Find a checklist to find the perfect coworking space can be a daunting task with the multitude of options available here in Atlanta. From the typical corporate chain space to your local indie community. As remote work and the gig economy continue to grow, coworking is becoming increasingly popular as you get all the flexibility, collboration opportunities, and professional environments that you need in one spot.
According to the Harvard Business Review, recent research suggests that while employees like the freedom and flexibility remote working provides, they don’t necessarily like to work at home alone all the time, either. Research results showed employees working from a third space like coworking find their work more socially fulfilling than working from the office (64%) or from home (67%).
To ensure you choose the right coworking community that fulfills your needs and preferences, it’s essential to have a checklist of factors to consider, which will be your guide through the selection process.
Understanding your specific needs is crucial in determining which will best suit you. Consider factors such as the type of desk arrangement you need, your budgetary constraints, and the kind of access to essential facilities or amenities. Additionally, location plays a vital role as proximity to your home, clients, or business partners can impact productivity and time management. Moreover, assessing the physical attributes of the community, alongside terms and costs, will help in making an informed decision.
- Determine your specific requirements when choosing a coworking community
- Pay attention to the location, workspace environment, and hidden costs involved
- Consider factors like community engagement, trial periods, and future growth opportunities
Understanding Your Needs
Before beginning your search, it’s essential to determine your specific needs. This process includes assessing your budget, business requirements, and the physical space needed for you or your team. Each of these factors plays a key role in finding the perfect spot for you.
Knowing your budget beforehand is crucial in narrowing down your options. Take into consideration all the factors that come with coworking, such as membership fees, additional charges for amenities, and required deposits. Be realistic about your financial capabilities and prioritize finding a space that aligns with your budget. This will also help you avoid overspending on unnecessary features. Here at Alkaloid Networks, we like to keep things simple and do NOT charge for any of our amenities such as parking, conference rooms, printing, etc.
Your business requirements are just as important as the budget you’re working with. Think about what your company needs for day-to-day operations. Is fast and reliable WiFi a must? What about access to meeting rooms or on-site support staff? Maybe you want a community that caters to specific types of people like digital nomads, entrepreneurs, or creative types. Do you need 24/7 access to the space to accommodate nontraditional work schedules? Make a list of your essential requirements as well as your nice-to-haves. This will help you find a space that best meets your team’s needs.
Different coworking will offer various options in terms of physical space, such as shared desks, dedicated desks, and private offices. To make an informed decision, assess how much space you really need. Consider any unique requirements you may have in terms of workstations, such as standing desks or treadmill workstations. Also, take into account the overall office environment, including factors like temperature, air quality, lighting, and background noise that can affect productivity.
When selecting a location, consider how accessible the location is for you, your team and potential clients. Can you easily reach the space via public transport, or is there ample parking if you drive? How convenient is the parking? There are plenty of coworking locations all over Atlanta so you can choose one close to home. Your daily commute should be as simple and stress-free as possible. Many of Alkaloid Networks members walk and bike here since we are located on the Eastside Beltline and have plenty of bike racks and showers available. Additionally, consider whether or not the space is easily accessible for people with disabilities, as this can be an important factor for potential clients, partners, or employees who may visit you.
Another aspect to consider when choosing a coworking community is the availability of neighborhood services. You may want to grab a coffee or have lunch with your coworkers, so make sure there are a variety of cafes, restaurants, and shops nearby. The members at Alkaloid Networks voted on their favorite local restaurants and many of them offer discounts too. It’s also a good idea to have a look at other services that you might need, such as banks, gyms, or even dry cleaners. Having these readily available can help strike the perfect work-life balance and make your workdays more enjoyable.
Proximity to Clients
Finally, think about the proximity to your clients. If your business requires frequent client meetings, selecting a location that is close to or easily accessible to your major clients can be a significant advantage. Not only will it make it more convenient for them to meet you, but it can also help create a professional image for your business.
Amenities in the Coworking Space
Layout and Design
When evaluating a coworking community, pay attention to the layout and design, as it can greatly impact your overall work experience. Look for open and well-ventilated areas with natural light and a variety of seating options, such as desks, private offices, and comfortable lounging areas. Don’t forget to check for ergonomic chairs and adjustable workstations to ensure your physical comfort during long workdays.
Facilities and Amenities
Consider the facilities and perks available in the community. Essential features would usually include a shared kitchen, restrooms (with showers if you need), and comfy spaces for casual conversations or impromptu meetings. Ensure there is plenty of parking, bike racks, or public transportation options nearby. Perks such as free tea and coffee, snacks, and fresh fruit can make a significant difference in your day-to-day work experience.
