Live Anywhere

Picking the Right Coworking Space for You

Modern coworking space with seating area, various tables (ping pong, pool).

While often inhabited by locals, travelers are more and more turning to coworking spaces as alternatives to cafes, hotel rooms/lobbies, and working from their homes-away-from-home. For me, finding and relying on coworking spaces has been a game changer in terms of quality of life, both at, and away from work. The benefits to my productivity and social life have transformed the way I travel and work.

But, not all coworking spaces are created equal. Some do it really right, and others make me want to leave as soon as I get there.

Here, I’ll discuss the differences that have made the difference for me: what to look for, and what to stay away from, so that you can pick the right coworking spaces that meet your needs, wherever you go.

A Brief (Personal) History

Despite tracing its roots back to 1995, I found out about coworking pretty late in the game. As a traveler, I would usually work out of cafes – whether local or multinational conglomerate – mostly because that’s what I was used to doing prior to traveling.

When I started living in nicer houses, I could dedicate a whole room to an office, and at times even bought desks and chairs for those rooms. The theory was that I could save time by not having to drive to a cafe.

But, in practice, I found there to simply be too much distraction, and the traditional advice of getting dressed, gathering everything you’d need for the coming hours, and locking your door, didn’t solve the problem.

Invariably, I’d get sucked in by the pull of people, programming (media), and the pool. I wasn’t getting enough done. My time was scattered rather than dedicated, and the tantalizing proposition of taking a dip was ever-looming. Perhaps it was an issue of discipline, perhaps any number of other things – but, it was the reality.

I just wasn’t getting enough done.

I asked some friends what they would recommend, and one of them suggesting trying out coworking. I had found out about it only months earlier, but hadn’t considered the possible benefits. To me, it seemed like a clever rebranding of an internet cafe, and I wasn’t sure it would be much different from an actual cafe (perhaps with the exception of not smelling like coffee at the end of the day).

Despite my skepticism, I decided to give it a try, as the home-away-from-home-office setup wasn’t giving me the results I wanted.

A New World Opens Up

The transition from working from an office in an Airbnb and cafes, to coworking, was a huge shift. It was like a new world had opened up.

I was able to get a lot more done, spend dedicated time working without distraction, and it even provided a convenient social outlet for making personal and professional relationships (both from events, and the good ole fashioned “Hi, what the hell is that thing that’s holding your computer up?”) – all of which led to greater enjoyment of both my work, and personal life.

After several periods of testing coworking on-and-off (both self-imposed as an experiment, and environment-imposed due to lack of coworking spaces), instead replacing them with various cafes, home-away-from-home-offices, and in some cases, working from couches & hotel rooms, I finally became convinced that coworking is the way to go for working while traveling.

Nowadays, my coworking space is nearly as integral an anchor point while traveling as my home and gym.

What to Look For in a Coworking Space

That being said, not all coworking spaces are created equal. Even though I was late on the trend, I’ve been working from coworking spaces across multiple countries nearly continuously for several years now.

Throughout that time – and always one to look for what’s working, what isn’t, and how to improve – I’ve found some factors which, to varying degrees, impact how beneficial a coworking space is to my work life, and my life life.

Here’s what I look for in a Coworking space:

The Intangible – The 3 C’s

This list is separated into two main sections, the tangible, and the intangible.

In the tangible, I discuss features of the space, things you can measure with a ruler, and objectively tick on a checklist.

But first, before any of that comes into play – although frequently influenced by it – are the intangible elements. Those key factors without which there is no point even checking to see whether there are free latte’s – as I won’t enjoy where I would be sitting down to sip them.

Abe Simpson at the brothel where Bart is working.

Community & Culture

Community and culture are highly intertwined. When it comes to coworking spaces, I have found that both are heavily influenced from the top down.

The owner, and their priorities, executed through the staff they hire, largely influence the environment of the coworking space, which has a direct effect on what types of people feel like working there, starting with the on boarding/orientation/”Welcome to our space! Here’s how we do things around here.” process – whether there is a formalized one or not. Those people then affect (or contribute to re-creating) the environment, in a generally self-perpetuating cycle.

The coworking space in all its aspects is very much a reflection of the owner(s), and that has been the case for every coworking space owner I’ve met.

Business-minded people often make business-minded coworking spaces. Yoga-minded people often make yoga-minded coworking spaces. (Two non-mutually-exclusive examples.)

There is no one or other perfect community/culture, so what I mean when I talk about them, is “fitness of community/culture”.

