How do you know if you need a coworking space?
There’s been a lot of talk about coworking spaces over the last few years and while it may initially have been a cost-effective way for start-ups to get their foot onto the office ladder it’s grown into an industry of its own.
In the past, when people thought about a coworking space they may have conjured up images of young entrepreneurs working at laptops while drinking copious amounts of coffee in a warehouse-style environment. This has evolved into a wide range of coworking spaces, from entire buildings set up for coworking, to restaurants who rent their spaces out at off-peak times, to incubator schemes with a number of banks. While each type of space offers something unique to the people using it there may still be a little confusion as to who these spaces are for. The answer is, they are for everyone.
If you are setting up a new business you may have already spent a lot of time working on it before you look for office space; perhaps after hours in your previous place of employment, perhaps in your kitchen, or even in one of the ever-present coffee shops dotted close to your home. Once you’ve reached a certain point in the development of your company you may realise that having a dedicated work space will benefit you and your business.
There are lots of positives associated with being in a fully serviced shared office space, some of which we’ve covered in a previous post. In short, you’ll get all the perks of a fully furnished office and the amenities necessary to hit the ground running with your business in one handy spot. The alternative is to spend a lot of time on sourcing a premises, finding furniture and furnishings, working with utility companies, organising deliveries and setting everything up. The time taken to do all of these tasks could be much better spent working on your business, which is why coworking is such a popular option for start-ups.
Moving from a company to coworking
If you’re one of many people who has decided that they want to be their own boss, coworking could be the perfect environment for you. If you are used to going into an office every day and having coworkers to bounce ideas off it can be a big adjustment to work on your own. The familiarity and comradery that comes with working as part of a larger company can be one of the things that people miss when they work on their own, sometimes a lot more than they may have expected.
Coworking can offer people the next best thing in terms of having people around to chat to during the day. Depending on the coworking space you choose you could find yourself in a space with lots of like-minded people to talk through any business problems with. The beauty of this type of space is that your new coworking friends are likely to have run into the same problems that you have, so you can all help each other out.
One thing that people coming from an office environment may not realise is the amount of work it takes to keep an office ticking over, to make sure that deliveries are taken care of, that invoices are sent and paid, that utilities are dealt with, that the office is kept clean and tidy, the list goes on! A great office manager can take care of all of these things if your business is big enough to warrant their role but taking up a spot in a fully serviced coworking space means that you won’t need to worry about any of those things.
Are you the first in a new market?
With the ongoing investment in Ireland from companies in the UK, the US and further abroad you may find yourself in a position where you are the first local hire of a larger corporation. It may not make sense to take on a traditional space while testing out a new market so coworking can be exactly what you need. You’ll have a space to do your work, a base to meet new clients, somewhere to take your overseas colleagues when they visit, and usually a flexible lease that can grow with you as the company expands.
Are you joining because of a referral?
One of the best ways to choose a coworking space is because someone you trust gives it their personal recommendation. If a friend, a previous colleague, or family member gives a space their seal of approval it can reassure you that the space will work just as well for you. One thing to consider is that you will have a certain set of expectations that you’ll want to have met. If you and the person making the recommendation have different expectations this can lead to a disconnect between what you thought would happen in a coworking space and what actually plays out.
Ideally, your expectations will be met and exceeded but if there are any areas that you want to query make sure that you can do so with the team at the coworking space. If you haven’t worked in a coworking space before you might have a different idea of what the experience is like compared with the reality and the team who look after the space will be more than able to talk you through any issues or queries that you have.
Are you joining because of the other companies in a space?
As coworking has become more popular the range of coworking spaces has broadened to meet the demands of a variety of industries. There are coworking spaces all over the city and every industry is catered for, from creative and artistic led spaces to tech hubs, to architects and financial advisors. If you’re making the move to a coworking space to be closer to companies like your own it can be useful to have an idea of the ways you can connect with them.
Coworking spaces have made great progress in finding ways to connect with their clients and a clever community manager can see connections where someone else might see none. Giving coworkers regular opportunities to meet up informally can be a great way to get to know the people working in your building. As well as allowing connections to be made with the person working beside you, you’ll get to meet other people on your floor, and if the organisation has more than one premises you can expand your network even further.