As a digital nomad, I’ve had the pleasure of working from some of the most picturesque locations on the planet. Let’s face it, the idea of being able to work from a café in Madrid or a mountain town like Pai in Thailand sounds like a dream come true. But choosing the right coworking space is more than just about aesthetics. It’s also about the practicalities.
You don’t want to end up in a situation where you’re battling poor Wi-Fi, uncomfortable chairs, or noisy neighbors. So, whether you’re looking for a professional environment or just want to meet some like-minded individuals, we’ve got you covered.
Let’s find the ideal workspace to work and play in!
What is not a coworking space?
Let’s get one thing straight: just because a place has a table and chair, it does not automatically make it a coworking space. I mean, what’s next, calling a picnic table a high-end conference room?
Coworking spaces are unique because they offer a lot more than just a desk to work at. They provide a community of like-minded professionals, services like printing and meeting rooms, and an environment that inspires productivity with agronomic and comfortable furniture.
So, don’t settle for just any old table and chair – aim for a space that will take your productivity to new heights.
When it comes to coworking spaces, location is everything. You want to find a space that is conveniently located and easily accessible.
Here are some things to consider when choosing a coworking space based on location.
A. Proximity to transportation and amenities
One of the most important factors to consider is the proximity of the coworking space to public transportation and other amenities. Ideally, you want a space near public transportation hubs such as train stations, bus stops, and airports. This will make it easier for you to get to and from the space and for clients to reach you.
In addition to transportation, you should also look for a coworking space near amenities such as restaurants, cafes, and shops. This will make it easy for you to grab a bite to eat or run errands during your workday.
B. Availability of parking
If you plan on driving to the coworking space, you’ll want to ensure ample parking is available. Check to see if the space has a parking lot or if there are nearby parking garages or lots that you can use. You don’t want to waste valuable work time searching for a parking spot or risk getting ticketed or towed.
C. Safety and security of the area
Last but not least, you want to make sure that the coworking space is located in a safe and secure place. After all, you don’t want to end up working in a space that makes you feel like you’re in the Wild West.
Research the neighborhood and check online reviews for any red flags. Look for a space with security measures such as keycard access, CCTV cameras, and onsite security staff. Trust me. You don’t want to take any chances when it comes to your safety.
Besides, we all know how things can go missing in the blink of an eye, especially if you go to the bathroom for just a second. So, make sure to choose a coworking space that will keep your belongings as safe as you are.
Let’s face it. When it comes to coworking spaces, the price tag can be a real deal-breaker. Here are some things to consider regarding the price of coworking spaces.
A. Cost of membership
The membership cost is often the first thing people consider when choosing a coworking space. Membership fees vary widely, from as little as a few dollars per day to hundreds per month. It’s essential to consider your budget and what you can afford before committing to a space.
B. Availability of different pricing plans
Many spaces offer different plans, such as daily or hourly rates, monthly or yearly memberships, or even punch cards.
You don’t want to pay for more than you need, but you also don’t want to be caught off guard by unexpected fees. Plus, if you plan on staying for a while, you might be able to negotiate a sweet deal – who doesn’t love a discount?
So, be sure to do your research and find a space that fits your budget and your needs. After all, you don’t want to end up working in a fancy office with a broken bank account.
C. Inclusion of additional services
Some coworking spaces offer amenities such as printing, meeting rooms, and kitchen facilities, while others may charge extra for these services.
Consider what services you need to be productive and look for a space that offers them at an affordable price.
It’s worth noting that there are coworking spaces that offer a more basic experience, where all you need to do is purchase a cup of coffee to use a chair. These are often my personal favorites.
On the other hand, some coworking spaces may require you to pay a subscription fee to access a chair without including the cost of the coffee.
In the end, the choice of coworking space comes down to what you need and what you’re willing to spend, so do your research and choose wisely!
Community and Networking Opportunities
One of the powerful advantages of coworking spaces is the opportunity to connect and network with like-minded people.
Here are some things to consider:
A. Type of community in the space
When considering a space, look at its members and assess whether they’re your type of people. After all, you don’t want to be the only one wearing a suit in a room full of techies.
Choose a space that fits your vibe, and you’ll be sure to find the right community to work alongside.
B. Networking events and opportunities
Networking events and opportunities are like the cherry on top of the coworking sundae. Many spaces offer happy hours, workshops, and meetups where you can mingle, network, and learn from other professionals in your industry. It’s like speed dating for business, except you’re not trying to find your soulmate (hopefully).
Be sure to look at their event calendar or ask them what they offer. And if you’re looking for tips on how to avoid boring small talk, check out my latest article.
So, go ahead and make some connections, share some laughs, and maybe even find your next business partner. After all, you never know who you’ll meet at a coworking space!
C. Collaboration and partnership opportunities
In addition to networking, coworking spaces can also provide opportunities for collaboration and partnerships. Some spaces may facilitate collaborations between members, while others may offer resources to help members grow their businesses.
In my opinion, networking is one of the key factors to consider when choosing a coworking space. I go into more detail about this in my article “25 Lessons I Learned About Nomadic Life & Business,” but to sum it up, I always look for evidence of community activities, events, and games when checking out a space.
But beware of spaces that claim to have a community but don’t follow through. To avoid disappointment, read reviews and check the coworking space’s social media pages for proof of events.
Let’s talk about amenities. After all, coworking spaces should have more than just a desk and a chair.
A. Workspace Options
It’s important to consider the available workspace options. Do they offer standing desks, couches, or perhaps a quiet room? Consider what you need and make sure the space can accommodate your preferences.
B. Internet Connectivity
A fast and reliable internet connection is crucial for remote work. Check the quality of the internet connectivity in the coworking space to ensure it meets your needs.