Fitness, not in the sense of health (though that could be a contributing factor), but rather, fitness for purpose, in terms of what I’m looking for from that coworking space.

On a personal level, this is something that can change and evolve over time, across destinations, and even based on timeframe in the microcosm (does all this matter if you’re just going there on a free day pass).

That context – what you currently want from a coworking space – is important to consider upfront, otherwise you may end up committing to an environment that you don’t enjoy, or get the most out of.

Some of the key questions to ask yourself in that regard include:

  • Am I looking for a place to put my head down and get work done, do I want to network & socialize, some of each, or something else?
  • Is this an environment of productivity, or slack? And which am I most interested in at the moment?
  • Are there people that I want to hang out with on the evenings and weekends? Am
  • How hard will it be to rebel against the status quo of lackadaisical time-suckers (that’s a relativistic reclassification of “people I would love to meet, any other week”) if I am on a 2-week sprint that’s taking a big part of my life?
  • Are there community-focused/community-building events and activities? How about educational events?

While some of these things can be sussed out to some degree in advance by checking reviews, event information, and even calling in, this is largely something to be gained by experience.

At first, it may take some “context gathering” while you figure out what the tell-tale signs – and what you thought a place was at the start may not be what it turns out to be (either because you misjudged it, or you/it changed) – but after some experience, you will be able to tell pretty quickly (sometimes after the first visit) whether the coworking space you’re looking at is the one you’re looking for.

You’ll start to get a gut feeling, based on your unconscious assimilation of your experience.

In other words, you’ll begin to trust whether you experience…

Cool Vibes Bro

While admittedly finagled a bit to fit the “3 C’s” motif here, the feeling you get when you enter a space, and the one that remains/evolves as you stay there for some time, are paramount to your ability to get the most out of it.

The coworking space could be stacked with perks, furnishings, amenities – all that, a bag of chips, and a literal kitchen sink – but if it doesn’t gel well with me, I’m not going to be able to enjoy them, and I’ll have to move on to the next coworking space.

In a very large sense, this is a very subjective measurement, and indeed, one that’s influenced by some of those more tangible factors as well. Just like with community and culture, it’s also highly relativistic: what you want may change from time to time, and from place to place.

Here are some things I think about when it comes to evaluating the vibe of the place:

  • Fundamentally, does this place rub me the right way, or the wrong way?
  • Is the community active and welcoming, or cold and pious?
  • Can I see myself being comfortable coming here day after day?

Ultimately, what it comes down to, is “trusting your gut” about a place.

One way of putting this, is asking yourself: how do I like the overall ambience of this place? Which also begins to take into consideration, the tangible elements of a coworking space.

The Tangible – The Ideal Features of a Coworking Space

What makes a good ambiance will vary wildly from person to person. Some like character (which from what I can tell means a lot of exposed wood and old knicknacks), while others like more modern, minimalistic, yet welcoming, and still others prefer totally sterile/industrial-looking environments. (5 points to Gryffindor if you can guess which one I prefer – 5 to Hufflepuff if you’re wrong – 5 to Slytherin if you guess more than one)

The following characteristics/features – which include, but go well beyond interior design – are the ones that I have found to have had the greatest impact on my ability to benefit from a coworking space.

While they’re all important factors to consider from a perspective of a member of the coworking space (a “coworker”, if you forget that the term has a totally different meaning), the distinctions within are absolutely biased towards my personal preferences (sometimes, taking an unorthodox view that has served me well).

Some of the more prevalent topics (i.e. those which I find to have consistently sub-part implementations – especially when easy to solve) are worded more as a wag-of-the-finger to coworking space owners, but none the less something to look out for.

Proximity / Convenience

This is one of the biggest factors for me, and I take a pretty opposite stand from most people on the topic.

Whereas most of the people I know prefer somewhere close to home – ideally walking distance, whether they walk or not – I like my coworking spaces to be somewhat far from where I live; my ideal distance is around 30 minutes of commuting time.

