Finding office space for rent is no easy feat, but what comes after can be even more challenging. Businesses that settle for a traditional office setting may find their new office to be more expense and hassle than they bargained for. It can cost thousands of dollars to build out the office and furnish it. If you need to add employees or space, you’re either forced to stretch your current accommodations or have to start the expensive office search process all over again.
Small businesses and startups with small budgets are finding favor with a coworking space versus a standard office. This rented space in a shared office building is changing how companies are doing business, building their professional image, controlling costs, and not being committed to a lease that will inhibit their growth.
Here’s what you need to know about choosing the best coworking space for your business.
Though they may never fully replace the traditional office, the coworking space is thriving for a reason. Several reasons, in fact.
On the surface, the coworking space provides a cost-effective alternative for office space, particularly for startups, entrepreneurs, and small companies who need to control costs. They’re the hands-free, turnkey office, meaning you never have to lift a finger for maintenance, landscaping, or replacing the copy paper. Plus, they can help you scale your office space on a moment’s notice so you can grow as soon as opportunity knocks.
One recent study found that more than half a million people rely on coworking spaces as their office, and that number continues to grow. The number of coworking locations is also growing (more than 12 new spaces for every 1 million people per year), making this alternative to the traditional office even more accessible.
Remember, though, not all coworking spaces are created equal. Here are eight things you should consider before setting up your business in short-term office space.
1. Location, Location, Location
It’s true in real estate and it’s true in office space: location is the single most important factor. You want an office that’s easy to get to and will provide your company with the level of visibility you need. It’s also the easiest way to get an office in a high-profile city without incurring the sky-high rent.
2. Design Flexibility
Design can mean two things in office space: aesthetics and layout. You want an office that will make you feel inspired. The more you jive with the environment, the greater the chance you’ll love working there.
Also, you won’t have much control over the layout of the office space. Most coworking spaces are comprised of a variety of layouts, such as private offices, collaboration spaces, conference rooms, and single workstations in the same room.
Make sure you can live with how desks are arranged, the acoustics, the amount of natural light, and other design elements before you choose a space.
3. Cultural Fit
Every office has an office culture, even coworking spaces. Since these shared offices are a melting pot of multiple businesses and entrepreneurs, the office culture is likely to reflect this.
It’s imperative to visit an office space in person to get a feel for the people you’ll be working alongside. Though you may not have much interaction with other tenants, they will ultimately impact the vibe of the office.
Ideally, you’ll find an office that has other startups and entrepreneurs that can provide valuable networking opportunities.
4. Pricing Structure
The price of a short-term office space can vary greatly, especially in tiered pricing structures. You may have to pay more for space with all the amenities you need, or there might be an option to add benefits a la carte that aren’t included in your base plan.
Review your options carefully so you know exactly what you’re paying for.
Coworking spaces are having a moment right now because so many businesses can take their work just about anywhere there’s an internet connection. If all you need is a laptop and internet, then a coworking space makes sense.
When you visit a short-term office in person, test the internet connection. Your business depends on good connectivity, and the last thing you need is spotty service slowing you down.
6. Member Amenities and Benefits
Amenities and benefits can vary between coworking spaces. Some offices offer unlimited coffee, tea, and water for everyone. Others may have on-site snacks and other refreshments. Meeting rooms, electronic whiteboards, and high-speed internet should be mandatory, but don’t assume your office space has these available.
Take time to compare benefits and amenities to know exactly what you’re paying for. In some cases, you may find that paying a few dollars more per month makes sense when it opens up more possibilities.
Uncomfortable chairs and desks are things of the past. At least, they should be. Nowadays, there are tons of ergonomic options for office furniture that can make it more comfortable to sit at a desk for extended periods.
While you’re touring coworking spaces, take note of what the furnishings look and feel like. Sit at a desk and see if you could tolerate working there for hours.
8. Future Needs
One of the biggest advantages of a coworking space is your ability to add or remove workstations as needed. Unlike traditional offices, you only pay for space you’re using.
With this in mind, it helps to be forward-thinking when selec
ting short-term office space. You don’t want to squeeze your business into a space that’s already close to capacity if you’re planning on growing in the next few months.
Talk to the office administrator to find out more about their process for adding onto your monthly plan. The last thing you want is to jump through hoops or be waitlisted for office space when you really need it.
Is a Coworking Space Right for Your Business?
Coworking spaces are new territory for many businesses, which is why it’s worth doing a little extra research. Keep the above considerations in mind as you’re exploring your options so you can get the biggest benefit for your investment, no matter where your business chooses to call home.
Office Evolution has more than 70 locations open, 140 units sold in markets across the country and is poised for further growth as the demand for affordable and safe, workspace close-to-home continues to rise.