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A version of this article was originally published in October 2020.
Coworking spaces have been around for years, but have come into their own during this post-pandemic hybrid work model many of us find ourselves in. If you’re based in a city like London or Manchester, the explosion of modern luxury coworking spaces is unlikely to have escaped your attention.
One of the biggest names out there is WeWork – one of the leaders of the coworking revolution, previously renowned for perks like Prosecco on tap happy hours.
Covid-19 hit coworking spaces like WeWork hard and put many in a difficult situation regarding rental payments.
In early November 2023, the firm filed for bankruptcy in the US. In a statement at the time, the company said there would be no changes to WeWork offices in the UK, but we have since learned that at least two central London locations are affected.
But there are many other options to consider. Fora, for example, with its stylish interiors, or longer established coworking spaces such as Regus and those such as Pervasive Media Studio in Bristol, which are geared to businesses in a particular industry – there’s a vast array of options when it comes to coworking.
So, what should you consider if you're looking to move into a coworking space?
Things to think about before moving to a coworking space
Scour coworking office websites and the same words will pop up over and over again: flexibility, networking, collaboration, inspiration, modern. There’s no doubt about it, coworking spaces offer more than just a physical space – they’re a lifestyle.
It’s easy to get enamoured by the glossy photos, but it’s important to think about the needs of you and your team before jumping in and signing any contracts.
Until mid-2023, Superscript was based at a coworking space, and so we've drawn upon our collective experience and pulled together these top tips on what to think about when considering a move to coworking.
1. What’s my budget?
If you’re looking to be based in a city centre, office space is never going to come cheap. But coworking may actually be a possibility versus a dedicated office in the same postcode area.
Also, when budgeting, take into consideration everything that’s included at a coworking space compared to a dedicated office, or working from home.
Many coworking space contracts include lots of administrative costs you’d otherwise have to pay separately. Think cleaning costs, security, utilities, even coffee and tea – it all adds up!
2. What are the terms of contract?
A key benefit of coworking is the flexibility offered by shorter-term contracts. You may find that this comes at a premium.
If you’re growing fast, however, or you’re not quite sure where you’ll be in six months’ time, knowing that you have the flexibility to move fast (and leave lots of admin and services provision to the coworking space) can outweigh this.
Some coworking spaces offer monthly rolling contracts, which will give you more flexibility in this type of situation.
3. What type of workspace do I need?
Some teams thrive in a brightly lit open plan environment, others benefits from a more enclosed private space. Your requirements will depend on what type of work you carry out and your equipment too.
If you’re going to need to see lots of clients too, are there meeting rooms you can book – and is the environment right?
4. What’s the deal with opening hours?
Different spaces will have different opening hours, so if you’re a particularly early bird – or a night owl – or simply work with people in different time zones, you’ll want to be sure to find somewhere that can accommodate you.
Many coworking offices do offer 24/7 access to members, but others don’t.
5. What facilities are necessary – and what’s nice to have?
It’s easy to get excited by luxurious facilities, but it’ll cost you. It can, therefore, help to divide your list of wants into strictly necessary facilities and nice-to-haves.
Some luxury workspaces boast fitness studios, restaurants and roof gardens. All these things can, nonetheless, be a great benefit for your employees and make the working environment a nice place to be in.
6. What type of community am I looking for?
While coworking spaces host a range of businesses from fintech startups to charities and those going it alone, others are focused on particular types of business and may host community events.
If you’re looking to be totally immersed in a particular community and socialise with others sharing the space, this type of arrangement may work best for you.
But if you’re looking for your own space and are not so interested in the social aspects of a coworking environment, you needn’t think about this.
7. Do I need to worry about insurance?
Although your coworking space provider will most likely cover the building itself, you’ll still want to think about insurance.
For things like a slip on the floor, a spill on a client's laptop – mishaps that happen to others, or their property, in your workplace – you'll want to consider public liability insurance.
And of course there's professional indemnity insurance, also known as errors and omissions insurance. This cover is designed to protect your business from a range of exposures including mistakes in services you've provided, compensation claims, contract disputes and intellectual property disputes.
Then there's office insurance, which is designed to protect you against the costs and disruption to your business following an unexpected event. So take a look at the cover you may need to consider to understand what options might be right for your business.
Whenever you're doing an office move, be sure to let your insurance company or broker know. You'll want to make sure that your policies are all fit for purpose and your contact details are up to date, otherwise any claim you make may not be covered.
In a nutshell, coworking spaces can be a great option for businesses that want flexibility, great facilities, no-fuss terms, and readily available same day workspace options.
So, if you’re thinking about your next move, coworking can be a great option to explore. After all, it doesn't seem like we're going to go back to the old ways of a 9-5 corporate office lifestyle any time soon.
This content has been created for general information purposes and should not be taken as formal advice. Read our full disclaimer.
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