There are 2 main reasons why:

  1. A big part of the reason that I got less done (and in a more scattered manner) when I worked from home, was that there were too many distractions – from consumption of confectionaries to consumption of media, from jumping in the pool to lounging on the couch.All those temptations continue to exist, so when I’ve taken the time out to go to the coworking, it adds a very big buffer to simply saying “let me pop back home for some _______”.Since I don’t want to waste the hour of transportation time, the coworking time is dedicated working time. I invested the time to get there, and that extra cushion keeps me focused and directed.
  2. The rest of the time – unless I’m in front of a screen of some sort, spending time with people, or actively engaging with my surroundings (and even sometimes in the latter case) – I have various types of headphones on depending on the situation (you’d be surprised how far a pair of good noise cancelling headphones goes in improving your quality of life while traveling, and not just on airplanes – but over-ear headphones aren’t practical for outdoor use in hot climates), which I’m using to study something.The things I study while moving around are usually strategic/conceptual, meaning I use them more for the change in mental direction than having to take notes, like psychology, personal development/self-help, business strategy/mindset, spirituality, and other things I am interested in, like languages.I do often times go back (or pull out my phone) and make notes if the contents are particularly noteworthy, but I choose this material specifically for having content that can be beneficial to simply listen to and absorb. I absolutely love to learn (and, importantly, apply what I learn), but given how full I keep my schedule, I sometimes don’t get as much time as I want to learn new things.In designing a commute that forces a part of my day to be exactly this type of semi-idle time, I make sure that I get at least an hour every day of learning in – more on the days that I go to the gym. And, while this “transit time” is similar to the kind you get at the gym, there is one important, and very valuable characteristic: privacy.

    Whether you’re in a car and sheltered by the metal and glass surrounding you, or on a scooter and sheltered by the ambient sound and only brief stops, that privacy gives you a perfect environment for any kind of interactive learning you want to do. It’s one of the secrets to how I learn languages without dedicating extra time.

Now, it also helps that driving is one of my favorite things to do when traveling. Simple locomotion, to me, is travel distilled to its most fundamental and pure, and I love it. From endless road trips across the states and long train rides through India, all the way down to the journey from my house to the coworking space – I love simply getting around.

People complain about traffic, but I have never seen the issue, because even when it’s bumper to bumper, I don’t feel like I’m wasting time. In fact, quite the opposite: I make the most of my driving time, by combining an activity I already enjoy (driving), with one I enjoy even more (learning).

You may not have the temptation to go home and enjoy your piscine & pâtisserie (pool & pastries), or you may not have the wherewithal to endure your local “traffic”, but, if you are looking for some extra time in your day to devote to an activity that doesn’t need to take your full attention, you may want to try giving yourself that time by choosing a coworking space that’s a little further than you’re used to.

Accessible Anytime (24/7/365)

While keeping a routine is an excellent way to both stay on track and improve productivity, sometimes, we can get shaken out of it.

I sometimes totally shift my routine to be a night-owl for a week or two, before coming back to reality (and daylight). Other times, projects simply require collaboration or extra hours to get done, and I need to know that my coworking space will be there for me.

When your bed is in the next room, it can be very tempting to call it a night. When I’m already at the coworking space, it’s that much easier to put in the extra time. Combine that with a coworking space that’s far enough from your house compounds the encouraging effects.

One important thing to keep in mind (and ask in advance) is whether all things are equal in the span of those 24 hours.

Firstly, many 24-hour spaces are only staffed during a portion of those hours (usually local business hours, but sometimes later), That’s to be expected, but it does mean that if you want to join, or if you need help, it’s only available a part of the time.

Secondly, not all 24-hour spaces offer the full suite of services in the night hours. I’ve been to coworking spaces where air conditioning was only available in the day time. They gave me a fan to cool off at night. Not cool.

Connectivity Part 1: Fast Internet

Give. Me. Fast. Consistent. Ubiquitous. WiFi.

This goes beyond just the speed potential (which itself is highly important, though varies from country to country), but also having enough repeaters to reasonably cover the whole space with a strong WiFi signal.

“Why did the WiFi drop?”

“Oh, it always does that when you go around that corner, or between these 2 tables. And don’t try connecting after 5PM, that’s when all the gamer kids in the neighborhood start eating up the bandwidth. Ha Ha!”

When a coworking space has an amateur and low-bandwidth internet setup, it’s not funny, and it’s not cute. You can bet nearly everybody is at the coworking space to use the internet – and the internet should be something that’s taken care of pretty much before anything else.

As a coworking space owner, it’s to be expected that (a) there are going to be a lot of people; (b) some with work-related high-bandwidth needs (e.g. video uploading); and (c) others who will use the speeds for other high-bandwidth purposes (e.g. downloading files, streaming 4K, etc.).

It’s also the expectation of the people using the space, that the internet is available throughout, and if it’s not, that the fact is clear up front. Maybe try and make light of it by calling the quarter of the room that doesn’t get signal, the “Quiet Qorner” – or, you know, spend the extra $100 for another range extender.

