August 11, 2016
Some people thrive working from home. As long as they can get out and hit a park or local cafe every so often to feed their need for human contact, they are just fine. Others realize that they need to be in a working environment in order to focus and function. Then there are the entrepreneurs who are in a position where they need a dedicated workspace for their team but aren’t quite ready to sign a long-term lease or purchase a property. This is why coworking spaces are becoming so popular. If you are considering this as an option, here are some questions to ask before you spend any money.
Who Else Is Sharing the Space?
Every coworking environment is a bit different from the other. One environment might have a very serious, heads down, get to work vibe. If you are trying to kick off a financial services business, this might be ideal. On the other hand, if you are heading up a boisterous team of video game developers that environment is probably not a good fit for you. Hopefully, the owners of the space are willing to give you the heads up on what to expect.
What Are Any Additional Benefits?
Some coworking spaces are simply shared working spaces with desks, conference rooms, wi-fi, computers, etc. Others offer up additional benefits such as group rates on insurance, workout rooms, and discounts on classes or other services.
What Are the Hours of Operation?
Will a space that is only open Monday thru Friday during the day work for you? If you are on the East Coast and have West Coast clients, this could be problematic for you? What if you need one of your staff members to be available overnights for customer service?
Will There Be Networking Opportunities?
In order to foster a sense of community, many coworking spaces are home to workshops, after-hours social events, and classes. This lets members get to know one another and even make business connections with one another. If you are thinking about renting a space because you miss human contact, this can be a good thing. If you prefer a quieter environment, you might find these events disruptive.
How Much Space Do I Get?
You might find that what you get depends largely on how much you are willing to pay. For example, a drop in membership might get you access to common work areas, printers, and wi-fi. If you want a dedicated desk and conference room access, you might have to pay a bit more. Some coworking agreements only include the right to use the space as a business address. It’s a good idea to know how much physical space you are allowed to take up.
What Is Included in my Rent?
Be sure to find out ahead of time what is included in your rent. Do you have unlimited access to printers? Will you have a dedicated printer or a shared one? What about conference room access? Your contract might say that you can use conference rooms for a set number of hours per week, but does that include the use of projectors or other technology that you might need?
Are Short-Term Memberships Available?
If you have a seasonal business or are on your way to getting your own space, you might only need to use a shared space for a couple of months. That could mean trouble if your only option is to lock into a six-month contract. It might be a good idea to inquire whether or not month to month leases are available. On the other hand, if you are willing to go for a long-term commitment, you might be able to negotiate a lower rate
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