Tip Tuesday: Finding Your Perfect Coworking Space

We’re reaching the end of January, which means we’re leaving behind the wistful ideas of resolutions and the start of the year jitters, and moving into the nitty-grittiness of the year ahead. But before we jump into the rest of 2018, it’s time to stop and ask yourself, “am I doing everything I can to be my best self at work?”

At the beginning of 2017, I asked myself this very question; I was working from home on a research project for the University of Washington and was faced with questioning if I could be the productive coworker I wanted to be while working at home. As the year continued, I realized the answer was no. By June, I found myself searching for something more. That something more led me to taking a tour at The Riveter which, as you may have guessed since I’m currently writing this, completely changed my professional life.

So, before we get too far into the year, take some time to reflect on what you can do to be a better coworker, business owner or supporter for your company and yourself. Would you benefit from a coworking space? (Hint: Bailey Van Tassel thinks you would). Below are some tips and important things to consider while searching for and finding your perfect coworking space.

1. On the fence? Look at the general benefits of coworking!

  • Expand your network

There is ample literature examining the benefits of coworking from a variety of sources. According to Harvard Business Review, coworking not only allows for networking, it bolsters connections even more because the coworking norm is to help other people. Part of this is due to the variety of skill sets, jobs and industries represented in a coworking space. For example, at The Riveter we have startup founders, non-profit directors, UX designers, technical writers, marketing experts and education pros, all working in a variety of fields.

  • Find your version of community

Coworking also provides a sense of community in a world where more and more people are transitioning to working remotely. The best part about coworking is that you get to decide how much community you want. There’s no pressure to attend any events or expectations of what employee bonding should look like. If you want to participate in member eventssuch as Supper & Salon, Morning Assembly or wellness pop-ups, we’d love to have you! But if you have enough social obligations in your life, don’t fret; you no longer have to worry about going to the company happy hour just to schmooze your boss.

  • Check out the stats

Officevibe even created an awesome infographic with some pretty staggering statistic on coworking’s benefits. Did you know people feel 70% healthier working in a coworking space than in a traditional office setting? Their studies also show that 60% report feeling more relaxed at home and 90% felt more confident, those sound like pretty good benefits to me!  

  • The benefits continue!

Small Business BC references additional coworking benefits, like providing structure to those who work from home or are based in freelance (while still providing flexibility through different membership options and work spaces for those who like to change up their working habits), giving you a sense of community that in turn helps members avoid loneliness and provides emotional support.

2. Think about what you want and need from a coworking space

Every person has different needs and wants when it comes to coworking spaces. Some needs are pretty universal, such as access to reliable internet and a location that works for you. However some are more case-specific like child care support, an ability to network internally or use of conference rooms and event spaces. Need a place to start? How about some of following questions:

First of all, what’s the coffee situation? Second, snacks? Are guests allowed, and if I need privacy for guests, are there places to meet? Am I allowed to take phone calls in the space? Are there phone rooms available if not? What types of memberships are there? What are the printing capabilities? What hours can I access the space? What types of events can members access? What is the community like?

And then there are your wants: I was lucky that my research allowed me to be extremely flexible with hours and location. This gave me the privilege to focus on what I wanted from a coworking space. I loved the idea of a coworking space that was community oriented and provided a structure and resources to grow. I also knew I worked at my greatest capacity when I took time to focus on my wellness and fitness goals. Most importantly, I yearned for something different; my previous full time position at a private investment database fit almost all stereotypes of a boys-club, finance based company. It was so important to me to find a space that dismaltes this outdated mentality and culture while actively working to create a new table where women are included (if not leading the way). Take some time to consider what your perfect coworking space would look like:

But, what kind of coffee is there? Is there natural light? Are the desks ergonomic? Are there multiple spaces I can work in? What about happy hours and community events? When can I get my sweat on at a fitness class?

When considering coworking, it’s important to first be clear about what you want from a coworking space but that shouldn’t be at the expense of what you need. We live in a time where the coworking industry is expanding rapidly, giving us many options for spaces to work in our city, and others. A good place to start looking is to make a list of the things you imagine in your perfect coworking space.

3. It’s okay to trust your gut

Coworking spaces work as an office, a community center and, in their greatest iteration, a home away from home. Because of this, your comfort in a coworking space is paramount. Before deciding on a space, come in for a tour or a trial day and see if the space is a good fit. Even the peace of mind of knowing that fellow members and staff are speaking your work language, interested in similar topics or working towards related goals can completely change your experience in a space. Check out what The Riveter member Char Davidson has to say about finding your perfect coworking space: 

I test drove dozens of coworking spaces and felt a bit like goldilocks. That one was too small, the other too big—the people in that one were too cold… etc. The Riveter was juuuust right. It’s such an artful combination of creatives, startups, innovators, solopreneurs, and everyone is community-minded. Seattle is so lucky to have such a wonderful space!

Don’t end up like me - making it through half of a year before considering the positive impact a coworking space has on productivity and work-life balance. Try a coworking space for yourself, consider the benefits, your wants and needs, but trust your gut - and you’ll find the right coworking space for you. Here’s to a productive 2018!

Already a member of The Riveter? Be sure to let a member of The Riveter team know what benefits you are experiencing or missing from a coworking space or anything else you’d like to see change in the future. We are here to help you succeed!