We’ve all heard it before: Coworking is the office of the future! And indeed, many of us who run small businesses or work as freelancers have likely already tested out coworking, either for a meeting or as part of our own experiments in looking for the best working environment. But as coworking spaces begin to multiply, how do you narrow down the options to find one that best suits your needs? Here are some factors to consider as you look around.
How Many People Will Be Joining You?
Most coworking spots have options for small teams, larger teams and individuals. Do you need space for planning meetings and brainstorming, or just a flat surface, a chair, and an internet connection? Shop around to see which space in your city has the best options for your needs. Impact Hub LA, for instance, offers memberships for individuals, teams of up to four, access Monday-Friday or access 24/7, among other options.
How Often Will You Really Go?
We know, we know — you’re going to bound out of bed every morning, take a shower, make some coffee, and hurl yourself into your car so you can get to your new coworking office by 9:00 a.m. This is the new you!
But seriously though. If you’ve worked from home for the past five years, it’s possible that you actually enjoy working from home, and only really need a break from that once or twice a week. If that’s the case, start small. Get the cheapest membership policy available, and track how often you use it for a month or two. If you find yourself wanting to go more often – or being more productive when you’re there – you can upgrade. But just like anything else, don’t commit to five days a week for a full year with no refund before you’ve given it a test run.
Is the Social Element Important to You?
Some of us like to get out and talk to people, lest we feel that our social skills are atrophying by the very minute. Others prefer to be alone as much as possible, understanding that other humans exist only to thwart and destroy you.
With that said, figure out which type of person you are, and plan accordingly. If socializing is important to you, pay attention to the other types of people when you tour coworking spaces. No, we’re not suggesting that you judge a book by its cover, but if you’re working on a screed against capitalism and the people you see at a given coworking spot are all decked out in Rolexes, maybe it’s not the place for you.
On the other hand, the quality of the other members could go lower on your priority list if you’re not planning on talking to them anyway. Coworking spaces do seem to have positive effects on a person’s productivity, so maybe that sociability has its benefits.
Either way, shop around to find the right price, and the right vibe. NeueHouse in Los Angeles, for example, promotes its membership-by-application-only policy – an application that includes submitting a photo of yourself – and charges $650 - $800 a month for unlimited access to the communal floors. Kleverdog, just five miles away, charges $275 a month for the same privileges and does not require that you apply. For those elsewhere, check out the big dog of shared spaces, WeWork.