Connectivity Part 2: HOLES!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHDv7NKmLnA

I want power. I want power cables. I want you to buy power cables to bring the power to my table.
~ Dr. Seuss

And I want there to be enough holes for me and everybody else at that table.

Proper Chairs

The chairs need to be at least somewhat ergonomic. They don’t necessarily need to be full-on office chairs (padded with high backs, at least to the neck if not head rest, are highly appreciated), but the closer to that, the better – I won’t/can’t sit for long periods on unpadded, wood-on-butt/back chairs.

Although not my personal style, many people swear by standing desks, and still others like a variety of seating positions. While budget and space constraints can limit how many people you can please, please at least get the chairs right, please.

Pest Control

There isn’t much you can do about everybody’s favorite boisterously buzzing bandit, the mosquito, but there are things that can be done.

Avoiding standing water around plants and in outdoor areas, making sure doors stay closed (even if that means investing in one of them fancy “door stay closed” contraptions), and maybe even setting up a mosquito trap, are all great steps that take neither a lot of time, money, or space. If you want to take more invasive measures (like that nasty fogging in Bali), great – just let me know when you’re doing it so I can leave early that day.

Temperature Control

This one is simple. Temperature: get it right.

https://youtu.be/YYFwJLingA4

 

While the ideal temperature varies based on source, personal preference, and even what type of work you’re doing, there is a generally agreed upon ideal range.

How it gets implemented practically will depend on the space and its terms. Some coworking spaces (most commonly, 24/7 ones, I’ve found) give members the remotes so they can turn the A/C off when they leave, others strictly control the flow of those sweet, sweet degrees, almost as if it was costing them money or something.

Sometimes, the A/Cs are enough to heat/cool the place fully, other times they need to be cranked up to the extreme settings to stop everybody from dying of “extreme weather”.

Still other times, staying cool in the heat, or warm in the cold, is a lost cause. There are a lot of deficiencies that cause people to use that infamous misnomer of a descriptor, “charming”, but “can’t afford one extra A/C” is not one of them, for me.

Crowd Control

One thing that some veteran “coworkers” may notice is missing from this list, is the size of the coworking space.

Having a bigger coworking space is definitely a plus. More room to roam, more seating positions to explore, and a higher likelihood of finding the nook(s) you like to call your own.

However, for me it’s not a must. A very nice to have, but not a must.

What is a must, however, is that the space is big enough for the quantity of people that frequent it.

I am fine with staying in a relatively small space, as long as it doesn’t feel claustrophobic – with one extra caveat (see the next point).

What that means, is I want to see some empty chairs, especially in my personal space. I don’t want to be elbow to elbow, or roost to roost.

Why escape the office if you’re still going to be another densely packed sardine, just in a coworking space instead?

“With a View”

A view is an important part if the ambiance of a coworking space, and is especially critical if the place is small.

I have found that no amount of lighting or interior design trickery can make up for a window that doesn’t just face the empty wall of another building.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be a spectacular view (though that is appreciated), just something that doesn’t make me feel like I’ve crawled into a cave for the day and missed the sun.

I should be able to choose whether I crawl into a cave, is my point, not have it forced on me.

Outdoor / Designated “Chill” Areas

Right along with a view (and a great way to get one), is having an outdoor area. While it’s far from a must, being able to bathe in fresh air and sunlight is a nice perk.

However, that’s just one example (in addition to being a convenient transition), and not the main point.

What is the main point, is having designated “hangout zones”, as part of an effort to both control noise, as well as make it easier for people to socialize.

Some coworking spaces do this by having their own pool area (some with the water kind, other with the balls kind), others “install” bean bags; there are many different ways to say “Hey, I get you’re all cool people, but this is also a work place. Why don’t you meet cool people over there, so that the cool people who want to work can do so right here, without much distraction?”.

Ideally, such a place is located around natural points of congregation, like the reception area, kitchen/eating area, or other shared areas (such as the pool, if you’re lucky enough to have one). Isolating these points of possibly potent noise generation, and clustering them together with other places of natural noise generation, gives people both an easy way to break the ice, and reduces overall noise levels.

Separate Eating/Cooking Area

Since eating/cooking areas are natural points of congregation, this could have easily been added as a caveat to the previous section, but it is so important that I gave it its own section.

