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If your current office is the corner coffee shop and you’re thinking of ways to improve your workspace without breaking your budget, you’ve likely considered trying a coworking space. You’re not alone. Coworking spaces are on the rise, and for good reason: they are flexible and affordable without compromising the necessities and functionality of a professional workspace. Beyond the practicalities behind them, let’s face it, coworking spaces are a lot more professional to present as your home base than your local barista.
Taking the leap and moving your business into a shared office environment has a multitude of benefits. Since most spaces today offer a wide range of amenities, space availability, and membership options, it’s easy to find a great space for you without breaking the bank. Imagine having access to flexible work hours, essential technology, and impressive spaces for those all-important client meetings and business conferences – without the high cost of a traditional brick-and-mortar lease. That is the appeal of the coworking space movement today.
Shopping for the Right Coworking Space
So, you’re sold on the idea of moving out of your local café and into a more professional workspace; how do you go about shopping for the right space? The best way you can find the perfect solution for your entrepreneurial needs is by taking stock of what those needs actually are. Before you can choose a space that works for you, you should have a good understanding of what it is you need from your space.
Take a look at your daily routines and make note of what items you use most and what items seem to be lacking. This will give you a good idea of the type of amenities you will want from a coworking space as well as help you figure out any potential problem areas. Keep in mind what hours you like to work and the frequency with which you meet with clients to determine the caliber of availability you will need from a communal meeting room or private work area.
Things to Consider
Once you have a good idea of what you need from your space, it’s time to consider any additional criteria that will optimize your work environment. These are things that will determine how well-suited a potential shared workspace is for you, such as its location or how well it fits within your budget. Some of these factors will be much more critical than others, so be sure to rank them accordingly when comparing them to what’s available in your area.
Give it a Try
If you think you’ve located a coworking space that’s perfect for you, but you’re hesitant to make the plunge, explore the membership options available. Many communal workspaces today offer fantastic trial offers and other flexible options that allow members to give things a try without any form of long-term commitment. Utilizing spaces that offer trial periods or month-to-month memberships can eliminate the financial anxiety of larger annual obligations by giving you the chance to walk away from them at any time if you find they don’t work with your needs or your budget.
If you’ve ever considered trying out a coworking space for your business, you’ve likely heard several “myths” surrounding them. There seems to be a lot of misconceptions and confusion out there in regard to shared spaces, but the truth is, most offer invaluable benefits when compared to traditional spaces. To better understand what coworking spaces are (and if they’re right for you), it helps to know what they aren’t. Here is a look at some of the most common coworking myths and why they are debunked:
Myth #1: Coworking Spaces Are Only for Millennials and Freelancers
Since coworking spaces are a relatively new (but rapidly expanding) concept, it’s easy to understand how some may be confused as to what they are and who they are for. Somewhere along the way, coworking spaces have gained a reputation for catering only to those who are freshly entering the working world or only in specific areas of interest.
The truth is, coworking spaces are offered across the globe in record numbers and cater to all individuals and businesses. In fact, most spaces pride themselves on incorporating a highly diverse group of professionals in their spaces. Keeping a workplace community with individuals in all stages and areas of business offers members an unparalleled set of resources in the same space.
Myth #2: You Must be a Social Butterfly to be a Member
While it’s true that coworking spaces provide fantastic social and networking opportunities on a daily basis, you don’t need to worry about privacy or space to work on your own. Since most spaces offer private office spaces, cubes, or designated quiet areas, there’s always somewhere for those who wish to have a more solo experience as well.
Myth #3: You’re Limited to Access the Things You Need
Many people assume that a coworking space will limit their accessibility to things they need. This, however, couldn’t be further from the truth.
With coworking spaces, you’re free to come and go as you please – meaning, you create your own hours. As you continue your coworking membership and get to know others in your shared spaces, you will begin to mesh out a schedule that works best for you and doesn’t interfere with anyone else in the space.
Myth #4: You Must Sign a Long-Term Contract or Lease
Another myth is that coworking spaces run like rental properties and leases, requiring you to sign a designated contract ensuring you’ll stay for a specified length of time. Since this can be quite a detraction for those who need flexibility, many swear off coworking spaces before they even get inside the door of one to check it out.
The truth? While there are likely some spaces that operate that way, most coworking communities are designed specifically to help those with flexibility needs. Meaning, the majority of shared spaces offer many different tiers of membership options that allow you to utilize the space only as you need it. In other words, most offer simple pay-as-you-go options that require no long-term contracts.
While all spaces operate under their own policies and procedures, you’ll never know if they’re right for you unless you chuck the myths and check them out on your own. Ask someone who participates in coworking spaces or take a visit of a nearby shared community – those are the best ways to debunk the myths and find what works for you.