What Makes a Good Coworking Space?

At Deskpass, we believe that access and flexibility are key components to empowering one’s best work. Every space on our network is unique in its own way, and with thousands of offerings, you can work when and where you feel most authentically ‘you.’ 

While defining what makes a good coworking space really comes down to personal preference, there are a few common themes worth noting. From ambiance and interior design to varied seating arrangements and access to meeting rooms, here are nine reasons teams are switching to a hybrid work model. 

Varied seating arrangements

Achieving a healthy work-life balance is the number one reason employees seek more flexible work options such as hybrid work and offering varied seating arrangements allows employees to work where they feel most productive. 

Shared coworking areas might include the standard office chair setup, as well as communal tables, beanbags, vibrant wing chairs and stairs with throw pillows. The change in environment, even when going from a standing desk to a wing chair, gives the brain a fresh perspective. It can help coders solve specific problems, for example, or unblock creative writers. 

credit: Common Desk

Meeting room and private office access

When it’s time to collaborate as a team, reserving a meeting room for the hour or day is a great option. Through a network like Deskpass, members and teams can access dozens of meeting rooms and private offices across the United States, Australia and soon, the world. 

Meeting rooms and offices are typically set up with all the essentials in mind, plus extras—think full whiteboard wall, TV with HDMI and Airplay connections and Polycom conference phones. Meeting rooms cater to teams large and small and vary in layout. A 12-person meeting room may feature a boardroom style layout with a large table and comfortable leather chairs while a four-person meeting room may have a more collaborative feel. 

credit: Primary

Inspiring design

If you’ve stepped foot in a space like The New Work Project, you know how much design can enhance your office experience. The interior design of the space pairs iconic mid-century pieces with custom furniture by The New Design Project, uses black and brass accent lighting, and showcases collaboration with other local Brooklyn designers such as J.M. Szymanski and Eskayel.

Then there’s The Pioneer Collective in Seattle, whose founders drew inspiration from cities like Barcelona and Madrid. In a recent interview, they explained how Spain was way ahead of the US in bringing plants and natural materials into the workplace. These cities also employed bottom-up design, choosing every piece of furniture and equipment deliberately for its form and stated function, rather than executing on a “concept” and ordering everything from a few vendors like so many of our competitors. 

When describing CENTRL Office in Downtown LA, one Deskpass member described it as her favorite coworking space. “Everything is perfectly designed. I love the view, I love colors, I love tables and chairs, I love the ambience, I love the playlist (and the music volume). Moreover, I love the women’s restroom. It comes with the big windows that we can overlook DTLA.”

credit: The New Work Project

Atmosphere of well-being

Building on design is a space’s atmosphere and your sense of well-being when there. With hybrid work, feeling inspired in the workplace has never been more accessible. 

Last year, we added our Moods feature that allows members and teams to filter spaces by mood: lively, luxe, essentials, professional, quiet and unique. Spaces that are more social and collaborative fall under “lively”, while “luxe” listings are very design-conscious. Those marked “essentials” are less design-heavy but perhaps ideal for workers looking for a nearby, and no-frills office space close to home.

Lighting is another component that creates atmosphere. Ideally, coworking spaces will have varied lighting levels that create a balance between areas designed for work, and areas designed for breaktime (such as a sleep pod or game room). Having lots of natural light throughout the day can work as an extra motivator for staying focused and on track. Of course, a lot of this comes down to personal preference and even industry. For example, video editors often prefer darkly-lit rooms so they can better see their screens. 

credit: Studio by Tishman Speyer

Amenities and Accessibility

Studies show that isolation (i.e. working from home) can lead to workers feeling sluggish, unmotivated and unproductive. A network of coworking spaces like Deskpass allows employees to create a curated work environment, on their terms. In many ways, members can cherry-pick aspects they want and don’t want (a quiet atmosphere, or the place that always stocks your favorite kind of tea). 

The easiest way to do this is from your Deskpass account via the app. We currently have 21 listed amenities to choose from, including bike parking, coffee provided, on-site restaurant, outdoor space, pet friendly, parking options, mother’s room and wheelchair access. One of our newer filters allows you to select workspaces that are accessible on the weekend, further adding flexibility to your workday.

credit: The Farm Soho

Health and Safety

Mental health in the workplace is often overlooked, but should be taken as seriously as physical wellbeing. The CDC notes that 1 in 5 American adults experience mental health problems, with 71% reporting at least one symptom of stress. DeskMag found that 71% of people surveyed were more creative and 62% reported that their measure of work improved significantly. Ninety-percent said they felt more confident when coworking.

At Deskpass, we’re also making sure that members and teams feel safe on a physical level. As part of our Safety Pledge, spaces that adhere to the Deskpass suggested standards will also receive a Safe Space badge on their profile. These suggested standards are based on the recommendations from leading health and safety organizations (CDC, WHO, and OSHA) and the shared workspace industry.

Requirements for the Safe Space badge are: face coverings (at least in communal areas), hand sanitizer provided on-site, 6 feet between workstations, safety signage posted on-site, cleaning and disinfecting common surfaces twice daily, a contingency plan and action steps, and safe food and beverage service.

Environmentally conscious

Switching to a hybrid work model helps reduce your team’s carbon footprint. As greenhub defines it, a carbon footprint “is the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions that is produced from the manufacturing, utilisation and end-of-life of a service or product.” Reducing one’s global carbon footprint, even on a small scale, will collectively help prevent natural disasters, changes in weather and acidity of our oceans. 

Teams working hybrid will save on their daily commutes, can work where and when is most convenient for them and only pay for space they use. Working from a coworking space takes up less physical space than an empty office and uses fewer resources. Plus, those resources, such as printing services, are shared. 

According to a recent survey by Deskpass, nearly 40% of respondents indicated their companies were reducing office space and 12% indicating they were eliminating office space completely. Twenty-seven percent of respondents reported that reducing office space and real estate savings are among determining factors in offering a hybrid work policy, while 18% noted that their companies are expanding to new cities/regions but trying to control real estate costs. 

credit: Bustle Studios – Sydney

Supports diversity / underrepresented groups

The rise of hybrid work allows companies to foster a diverse workforce more than ever before and there are so many ways in which diversity improves company culture. In a hybrid world, talent is everywhere. In a work trends breakdown from Microsoft, forty-six percent of remote workers surveyed said they were planning to move to a new location because they could now work remotely.

With hybrid work, location bias is less divisive. Life outside of work can be difficult for people of color and it’s important for companies to recognize the challenges of attracting diverse talent. There are two filters within the Deskpass app members and teams can use to easily search for and support spaces owned by women and/or people of color. When searching for a workspace, simply click the More Filters button, and select Woman-Owned, or BIPOC-Owned, or both.

credit: Thynk Global

Community / networking opportunities

The pandemic has changed how we interact with each other, but communicating is still an important part of employee happiness. Having a distributed team no longer equates to less interpersonal connections. In-person meetings were replaced with video calls and many video calls were transferred over to email. In our case, we put together a beginner’s guide to running a virtual community within your company or organization and ramped up our virtual events.

We spoke with Deskpass member and founder of Greatness Collective, Mike Sherbakov, about how to best network from afar. “People are more available than ever before so add value and connect with people you find interesting or want to collaborate with. Email and send them messages on their social media profiles (they’re generally more active on one platform than any other) – one meaningful connection could completely change the trajectory of your life or business.”

credit: Firmspace

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