Traditionally, if you were a freelancer or had your own business, the only choices of setting-up an office were either out of home or renting an office space. Thankfully now we see this changing where the risk-taking ability of entrepreneurs has increased, funding for a good idea is possible and innovation in figuring out a solution for basic problems has become a norm.

One such resolution that was long due for small businesses, independent professionals, start-ups and companies with remote employees was –

  • to work in a professional environment
  • collaborate, and connect with teams and new people
  • get an office place without paying exorbitant rent

The solution that is here to stay is coworking. If you are yet to experience the world of shared workspaces, then here are 8 questions to ask before taking up a coworking space.

Ask for a Trial period:Most coworking spaces nowadays offer potential customers to experience their spaces for a day or two. Therefore, ask for a trial as this will let you gauge if the area compliments your working style. It will also let you review the facilities it provides, the noise levels when it’s fully occupied and availability of quiet areas or conference rooms for meetings and discussions. Thus, we suggest, get a preview before you sign-up for the coworking space.

Know the cost:This is a significant aspect when determining on a coworking space. With different daily, weekly, or monthly plans available, identify the ones that suit your budget. Also, check if the space charges extra for any facilities like a dedicated desk, stationery, photocopy and print-outs, Wi-Fi over a certain limit, providing refreshments for external meetings, etc. It is also advisable to know its membership cancellation policy and any notice you may have to give before terminating the contract.

Identify the amenities:Most coworking spaces provide basic office amenities like high-speed WiFi, desks, chairs, meeting rooms, coffee machines, etc. However, it’s always good to be informed about the upper limit to the usage or extra pay post a certain limit. Some shared spaces also have fixed working hours, therefore, check if your work timings align with the facilities and the flexibility it can offer you. Before taking a final decision, be mindful of the services that you will use and the money you will end up spending or saving on them.

Be cognizant of the commute:Nothing is more tiring than being stuck in traffic. As most spaces are located in prime locations, being aware of the time during both peak and off-peak hours are important. Also, verify with the space on its other locations around the city that you or your team might be able to use to save time. So, make sure the coworking space that you select saves the commute time resulting in a higher efficient workday.

The other occupants:The concept of a shared space is that you will be using it with other people so before closing the deal, know the other occupants. This will help you understand the noise levels that you can expect, the business and career development opportunities or presence of competitors in the same workspace. Though, most spaces house varied professionals like graphic designers, writers, coders, product developers, photographers, etc. identifying the ones that you can align with for future should be a factor of consideration before signing the contract.

Also, remember that you’ll be around these people many times a week so feeling comfortable around them should be your priority.

Check the ergonomic:An often ignored factor when evaluating a space is the ergonomics. Since you will soon be spending hours and days sitting on the desk, a bad chair can not only spoil the experience for you but also lead to back problems. Hence, examining the furniture and the comfort it will provide when sitting for long hours. You can also ask the coworking space provider if they have options of the standing desk or easy chairs or even bean bags to relax and work.

Networking events opportunities: Many spaces often host social and networking events like Friday lunches, sports night, professional development workshops etc. for its members. This informal opportunity enables people of the same coworking space as well as other spaces of the same company to mingle, connect to a community of like-minded entrepreneurs and collaborate for future working opportunities. These events also give a break from the daily routine to relax and get to work with a fresh mind and sometimes a newer approach the next day.

Understand the commitment:Though the shared spaces offer flexible usage plans, some might require a minimum commitment and service of notice before cancelling the membership. Hence, evaluate the flexibility and guarantees if any, or else, you could end up paying unnecessary fees.

Working out of coworking spaces is fun and a refreshing break as compared to from home. So, try them but just keep in mind the above 8 reasons before you close on a space. Your money is important and allocating it in the right place is crucial, thus, select your new office wisely.

An article by Mishu Ahluwalia, Founder & CEO, GoHive