There are two essential parts to this concept:

  1. There is an eating area (or cooking area – but we’ll get to that later), and hopefully at least a fridge
  2. It is separated enough from the rest of the space – whether by walls, ventilation (i.e. separate airflow), or distance – that particularly pungent foodstuff doesn’t become the bane of everybody’s existence.

For #1, it’s important to give people reasonable seating options to be able to eat there. There are far too many dietary needs/preferences to exclude eating from the coworking equation.

Be it for diet reasons, productivity reasons, or that there’s just no local options that they like – and whether the solution is smelly food from home, or smelly food being delievered – people shouldn’t be forced out like some second-class citizen for the intolerable offense of requiring sustenance.

On the other hand (the #2 hand), neither should those around them be forced to tolerate the associated smells.

While you can definitely call that a “first world problem”, having to smell something you can’t stand for 30-60 minutes at a time (like durian – which I personally love, but many others hate), while watching somebody’s mastication technique in your periphery, “does not a professional environment make”, and is also not sensitive to those who have modified their diet, whether it’s reducing/eliminating a certain food group/type (e.g. due to religion), dieting, fasting, or something else.

Cleanliness

“With great kitchens, comes great responsibility.”
~ Uncle Ben

You’d think this would go without saying, but here we are. Dust, dirty floors, not-taken-out-trash, general smelliness (both due to uncleanliness, and if there is a kitchen with bad airflow/close proximity), no TP in the BR (but plenty of funkadocious smells); and you’d be surprised what else (one of the them rhymes with rockroaches).

It’s a business, keep it clean…

Courteous, Professional Staff

But, you posit, who on Earth would possibly do such a thing as keep a coworking space clean?

Why, the staff, of course!

Whether it’s janitorial, or receptorial (receptory? those who recept), a coworking space’s staff – like in any business – are both a reflection and representation of the business.

As a business environment – even if a laid back one – the staff should be professional, courteous, and welcoming.

If they can even be attentive (say, to cleaning, or acting like they care about/looking for solutions when things go awry), perhaps even solve some problems, and don’t spend their day getting in peoples’ way, all the better!

MY P-P-P-POKER FACE, P-P-P-POKER FACE

In many cases, staff also act as the keepers of the Spotify station. This can often times present a conflict of interest, between the receptionist’s boredom, and literally everybody else’s need to work.

If you’re going to play music, make it tasteful conducive to working.

Ideally, something without words. Maybe even get a subscription to [email protected] (which allows public streaming with a “Business Public Play” license, as opposed to brain.fm, which is personal use only), or use a mood-based playlist from Spotify for Business.

One thing’s for sure – if you play poker face, you’ll get to see my angry face (or at least, my passive-aggressive dirty looks and eye rolling while sighing face).

Don’t make people wear headphones just to drown out your receptionist’s escape mechanism.

If you do – if you think there is some business or “ambiance” advantage to be gained by playing pop – please at least turn the volume down.

Way down.

Like off.

“Oh hey cool, is that your website? What do you do? You should put the menu bar at the top, did you know that? And your font…”

A.K.A. PRIVACY.

Look, it’s a shared space. I get that. But there should be some seating options that allow nobody to see my screen unless I want them to.

Those that don’t care, will gladly sit anywhere anyway, but those of us who don’t want every single keystroke to be the passing focus of every passerby, will be grateful.

For me personally, this is a deal-breaker. If I’m writing a 6000-word article about coworking spaces, that should be my business, unless and until I’m ready to make it somebody else’s.

When a curious person strolls by, or sits 1 row behind me, they may get a snapshot of what I’m up to for a brief period of time, through glimpses of my screen that are partially blocked by my head (and, if I’m particularly paranoid and paying attention, they will be glimpses of blank chrome windows or empty notepad documents) – yet as I mentioned, even that is a deal breaker to me, because I don’t always want to be on high alert for whether it’s time to switch into “counter-intelligence” mode.

Confidential Calling

This desire for privacy is all the more acute when it is much more than just a snapshot on display, because I’m the one broadcasting it – as is the case in coworking spaces without private places from which to place calls.

To me, having a private calling area is extremely important. Not only do I not want to broadcast my calls to the rest of the world (both for my privacy, and their productivity), just as importantly, I don’t want my clients/customers/partner/team to hear the chatter and goings on of everybody around me. Whether it’s some guy’s casual conversation about how riptide the surf curls are dude (that’s the surfer equivalent of this), or just general hustle and bustle (and that includes “just go out on the street to make a call”) – it’s unprofessional.

