Work from Home? How to Decide on a Coworking Space

If you decide to go the coworking route, the big question is where. Do you want to be with the hip, entrepreneurial set, or do you prefer something more old-school?  Here are a few tips to help you decide:

Jim Carry on Computer

Be clear on what you want

Do you simply want a professional work environment, or is it a workplace community you’re looking for?  Figuring out exactly what you want from coworking is the first step in choosing your ideal venue.

Identify your ideal working environment

Some people can’t tolerate a pin dropping when they’re trying to meet a deadline, while others only get into their groove when they feel the bustle of daily life going on around them.  To identify your ideal working environment, ask yourself how much desk space you need, whether you’d love a gorgeous view, and ultimately whether you can tolerate the sound of other people’s clicking keyboards.

Consider the costs

Deciding how much to invest in an office space is always a consideration for a freelancer or small business owner.  Most facilities offer various tiers of membership tailored to different budgets and can start as affordably as $200 a month for “floating” desk space (you park your computer where you find an empty tabletop each day). Such memberships still include Internet, coffee, and educational trainings, but paying more can buy you a permanent desk, meeting space when needed, and various other perks such as access to on-site gyms or a transit pass.

Find your peeps

If building a workplace community and networking feature high on your reasons for coworking, think carefully about whom you’d want to share your office with.  Several coworking spaces attract distinct groups—computer programmers, creatives, designers, entrepreneurs, for example—leaving you to decide whether you want to meet people who are in a line of business similar to yours or who are refreshingly different.

Commitment or flexibility? 

Some venues offer full-time-only options whereas others accommodate people who prefer to work and pay on a part-time basis.  Some packages buy you assigned desk and locker space, while others may entail playing musical chairs every day. Choosing the best option depends on your budget, the nature of your work (try lugging that full-screen monitor around every day), and how much coworking time you need.

Location, location

Maybe all you care about is the length of your commute, or perhaps you think the right community is worth a longer trip. The good news is that coworking spaces are dotted throughout the region, meaning that most of us don’t have to travel far to get some focused work done and beat isolation.

Overwhelmed by your options? Just try them out. Nearly all coworking facilities offer a free day’s trial.