the operators, often meaning it’s free for the person or company seeking the office.
These services already know the local market inside and out and can help you quickly determine a shortlist of spaces that suit your needs. At yta.se, we visit different coworking spaces and talk to operators on a daily basis. This means that we often know about vacancies before they’re advertised and we know what factors are negotiable.
Look into expert services in your city to help you find a coworking space that meets your needs and is within your price range.
This post was created in partnership with yta.se. yta.se simplifies the process for companies to find and compare offices by combining a technical platform with a team of office experts.
Written by Daniel Olsson.
Edited by Hazel Boydell.