How to Find the Right Coworking Space: 8 Tips for Freelancers
Coworking and freelancing go hand-in-hand. At most coworking spaces, there is a built-in network of independent professionals, including designers, developers, programmers, consultants, writers, marketers and more. These networks are incredibly valuable to freelancers whose needs change depending on the projects they’re working on.
But coworking spaces are all different, and it’s important to find the right space for you. Here are eight tips to help you locate a space where you, and your freelance career, can thrive.
1. How’s the Volume?
Do you like background music when you work? Do you prefer to have your workspace quiet? Can you work in the middle of a busy coworking space or do you need to have a corner to yourself? Make sure that the space suits your needs and preferences around sound. You can always put headphones on, but you don’t want to have to tune-out all day just to get your work done.
2. Do You Like the Vibe?
Is the coworking space buzzing with activity or do people keep to themselves? Would you prefer to have activity around you or is it too distracting? Is there a unique focus for the space? Get clear about what you need to do your best work and make sure the space offers that.
3. What’s the Style?
Is the coworking space hip and trendy or is it like a traditional office? Which do you prefer? Be honest with yourself about the kind of space you like to be in. You’ll be spending a lot of time here so it should feel like your home away from home.
4. Meet the Community
One of the biggest benefits of coworking is the community. Your fellow members are far more valuable than fast wi-fi, a desk and good coffee. Make sure the space has a focus on community, and that the community is a good fit for you. You should ask the community managers about the community, but also ask current members to get their perspective. The best coworking communities are diverse, supportive, active, open and welcoming.
5. Look at the Event Schedule
Most coworking spaces have events, including Meetups, skillshares, lunch and learns, presentations, and networking events. Look at the schedule and see if the upcoming events are interesting to you. You may or may not attend them all, but it will give you a good idea of the programming in the space and whether it will be of value to you. Protip: If there’s an event you’d like to see but it’s not on the schedule, pitch the idea to the community manager. They’re always on the lookout for good event ideas.
6. Are There Meeting Rooms?
Do you need space to meet with clients or collaborate on projects? Make sure you’ll have access to meeting rooms and that they offer everything you’ll need, such as a whiteboard, projector, plenty of seats, etc.
7. What are the Workspace Options?
For freelancers, different days require different workspace options. One day you may be comfortable in the middle of the cafe space, the next you may need to hide away and do uninterrupted work for hours. Make sure there are plenty of workspace options to meet whatever needs you may have. Some of the options to look for include private rooms or spaces to take calls, rooms to record podcasts or host webinars, places to work on group projects, social spaces for connecting with other members, and quiet zones. You may also make sure there are other options, such as dedicated desks and private offices, that you could grow into.
8. What Amenities Does the Space Offer?
Most coworking spaces offer coffee and tea. Many have a kitchen with a fridge, toaster, dishwasher, sink, pantry, etc. Most will also offer access to a printer and scanner. Think about your daily routine, including your meals and office supply use, and make sure the space offers the things you’ll need.
Ready to find the best coworking space for you? Share Your Office helps people connect with coworking spaces that suit their style and needs.
Cat Johnson is a writer and content strategist focused on coworking, community and the future of work. Publications include Shareable, Yes! Magazine, Mother Jones, Triple Pundit and Future Perfect. Follow her on Twitter: @CatJohnson