C. Meeting Rooms, Private Spaces, and Common Areas
Make sure the coworking space offers private spaces for calls and meetings. Common areas can also be beneficial for networking or taking a break.
D. Office Equipment
Check for the availability of office equipment like printers, scanners, and copiers. It’s also essential to consider whether they charge for usage and whether it’s reasonable.
Last, let’s talk about the most important amenity of all: Coffee. Access to a fresh, hot cup of coffee can be a game-changer for a productive workday. Check if the coworking space offers coffee and if it’s included in your membership or if you need to pay extra.
Reviews and Ratings
As we read reviews before choosing a hostel or hotel, it’s important to read reviews before choosing a coworking space.
A. Online reviews and ratings:
Before deciding on a coworking space, it’s important to read reviews and ratings from other users. Look for comments on the space’s cleanliness, amenities, and atmosphere.
Keep in mind that not all reviews are created equal, so try to read a mix of positive and negative reviews to get a well-rounded understanding of the space.
B. Testimonials from current and past members:
In addition to online reviews, it can be helpful to seek testimonials from current and past members of the coworking space.
Ask around in your professional network or contact the coworking space directly to see if they can connect you with members who can share their experiences.
C. Reputation of the coworking space:
Finally, consider the reputation of the coworking space within the broader community. Do they have a track record of supporting members and fostering a collaborative environment? Or do they have a reputation for being unresponsive to member needs? This can be a key factor in deciding whether a coworking space suits you.
The Good and the Ugly: A Tale of Two Workspaces
Let me share with you my experience at two different coworking spaces – one that was a total dream and the other, well, let’s just say it wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for.
After hearing about my experiences, you might find some helpful insights for choosing your next workspace.
Example of a good coworking space:
HUB HOI AN – Vietnam
This tropical coworking space in Vietnam offers a professional work environment for remote workers, digital nomads, local entrepreneurs, and freelancers. The community here is inspiring, creative, and self-employed travelers, who enjoy the beauty of Vietnam’s central coast, the local Vietnamese community, and its rich cultural heritage.
What sets this place apart is the newly built air-conditioned glass house with a 360° garden view, and a quiet, air-conditioned room. Plus, the lush tropical garden offers enough space to find your own little nook.
Here are some advantages of the place:
- Beautiful and quiet space: The workspace is newly built, air-conditioned, and has a 360-degree garden view. The lush tropical garden provides a peaceful environment to work in.
- Communalism with plenty of activities: The coworking space fosters a community of inspiring and creative self-employed travelers. The space hosts events, workshops, open talks, networking dinners, excursions, daily community lunches, and social meetups to help members connect.
- Free local (Vietnamese) coffee: Members of the coworking space can enjoy free coffee to keep them fueled throughout the day.
- Super-fast internet: The internet speed is excellent, crucial for remote workers and digital nomads relying on a stable and fast connection.
- Calm atmosphere: The atmosphere is relaxed and conducive to productivity. Members can work without any distractions or noise pollution.
- Comfortable office chairs: The chairs are comfortable, ensuring members can work for extended periods without experiencing discomfort.
- The prices are relatively high compared to other coworking spaces in the area.
- Payment by credit card is currently not possible.
A video I made about the place:
Example of a lousy coworking space:
Censored – (I prefer not to name it, so you must use your imagination here).
This coworking space didn’t offer many advantages – except for the fact that it was cheap. The internet was spotty, the space was cramped, and it smelled like stale cigarettes. Plus, there were no organized events or social meetups to foster community.
- The prices are relatively low compared to other coworking spaces in the area.
- Poor Internet connection: The wifi connection is slow and prone to frequent interruptions.
- Noisy environment: The workspace can be quite noisy due to its small size and lack of soundproofing materials.
- Uncomfortable furniture: The office chairs are old and uncomfortable, leading to backaches after long work hours.
- Crowded atmosphere: Many people are often in the workspace, making it difficult to concentrate.
I hope these examples have given you a better idea of what to look for when choosing a coworking space and what to consider regarding benefits and drawbacks.
The surprising benefits of working in a coworking space
Did you know that studies have shown that people who work in coworking spaces tend to be more productive and happy with their work?
According to a study published in Harvard Business Review, people who work in coworking spaces report higher levels of meaningful work, job control, and community compared to those who work in traditional offices.
My final words
When it comes to choosing the perfect coworking space, it’s important to keep in mind that you might not find a space that checks off all your boxes. Instead, prioritize your two or three most important considerations during your search. And if you ask me, networking is one of those essential considerations.
I’ve made lasting friendships through coworking spaces that I still keep in touch with today. I mean, sure, the Wi-Fi speed and complimentary coffee are important, but the connections you make are what can truly enrich your work and life. Finding the right coworking space is about aligning with your values and goals and feeling comfortable and inspired to work and connect with others.
So, grab your laptop, put on your best networking smile, and find the perfect space to boost your productivity and creativity.
What is a coworking space?
A coworking space is a shared workspace where people from different professions or companies can work together in a communal setting.
Are coworking spaces worth it?
Yes, coworking spaces can be a valuable investment for freelancers, entrepreneurs, and small business owners who want to work in a professional environment and have access to resources like high-speed internet, meeting rooms, and networking opportunities.
What makes a good coworking space?
A good coworking space should have a comfortable, functional, and inspiring environment with ample amenities, a supportive community, a convenient location, and affordable pricing options.
Are coworking spaces safe?
Yes, most coworking spaces prioritize safety and security by implementing measures like keycard access, surveillance cameras, and background checks for members.
Who needs coworking space?
Anyone who needs a flexible and affordable workspace that offers networking opportunities, resources, and a sense of community can benefit from coworking spaces, including freelancers, remote workers, entrepreneurs, and small business owners.
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