Check on and ask about the tech infrastructure. Reliable high-speed internet access is crucial for smooth workflow, so inquire about network speed, stability, and whether there are backup connections in place. Check for readily available power outlets and charging stations near your desired workspace. If your work involves frequent video conferences or online collaboration, ensure the space has well-equipped meeting spaces with screens or projectors, adequate seating, and good acoustics.
Terms and Costs
When you get down to choosing, consider the terms and costs associated with it. Be sure to understand the different membership plans and any hidden costs that may not be immediately apparent.
Membership plans are an essential aspect of coworking, as they determine the level of access to services and perks. Most communities usually offer three types of memberships: shared desks, dedicated desks, and private offices.
- Shared Desks: These spaces are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. They suit people who travel light and require only a laptop to work. Half of the shared desks at Alkaloid Networks come equipped with a monitor for those that desire more visual real estate.
- Dedicated Desks: A dedicated desk allows you to have a permanent place in the community. This is ideal for those who prefer consistency and want to get down to work quickly with their personal items already in place.
- Private Offices: For teams or individuals seeking or need a level of privacy, private offices are the best option. They provide a separate workspace with the perks of the shared office. Also, all the utilities and services are already set up, making it easier for your team to get started.
You should carefully analyze the types of memberships offered and select a plan that suits your needs and preferences.
While membership costs are typically upfront, most spaces may have additional fees or hidden costs. Keep an eye out for the following expenses that may arise (especially when looking at large chain coworking operators):
- Setup fees: Typically spaces will charge a one-time setup or initiation fee when you start using their services.
- Conference room usage and event space rental: If you need a meeting or conference room, you will typically need to pay extra the space and any equipment needed. Sometimes you will receive a number of credits to be used towards usage so make sure it will cover your typical needs.
- Printing and copying: Most spaces include access to printing and copying facilities and will charge you per page (or when you exceed the complimentary quota).
- Parking: As it has become more common to pay for parking in Atlanta, find out what the monthly parking costs are for your membership. We are fortunate, here at Alkaloid Networks, to have access to plenty of free parking.
It’s essential to read the fine print when comparing spaces. Make sure you fully understand any extra charges that might come up and factor them into your decision. A thorough understanding of the costs involved will help you avoid surprises. And because we know that costly surprises aren’t welcome, Alkaloid Networks keeps it simple with a flat-fee for your membership.
And don’t forget to consider the community aspect, as it can significantly affect your work experience and potential opportunities for growth.
Keep in mind that you will often have numerous chances for collaboration. Be on the lookout for areas where you can easily mingle and engage with other professionals, such as shared lounges or break rooms. Events and activities offered by the space, such as community volunteering, happy hours, and group runs, can be great opportunities to connect with others and share your expertise. Don’t forget to bring your business cards when attending these events, as they will make exchanging contact information easier and more professional.
Another essential aspect to consider is the culture and community. The right community can provide invaluable support, motivation, and collaboration opportunities. It’s important to assess the overall vibe and culture of the space to see if it aligns with your values and goals.
Trial Periods and Visits
When considering a coworking community, be sure to take advantage of trial periods and visits. This will allow you to get a feel for the space, observe the community, and see whether it aligns with your work style and requirements. Remember, finding the right community is not just about the facilities but also the community and environment.
During your visit, take a close look at the layout and design of the coworking area. Is it spacious enough? Does it offer different seating options such as standing desks or quiet corners for focus? Are the conference rooms easily accessible and equipped with the necessary technology?
Assess the level of noise and the overall ambiance of the space. Remember that you’ll be spending long hours there, so make sure it’s a place where you can work comfortably. If possible, visit at different times of the day to get a good sense of the space’s atmosphere during peak and off-peak hours.
And don’t hesitate to engage with the staff and members to ask questions. Friendly and supportive staff can make a significant difference in your experience. Check whether they are responsive to your needs and if they facilitate collaboration and interaction among members.
Your Checklist for Future Growth
If applicable, think about how your business might grow in the future. This means considering factors that will impact your ability to scale within that space.
One important aspect to evaluate is the available square footage of the space. Make sure there’s enough room to accommodate your team as it expands and the flexibility to adjust the layout for different working styles. A community that offers a mix of open and private spaces will give you the best chance at finding the right balance.
Take note of the features offered. As your team grows and your needs evolve, having access to multiple conference rooms or spaces could become crucial for holding team meetings or hosting clients. The facilities should also include reliable technology infrastructure to cater to the increasing digital demands of your expanding team.
Another key factor are the policies and terms. Finding a flexible space that allows your business to scale up or down as needed will make it easier for you to accommodate future growth without the burden of a long-term commitment. Make sure you understand the terms for expanding within the space and any associated costs that might come with growth.
By keeping future growth in mind while selecting a coworking community, you’ll set yourself up for success and enable your business to thrive within its new environment.