After landing a work-from-home job, I had to find a co-working space. But having never worked remotely, I had no idea how to prioritize the half-dozen spaces near me.
There will be an estimated 14,000 co-working spaces worldwide by the end of 2017, according to Deskmag’s annual report.
So, how do you choose a space? A co-working space can help you network and be more productive — if you can find the right one.
6 things to consider before choosing a co-working space
Sixty-eight percent of professionals reported that they’re better able to focus in a co-working space, according to a 2016 survey performed by international architecture firm HOK.
It’s empowering to be able to choose where you work. You just have to make sure you choose the right office. Here are six important factors to consider whether you’re an employee like me, a freelancer, or an entrepreneur.
The average American worker’s commute to a co-working space is just 18 minutes, according to 2016 data from Deskmag.
If you get to choose the location of your office, you might as well choose one that’s an easy commute from your home. I went from a 45-minute bike ride into midtown Manhattan to walking five blocks in my Brooklyn neighborhood.
Some of my co-working space colleagues are entrepreneurs. For them, location matters in a different way. They needed to choose a space that’s geographically close to potential employees and clients.
No matter what kind of worker you are, you’ll probably want an office that has restaurants nearby and is in a safe neighborhood. The best co-working spaces might also have backyards, a connected gym, or parking for your car or bike.
2. Work environment
The office should have clean bathrooms, easy-to-reserve meeting rooms, and high-quality desks and chairs. But consider the more abstract aspects of the work environment before committing to one co-working space over another.
The fact is, we all work differently. You might prefer a dead-quiet environment where you can be anonymous and focus on your work. On the other hand, you might like some social interaction.
Similarly, a writer might prefer lots of natural light coming into the office, while a web developer might prefer coding in the dark.
Where you fall on these spectrums might be a driving force in the co-working space you choose. I’m an introvert who likes to work in a quiet atmosphere, for example, so I chose a space that forbids loud conversations. Instead, it has booths for phone calls and conference rooms for team chats.
There are also co-working spaces that might play music loudly or encourage intraoffice banter. If that’s your thing, make sure your co-working space has this kind of vibe.
Just ensure that it’s noise you can handle on a regular basis. One of my extroverted colleagues left her WeWork space, in part, because she was seated next to a telemarketer who repeated the same spiel day after day — and that became an annoying distraction.
One of the benefits of choosing where you work is being able to decide when you work. But not all co-working spaces offer 24/7 service.
If flexibility is important to you, consider co-working spaces that allow you to work nights, weekends, or whenever you want.
Along with building access, ask about the security of your potential office space. My workspace, for example, doesn’t encourage leaving expensive equipment at our desks but does provide free lockers.
And although you might prefer a smaller, boutique co-working space, a national chain co-working space could offer a major convenience. WeWork, which claims 218 offices in 53 cities, for example, gives its members the benefit of accessing its locations while you’re on business trips.
If you’re a member of a WeWork in New York City, for example, you could stop by one of its Los Angeles locations if your work takes you to the other side of the country.
Once you’ve found the right kind of co-working space, you’ll want to make sure you have friendly neighbors. Take a tour of the office and observe your potential co-workers. It wouldn’t hurt to ask a couple of them about their experience in the workplace.
If you’re an extroverted freelancer or an entrepreneur, you might also like to look into the backgrounds of your office mates. You might be inspired by fellow writers, for example, or in the market for web development talent. A future friend or employee could occupy the desk or office next to yours.
The best co-working spaces offer more formal networking opportunities. Some spaces even sponsor in-house events and meetups to foster community and collaboration. Typically, these are the spaces with long-term members, not those that offer hourly or daily passes.
Now you’ll want to make sure you can afford the co-working space. If you’re a freelancer managing your finances, for example, you should have a good handle on how much you can spend on a workspace.
Most spaces allow you to rent monthly. Be wary of signing an annual agreement, unless you’re 100 percent sure you’ll make the most of it.
Also, watch out for a space that might nickel and dime you above and beyond a flat rental fee. WeWork offers dedicated desks starting at $350 per month, for example. But you can expect to pay more if you want to book extra conference rooms ($25 per hour) or mail service ($50 per month), to name a couple of examples.
Finally, ask about billing before signing up. You’ll want this process to be seamless, particularly if you need to expense your rental charges to your employer each month.
Work-from-home jobs offer great perks, but your co-working space should too.
Hopefully, you have a few attractive co-working spaces near you. If you need a good tiebreaker, list out the perks you’d love in an office and see which contender offers more of them.
Think beyond essentials like speedy internet, comfortable chairs, and free use of an all-in-one printer. Here are some next-level perks to look out for:
- Kitchen with free coffee, snacks, and maybe even a keg
- Outdoor space
- Games, like a ping-pong table
- High-tech audio and visual setups
- Free keyboards, mouses, and monitors
- Reception desk to welcome clients
- Mail-collection service
- Free or convenient parking
The best co-working spaces offer more of these frills than their peers. To make them count, rank your preferred perks before comparing workspaces. That way, you know exactly what your needs and wants are beforehand.
How to find a co-working space
I found my co-working space by clicking around Google Maps. But there are good resources for narrowing your search. You can use Coworker to find spaces and read user reviews, for example.
If you’re not ready to make a long-term commitment, don’t worry. You can try co-working spaces on a short-term basis with apps and websites like Desktime and Desksurfing. They might also be useful for digital nomads traveling internationally.
For those of you who are ready to lay down your roots, your research isn’t done yet. Once you’ve narrowed down your options, take a tour of the office. Ask for a trial period, even if it’s for one workday.
If you find yourself missing home or your local coffee shop, keep searching for the best co-working spaces near you.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2019!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
2 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 7.89% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.50% APR (with Auto Pay) to 7.27% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of April 17, 2019, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 04/17/2019. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at email@example.com, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.
© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
3 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the fixed rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular fixed interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.
However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the variable rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular variable interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.
All credit products are subject to credit approval.
Laurel Road began originating student loans in 2013 and has since helped thousands of professionals with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees consolidate and refinance more than $4 billion in federal and private school loans. Laurel Road also offers a suite of online graduate school loan products and personal loans that help simplify lending through customized technology and personalized service. In April 2019, Laurel Road was acquired by KeyBank, one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies. Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association, a nationally chartered bank. Member FDIC. For more information, visit www.laurelroad.com.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown.
All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 2.49% effective March 10, 2019.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.50% – 7.27%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.50% – 7.12%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.53% – 8.79%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.50% – 6.65%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.55% – 7.12%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|3.00% – 9.74%6||Undergrad & Graduate|