10 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Coworking Space in Columbus

 Photo by John Schnobrich

Photo by John Schnobrich

Coworking has so many essential and fringe benefits if you’re working remotely in Columbus. By now, you’ve probably started seeking out a professional space that you can call your own, but before you pull the trigger on joining a space, we have some helpful tips that you can use to really find a space that’s perfect for your needs. Whether you’ve just started a remote job or if you’ve been working from home for years, here are some things to consider when choosing a coworking space.

First thing’s first ... do you actually want or need to cowork? Coworking might be the new it thing to do if you work remotely, but it’s less about a shared desk. And much more about the relationships you’ll make. So, if you’re already kicking ass in your home office without the feeling of isolation and your social life is full, then maybe the work from home thing is really working for you and there’s no major reason to mix up your routine. BUT, for many people, remote work is less productive than they expect due to loneliness, distracting household chores, kids or pets.  If any of those struck a chord, then it’s time to search for a coworking community.

Online Research

Start with the readily available information that every cowork puts out on the web. Google, Instagram, Facebook, Yelp, and the cowork's website are all great resources. 

  • Look for spaces with real photos of the space and their members; not just stock photography.
  • How much natural light are you seeing in those photos?
  • What events will you be able to attend to grow personally, professionally, and socialize?
  • Are the membership levels and pricing easy to understand and within your budget?

Tour & Test

You've done all you can virtually, now it's time to make a visit to the spaces that resonate with you. Make sure those pictures on the website are true to life by scheduling a tour and talk to the community manager.

  • For the spaces that passed the web research and tour phase, ask to cowork from each for a day before signing up. The only way to really know what it’s like is to actually cowork there.
  • Make note of how you’re treated by the staff and other members. Did the staff provide you with value during your tour and coworking day? Were the members social and friendly?
  • Ask all the questions you can dream up (below are a handful that we think are helpful)

10 Questions to Ask BeforeJoining a Coworking Space

  1. What are the amenities/perks that are part of membership? - A lot of coworking spaces in Columbus offer "free coffee" as a perk.  Yeah, caffeine! That's great, but what else do you want & need?  Do you just want coffee or maybe some wine on Wednesdays?  Do you want a desk to call your own? Do you want a natural connection to a whole network of amazing people?
  2. Who are some of the other members? - This is the best way to understand how closeknit the community is. Does the community manager know all the members so that they can connect you to all the right people? 
  3. Is there a trial offer to test the space out? - The absolute best way to know if a cowork is for you is to work from there. Short-term commitments would enable you to make sure you've made the right choice.
  4. Where can I take phone calls? - If you spend all day on the phone, coworking can be difficult, making a private office maybe more your style. But, for the occasional conference calls, you'll want to know where you can go for a bit of privacy.  
  5. What events does the space offer? - Some coworks organize social events so that members can meet one another and some don't. If you're in need of connection and growth, look for spaces that offer different types of events at the times of day that work best for your schedule. Are the events well attended? Are all events included in the memebrship? You want to makes ure that you fully understand if you'll need to shell out even more to attend events beyond your membership.
  6. When is the staff there? - Community managers are your go-to resource so you'll want to understand their availability. 
  7. What things can the staff help me with? - Just like coworkers in any industry, everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. Can the staff help you with your work either by answering your questions or connecting you with the right resources? Can they coach you through business decisions? What about tech support or are they simply reception services?
  8. How is the wifi connection? - We're talking reliability here since nearly all coworks offer high speed internet. You've been to the coffee shop enough to know how often is cuts out on you.  
  9. Who provides the coffee / what type of coffee is provided? - Has all your remote working from coffee shops made you a coffee connessour? Check to make sure you get the coffee situation. Is it local? Organic? Or perhaps coffee isn't your thing and you want to ensure there's an option for you like tea, soda water, or wine. 
  10. Describe the community/vibe. - Since every cowork has it's own personality, it most certainly attractis different types of coworkers. Are there busy days or times? Is it quiet or loud? Well-connected, tightknit, or very focused. Does that description resonate with how you get your best work done?

Give it a Go

These 5 tips will help you get the most out of your coworking trial. 

  • Sink in an give it a few months. It takes a minute to settle in and get to know the community. We suggest that you give your new coworking community a chance by sticking it out at least 3 months.
  • Attend events & courses. You'll not only expand your network, but your knowledge too. Make sure to check out the variety of events because each event will attract different types of people.
  • Contribute to the community. Give help and advice as often or more than you ask for it. This knowledge exchange is how we all learn, grow and connect.
  • Get to know the community manager so they can help you acclimate and meet some members right off the bat who could be perfect to help you meet your goals.
  • Interact with the community online. Most communities have slack channels or Facebook groups. These are incredible because they allow you to ask questions or be useful to the community even on the days when you have back-to-back calls and need to work from home.

Just remember, everything comes with a cost and not all costs are tangible. Working from home or a coffee shop can stunt your growth, be inefficient, and isolate you. It’s not magic, but your habit of working from a cowork will help you become connected, more efficient, and productive.

Feeling curious? Schedule a tour of Haven Collective.

Danielle Lim