Should I get an office within a coworking space?
Coworking space are popping up all over the place! A lot of them offer designated office spaces and come with a significant amount of valuable and unique amenities that you may not normally see in a traditional office space or corporate building. If you haven’t been a member of a coworking space before or are generally new to the industry, you may have some hesitation about signing an office lease with such a space. In this article, we want to give you the insights and tools to not only navigate the decision about choosing an office in a coworking space, but how you should also approach leasing any office space in general.
Step 1 – Why do you want an office?
As with most things, step one should be asking that big scary question, why? A few common answers to that question for most people beginning their office search are:
- Meeting Locations – Spending too much time driving to clients, having to find offsite spaces to meet, or it is no longer practical to professionally operate out of a backpack.
- Business Address – Tired of business mail arriving at your home, need to register your business with the appropriate authorities, improve your online presence, or just give off a more professional vibe, having a business address can meet all of those needs.
- Focus Space – Sometimes it is as simple as just needing a quiet place to focus and not be distracted when you are working or meeting with your team or clients.
- Adding Staff – Ready to add an operations or back-end support staff and need to have a day-in, day-out space for that them to operate from and meet with you.
- Community – Running a small business can be a lonely gig. It makes sense that people would look for a space just to have the excuse to be around other people for a sense of community and professionally network with them.
- It’s the Next Step – The pro’s and con’s list might not justify the move, but you know it will take you out of your comfort zone and push you to start operating more professionally and grow your business into the space.
One of the most common examples we experience when touring office seekers is them coming in interested in a smaller office space, only to find that a coworking membership meets their why for an office and at a fraction of the cost. By not asking why at the beginning of your search, you may unknowingly be limiting your workspace options and end up missing out on an opportunity that is functionally and financially superior.
Step 2 – What are your “must haves”
From the “Why” to the “What”. It is now time to consider what spaces are offering you in terms of amenities, environment, community, and so on and how much each of those actually matter to you. Depending on what industry you are in or what stage you are at with your business, you will be approaching your office space search with your own “must haves” for you to successfully operate your business and be personally efficient. We recommend making a good old fashion T-chart with one side being your “Must Haves” and the other “Nice to Haves”. See some examples below from a few of our members to see how your T-chart may differ across industry and role.
|“NICE TO HAVES”
|Highspeed internet capable of large uploads.
|Networking opportunities through the building community.
|Podcast studio to conduct voice overs.
|Access to additional workspaces outside of my office.
|24/7 building access.
|Storage space for production equipment.
|“NICE TO HAVES”
|Little to no sound transfer from office to office so clients feel safe to share.
|Complimentary community refreshments.
|Enough room for up to two clients at a time, plus my office materials.
|Podcast studio for a potential counseling related podcast.
|Comfortable lobby area for clients to wait for their appointment.
|Building receptionist to direct guests.
|“NICE TO HAVES”
|Scalability to move into a larger space as the team grows.
|Free coffee for office and field teams.
|Proximity to suppliers, material storage, and clientele.
|Onsite storage for roofing materials.
|Business address that improves SEO for target demographic.
|Building aesthetic to impress clients or vendors.
After you have your defined T-chart, take it with you as you tour different facilities to keep your needs top of mind as you experience different environments, functions, and frills. Historically, coworking space are great for people who want more than just a physical room and a landlord, but people desiring an energetic environment, connection to a broader community, and an aesthetically unique space. Depending on your industry and must haves, a coworking space may or may not fit those needs and knowing your must haves will help you make that decision more effectively.
Step 3 – Ask the right questions
Now that you know what you must have in a space and have even maybe narrowed your search down to a space or two, you need to get into the nitty gritty of what the facility you will be working with is or is not offering. Before you lock in a lease, take the time to ask the right questions of the facility manager and gain as much clarity as possible about what you are signing up with and what they will expect of you. Check out our list of questions below to hopefully stimulate a list that you can bring to your meeting with the leasing agent.
- What is the monthly rate? Does that change with a different lease term? What are my lease term options?
- What is the square footage of the office?
- Is there a charge for utilities? If so, what is the average rate for gas, electric, water, and internet? Do I have control over the heating and cooling of my space?
- When is the building open and when can and can’t I or my team use it?
- What does building security look like? Is there a history of incidences that my team and I should be aware?
- What is the security deposit?
- What are we allowed to change in the office space (i.e., paint, shelving)?
- Do you have a list of free amenities (i.e., internet, coffee) and a list of add-ons (i.e., additional key fobs, parking) that we would pay for?
- In the event that something happens personally or professionally and I need to break my lease, what does that process look like?
- What are the rules and processes for using shared spaces like meeting rooms and open space?
- What types of businesses and members currently operate out of this space?
- Are there community events hosted by facility management?
- Would I be able to speak with an existing member of the building to hear how their experience has been?
Asking these questions will help you see that though traditional office spaces and coworking space operate within the same industry, there is a noticeable difference in how and why they do business the way they do. Never hesitate to ask questions that may feel awkward or too forward when interviewing an office space. You are the one paying for it, so make sure you know exactly what you are getting!
Step 4 – Consider scalability
Most office leases require a minimum of a 1-year lease. A lot can happen in a year for you and your business! Before signing an agreement, think through what your business’s needs may be 1-year from now and ideate on how that space you are considering fits into that vision.
- Will you outgrow the space after a few months if things stay on track?
- Will the location of the facility still be viable if the bulk of your business shifts geographically?
- What is the facility’s process for current tenants wanting to upgrade or downgrade space size mid-lease?
This is one of the most significant advantages that coworking space often have over traditional office buildings. Coworking space are traditionally and uniquely designed to offer work options to individuals all across the professional landscape. Our coworking space has actually experienced many entrepreneurs, small businesses, and remote workers come for a tour our facility wanting an office, to then end up selecting our coworking membership because it provides a month-to-month commitment, meets their must haves, and all at a fraction of the cost. Coworking and smaller office members are then given priority over outside parties when office space, or larger office space, comes available, regardless of the time remaining on their lease.
Step 5 – Enjoy where you will be!
After you’ve worked through your questions, thoughts, and lists, make sure you ask yourself one last question “Will I like working from here everyday?” You need to enjoy where you will be, the people you will be around, and the environment that comes with both of those.
If you follow our 5 steps here, we are confident that you will be able to find the right office space for you and your business.
Interested in learning more about coworking?
Feel free to hit our Request a Tour button below and connect with our staff about any and all your coworking or office space questions! We’d be happy to introduce you to our existing members so you can hear how their experience has been as well.