Coworking is an arrangement whereby several workers from different companies share office space, enabling financial savings and networking through common facilities such as desks, equipment, utilities, kitchen, reception, and other services.
While it goes without saying that coworking space must have certain features, such as a fast internet connection and good equipment, other factors can ensure it goes above and beyond what is expected to create a luxurious working environment.
Arguably the most important thing coworking space should have is a good internet connection: running a business depends on this. You can have the most up-to-date equipment on the market – but without a fast internet service, you’re stuffed.
The internet should be stable and high-speed. This is an absolutely mandatory requirement. Similarly, a landline telephone is also vital.
Every business wants the appropriate safety measures in place. As well as online security to protect data and business files, offline security is important too. Find out what anti-hacker software and procedures are in place to prevent cyber-attacks and data breaches.
You could also do with knowing whether there’s a security guard in the lobby, whether CCTV operates around the building and whether there’s a night patrol. No matter how fantastic the coworking space seems, your safety and the security of your belongings are of critical importance.
Another “must” for any coworking space is a good community spirit. Some of the best coworking offices are filled with like-minded professionals, who work in similar sectors.
Of course, they shouldn’t be competitors, but they can be from similar backgrounds, as this makes it easier to establish a good relationship. It helps the coworkers to understand each other and respect other people’s needs. Sometimes, it may even be possible to launch mutual projects.
The community should be enhanced by regular free community events such as exercise sessions, running clubs, drinks events etc., this fosters even greater interaction with like-minded individuals.
It’s impossible to gauge fully what the atmosphere will be like until you have worked there for a period of time. However, it is possible to get a rough idea of the ambience from the moment you walk through the door.
A coworking space should be somewhere you can feel at home. It should be a stress-free environment and stimulate a sense of well-being for all who work there. Around 60% of people feel more relaxed in a coworking space than in a traditional office environment, according to studies.
A good coworking space should enable its occupants to run their business cost-effectively, compared with working from a traditional office building – this is a chance to reduce outgoings. You don’t need the whole building, or even a whole floor, so this is a great solution to find somewhere that doesn’t cost the earth.
This leads to another prime consideration: your location. Renting coworking space means you can have your base in a prime location that you might not otherwise be able to afford. You can choose somewhere that is handy for clients to visit and where you won’t have a long commute.
As well as the basics, many modern workers demand more. Office workers, in particular, may wish to train during their lunch break, so you could find a coworking space that has a gym, or a room for yoga and other workouts.
It doesn’t need to be a classic gym stocked with all the latest equipment, but it should be a space where you can take a run on a treadmill, or use an exercise bike, before freshening up in the onsite showers and returning to work.
It’s useful to have a conference room, for meetings and team-building exercises. While most clients, associates and employees won’t mind holding a meeting in a coworking space, there may be times when confidential data must be discussed, or when you don’t want any disturbances. At times like this, a private meeting room is a bonus.
Extra benefits, such as free snacks and drinks, are always handy. Try to find a coworking space that has a kitchen or lounge area, where staff can take a quick tea break and relax away from their desk. It makes people more productive when they have a proper break, away from their desk.
Benefits of coworking
There are plenty of benefits to coworking spaces: one of the biggest is that they offer more networking opportunities and the chance to connect with like-minded individuals.
Working in a relaxed and pleasant environment leads to increased productivity and a boost in creativity, not to mention the extra collaboration opportunities. It offers greater flexibility and cost-efficiency as well – the average cost of a flexible desk is only £168 per month in the UK, according to recent studies.
Surveys have revealed more than 1.1 million people are working in around 14,000 coworking spaces around the world. This figure is expected to grow more in the next few years, as more people realise the benefits of lower operational costs and the increased business opportunities that coworking presents.