So, you’re looking to move into your own office or coworking space. Congrats! However, choosing a place for your business to call home takes some consideration. You’ll want to confirm that you’ll be moving into a space that fits your business and your needs.
Before you sign on the dotted line, figure out exactly what you need from your new office space, and take a tour to confirm that the space is the right fit for you.
Here’s what to think about when touring a shared office or coworking space.
How big is the space?
The size of the space will have an impact on your overall work experience. A small space can be friendly and intimate but comes with challenges such as space constraints, conference room availability and available amenities. On the other hand, a large space may offer more flexibility and a long list of perks, but can suffer from higher noise levels, foot traffic and challenges around accessing areas like the kitchen and bathrooms.
When assessing your space, consider how its size will affect your overall experience. How many people are working there, and how many more are likely to move in?
What is the vibe?
Not all spaces are created equally. Your ideal shared office or coworking space will depend on your business size and needs. Think about if you’re looking for a hip, entrepreneurial vibe or more of a professional, executives only vibe.
Also, think about the vibe of the service. Does the staff seem willing to go above and beyond for you? Do they seem willing to help?
Is there room to expand?
You probably have big plans for your business – even if you’re starting from a payroll of one. Speak with the owner or host about your options for expansion, and what kind of extra costs and fees are involved.
Are your options limited to additional hot desks, or can you rent a bank of connected desks? Is a private room an option? How much notice is required if you need more desks or offices, and what happens if your team continues to grow?
Who else is in the space?
The mix of tenants plays a large part in the environment of the shared space. Before deciding to take the plunge, review the tenant mix in your prospective space, and consider what it means for your business. If you’re a fashion business in a sea of tech startups, you may not be able to make the connections you want. On the other hand, a freelance graphic designer may find themselves with a long list of new client leads.
Industry matters, but so does the size and maturity of the businesses involved. When considering a space, think about its diversity, where you’ll fit in and what it means for you.
What’s included in your monthly fees?
Be sure to understand what’s included in your base rental cost. Often this includes your desk, internet, and key passes, with things like mail and telephone services being extra. You may also need to pay additional fees for bike storage, printing, and scanning, or for excess data.
Ask for a breakdown of fees, as well as any extras that you might incur. Don’t forget to ask about any planned cost increases and how frequently these will occur.
How good is the Wi-Fi?
Being connected 24/7 is the new normal. And that applies to the office Wi-Fi as well. Before signing on the dotted line, check your new office’s Wi-Fi speeds, and ask about password protection and encryption. For regular business needs, a standard connection may be fine, but for data-heavy businesses, a fiber optic connection may be the bare minimum.
When checking Wi-Fi speeds, ask about whether speeds are throttled at a particular usage point, or whether excess usage fees apply. Additionally, if security is important to you, see whether it’s possible to have your own private connection set up for your staff only.
Are you near public transportation?
And don’t just think about yourself here. It’s beneficial to be near public transportation not only for you but for your employees, clients, prospects and anyone else who may be coming to meet you. Location is key.
Summing it up
Where you work has a huge impact on how you work. If you’ve decided to take the shared office or coworking space route, take the time to tour a few spaces to see how they measure up for you. Arrive with a list of questions about the space, tenants, fees, technology, and amenities, and you’ll find yourself in a good spot to be able to make an informed decision about where to make your new corporate home.