23 . Nov . 2019
There’s a lot of talk about coworking and all of its benefits. Cost-effectiveness, networking opportunities, flexibility and a sense of community. But what if you signed up to a coworking space and it isn’t the same as you’d been led to believe? Bluntly put, that sucks! It shouldn’t be that way.
Like anything, there will be good, bad, and average coworking spaces. Some will be well-established and be everything you heard about, others may be new and still trying to build a community.
There are many variables that can make or break your experience with a coworking space. Different things will have different levels of importance for different people—your purpose for entering the space is what’s most important. Different coworking spaces will have different atmospheres, designs, and aesthetics. Some will have a stronger presence from a certain industry—an emphasis on programming is quite common. Others will put in extra effort to encourage community engagement. Rest assured, the right coworking space for you is out there!
If your current coworking space isn’t quite giving you what you want, or you’re unsure of what you’re feeling, we’ve singled out six reasons you may be in the wrong coworking space.
Connections in a coworking space don’t necessarily have to be business related, but if you’re not meeting anyone new or feel that there is no opportunity to, you may as well be working from home. Coworking is about community and deriving mutual benefit from the people around you. The best coworking spaces will hold events, encourage simultaneous use of facilities or host gatherings that serve as ice breakers.
If the only bit of variation you have during the day is going to the bathroom and the only person who knows your name is the receptionist, this is an office rental experience, not a coworking experience. It’s important you make some effort to find variation, get involved when events are on, sit in more active areas and generally try to actively engage with the space, but if it’s not happening then it’s not happening, it may not be the right space for you.
A good way of knowing if you’ve made any connections is when you have a question or problem to solve. Is asking those around you for an answer your first thought or would you rather post your question online? If you don’t feel comfortable asking, it may be time to move on.
Coworking spaces should feel lively. But, if any chatter, sounds of sales calls or constant use of the coffee machine is annoying you rather than motivating you, this isn’t the space for you. However, it could just be a seating mismatch, perhaps you just need to move from an open workstation to a personal pod.
You shouldn’t be regretting a coworking membership like you regret a gym membership. If you’re not looking forward to going in or have to will yourself there, it’s the wrong space. If you find yourself preferring to work at a coffee shop, again, wrong space! This also means that you’ve forgotten about the money and you’re wasting it by not using the space. This is a big reason why it’s important to take advantage of any free trial that many coworking spaces offer. If you’re counting down the days till your membership ends, it’s time to find a new space.
Coworking events are a key part of community building. The best way for coworking facilities to do this is to host events that appeal to a majority of their members. Not all coworking members use the space to receive event invites, but many still do. These don’t have to be large events where a guest speaker or an events room is used—it could be a small lunch that doubles as a brainstorming session, a morning yoga session or an afternoon happy hour. Of course, the events room should be used for its intended purpose too; events like guest speakers are great. Essentially, events should reflect the community, and if they don’t pose any value to you, you’re in the wrong space.
Coworking spaces should have a busy vibe that creates excitement; productivity is contagious, while deafening silence will make you fall asleep. You should expect things to be quiet off-peak hours, but if things remain the same from 9-5, perhaps this is the wrong working space for you. Although, if your coworking space is empty, it may not be long before it’s completely full. Corporations are currently looking to claim as much coworking space as they can.
If you find yourself thinking of returning to a traditional office environment or going back to working from home, you need to quickly find a new coworking space! Part of the excitement of a coworking space is that everyone in the space has made a decision to choose a lifestyle that betters their business and well-being. Being around like-minded individuals who are on a similar journey is worth celebrating, the want for that sort of connection isn’t going to go away if you return to your old work. Give your current coworking space some time, or find a new one!
The common scenario here is that your first impression of a coworking space has been a negative one and you’ve generalized what other spaces may be like. There is, of course, the possibility that you find that working from home or in a traditional environment serves you better, if that’s the case then your experience has still been meaningful.
Every coworking space is different! Furthermore, every coworking space is constantly changing and evolving. The coworking space you joined could look, feel, and be full of different faces in a couple of months, and that’s part of the excitement of coworking.
New events are always being dreamt up, new facilities are being built, and office layouts will be changed to fit the needs of the members. If you do have any suggestions or feedback on how the space can be better, don’t hesitate to provide it! Good coworking spaces will setup communication channels where members can provide feedback.
It’s important to realize whether you recognise any of the signs we’ve highlighted. Coworking is all about achieving your best working life and if an aspect is leaving a lot to be desired, the space and you yourself need to take action to improve it. Often, a lack of connections will require a change in seating, facility or work schedule. If you’re not taking advantage of any networking or social opportunities that present themselves, your experience may not be as valuable as other’s.
Finally, it could simply be a case of time. Your future business partner could start working in the same space tomorrow. A large organisation that works in your industry could suddenly occupy a large number of seats. You may simply make a really good friend that makes the space more enjoyable. Don’t make rash decisions, identify what’s wrong and if your own solutions or time doesn’t fix things—it’s time to find a new coworking space.
If you’re looking for a coworking space that serves you better or want a positive first impression of coworking, be sure to check out our business centre in Kolkata that caters to all your workspace needs and preferences.