This is a post from our Co-Founder + Chief Community Officer, Nicole Vasquez.
You’re on day 12 of “working from home” and the thrill is gone. At 11:30am you’re already making a second trip to the fridge for a snack distraction, and when you catch a glimpse of your pajama-clad self in the mirror you know its time to find a better way.
You’ve heard of coworking spaces: shared workspace where remote workers, entrepreneurs, and anyone looking for a productive setting outside of the home or coffee shop, can join as a member and have access to an office setting, without the commitment of leasing an individual office, or trekking to your company’s office across town.
But you’ve never tried coworking, and are uncertain how to start.
- Where do you begin?
- What do you look for?
- What questions should you ask?
- How do you know you’re making the right decision if you’ve never tried coworking before?
First, take a deep breath and know it’s much easier than you think. Here are 4 easy steps to get you coworking quick!
1) Make a list of what you want from a workspace
Ask yourself what your top 3 needs are out of a workspace. Start by observing what it takes for you to be your most productive self now.
Do you just need a table and a good WiFi signal? Or do you use an extra monitor, keyboard, or other equipment?
Do you take a lot of phone calls throughout the day, or do you need a quiet place where you can focus for hours on end without interruption?
Is having a private space to meet with clients essential to your business, or are you more interested in attending events that will provide you the opportunity to meet new people and expand your professional network?
Write down your top 3 needs along with your reasons why.
For example: “My most important factor is that I’m looking for a space close to home, so that I can go home for lunch and take the dog out for a walk. I make a lot of calls throughout the day so a private area to do so would be great. Last, I’m always looking to grow my business, so opportunities to meet other people throughout my day would be a great benefit, since I don’t have that option now while working from home.
2) Start your search
First, it’s important to know there are a variety of coworking services: from individual coworking spaces, to membership network models such as Deskpass.
By joining an individual space, you’ll become a member at that space and enjoy all the benefits of that particular space. This is a good option for people who want a consistent setting.
To start: Try a simple google search of “coworking spaces near” your zip code or current address, and visit each space’s website.
By joining a network like Deskpass, you’ll have access to a variety of spaces and can choose where you’d like to work from on any given day, depending on your schedule, preference, or simply to enjoy different environments throughout your work week.
To start: visit www.deskpass.com. Currently, Deskpass provides access to workspaces and meeting rooms across the nation.
3) Start touring (and trying out) spaces
When visiting a space, make sure to let the manager on site (usually referred to as a Community Manager) know the following:
- That you are in the market for a coworking space
- What your top 3 needs are
- The date you would like to start coworking
- What your budget is
- While taking a tour of a space, or using a free trial day, make sure to note the following:
- Does the space address all 3 of your workspace needs?
- What is the environment like?
- Do they offer unique services or amenities that would be helpful for you?
- What is management like? Do they have a special mission or vision that interests you? What are the membership fees, minimum commitments, or cancellation policies?
- What is the guest policy?
- How often can you use the meeting rooms and is there an additional charge?
Make sure to take notes during your tour as you won’t remember everything you discuss, especially if you’re touring multiple spaces in the same day. Also, make sure to get the contact information of the manager in case you have follow up questions, or need additional information to make your decision.
4) Make your decision
First, ask yourself if you’d rather have an individual membership at a particular space, or if you’d like to join a network of spaces instead (like Deskpass). Plus, know that some people do both!
For example, a person may have a basic membership at a coworking space near their house for the few days per week they work from home, and then have a Deskpass membership for the 1–2 days per week where they are in different parts of the city and need workspace options outside of their neighborhood.
Next, make sure that the option you choose is the best one that fits your top 3 needs, and not just the one that looks the coolest or has your favorite beer on tap.You will be your most productive and happiest self, with the option that best fits your individual workspace requirements.