Q: How do I decide which co-working space is right for me or even if I should join a co-working space?
Ellen Fee, Feathered Paddle Wealth Partners
A: Today’s office workers and office spaces are changing rapidly as technology makes workers more nimble and work attitudes reflect new ways our work spaces can contribute to greater efficiency, productivity and, importantly, worker happiness. Co-working spaces offer the opportunity to capitalize on these benefits, and finding the right fit means looking at these factors:
Location. Matching where you and your employees live is as important as being near customers and collaborators.
Wi-Fi bandwidth and signal strength. Being electronically connected both always and all ways is essential. Not only must the Wi-Fi be consistent and steady, it must handle the needs of videoconferencing and viewing.
The little things. Sharing a space with many types of people, businesses and work styles means having those amenities important to you. The availability of fresh coffee, clean water and other beverages are as important as kitchens with personal fridge spaces, toasters, microwaves, plates, bowls and utensils.
Sound levels. Finding the right level of quiet or commotion to match the mood and work style of today’s workers is essential.
Flexible pricing options. Just as work spaces are no longer fixed, neither should pricing options be fixed. Look for the ability to scale up or down quickly or get into different buildings to meet your budget.
Space types that match personal and personality fit. The cube and corner office are suffering a slow death and being replaced by innovative spaces that are more creative and flexible enough to match the size of the group and your mood. Look for the variety and availability of breakout and conference rooms, phone rooms, and rooms equipped with screens and projectors.
Co-working spaces are often living and breathing communities that have a pulse and a feeling that is evident when you walk through the door. Check a few out before you decide where you will take today’s new workplace. With the increasing options and variety, chances are you will find the space that works for you.
Paul Omodt is on faculty at the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business.