I want to be able to make a quiet call, ideally on demand, but at least scheduled in advance – and not for a fee.

Ideally, having a “Skype®™©℠ Booth” or meeting room from which one can make calls, would also be combined with a rule that people don’t take/make phone calls in the shared areas; just like blasting Lady Gaga from the speakers, peoples’ conversations in working areas can be a major distraction.

Amenities

These fall into two categories – amenities for business, and those for comfort.

Business

For business, my personal list is simple, since I do almost everything online. I want a printer, a scanner, and a copier – maybe some paper clips and a stapler. Simple. I bring everything else I need.

Comfort

For comfort, the list gets a bit longer. I really appreciate a place that has a:

Fridge

With plenty of room, relative to the size of the coworking space.

Boiling Water

I usually bring my own drinking water since I am a bit of a connoisseur (in other words I have can easily taste really bad distilled/filtered water, which is prolific, especially in bulk). But, I often want to be able to have hot water for tea, ideally on demand (a-la water cooler style dispenser, rather than waiting for an electric water heater).

Drinks Station

Some kinds of drinks on offer, even if paid, with sugar-free options. I realize not every coworking space has free beer and Diet Coke in its business model. And that’s fine.

As an aside, while I am not a big “coffee and snacks” person, I know that having good coffee (I believe the term is “not that watery swill”) and some kind of snacks (ideally with some semblance of being healthy, or at least “not chips” and delicious) at or in close proximity to the coworking space, is a big plus for some people.

Kitchen

A kitchen is nice, but again, it must be segregated so it doesn’t smell up the rest of the space. I don’t personally cook at coworking spaces, but at least the sink is helpful, and depending on the culinary options available, a microwave (so you may call this one, “traces resembling a kitchen, at least”)

Events (Maybe)

Events can be hit or miss. Having low-value events just for the sake of being able to say you have events, is a total miss for me at best, but at worst they are a heavy detriment, especially when they take over a large portion of the coworking space during working hours.

In general, if you’re having to ask people to move, or closing down the coworking space to have an event, you’re doing it wrong unprofessionally.

Forcing people to move to stay out of the way of some event, although perhaps necessary in the “we need events to stay cool/relevant” theory, breeds resentment in those who feel like second class citizens to the space owner’s incongruous agenda.

So, you want to have a movie night? Great, cool, awesome, amazing even. Especially if there is a hangout period before/after. But you want to dim ALL the lights and blast the audio across the entire space? Not great, not cool, not awesome – still amazing though, but for all the wrong reasons. Please don’t do it.

Sure, events can have tremendous value. Whether it’s a presentation or a community-building event, they can educate, build relationships, and be a lot of fun.

But, a coworking space is not an event hall. If you want a focus on events, make sure you have enough of a space to dedicate to them. Use your meeting rooms, or your dedicated “chill zones”. If you have to overflow, only disturb the people working there as a last resort, limit how far it can go, and post the information at least a couple days in advance.

Telling people 1 hour in advance that they have to pack up and go into a corner because somebody more important than them is coming to talk about something the owner really cares about/thinks will be interesting for people, is not saying “I value you and your business”, it just says “Ants come in, ants go out. You’re only incidental here.”

The result? A good-intentioned attempt to improve the community and perceived quality/value of the space, ends up subversively fragmenting/deteriorating it, by virtue of a misguided, and ultimately disrespectful implementation”; “This wasn’t in the brochure.”

Conclusion

As you can see, there is a lot to consider when picking a coworking space, and even more to consider when making/managing one.

It’s for that reason, that we should give coworking spaces a bit of slack; it’s hard to hit all the marks, especially when the targets change on a contextual basis, and vary even further on a person-by-person basis.

While not exhaustive, this list contains the culmination of my observations, grievances, and pleasant surprises, from several years of frequenting coworking spaces across multiple countries & continents.

Everything I’ve listed here has been something I found at one or more coworking spaces, and hopefully serves to both provide you, the co-goer, as well as the space owners, with a set of considerations for how to improve the coworking experience, and a barometer with which to evaluate both present & potential coworking spaces.

As coworking spaces become more plentiful, and people have more options to choose from, hopefully looking for these features can help you in choosing the right ones, and can help more coworking owners (and owners-to-be) make customer-centric decisions.

There’s a lot of stuff to get right, and a lot of room for improvement – but with so many things to consider, is there such a thing as a perfect coworking space?

Naturally, what constitutes “perfect” will depend on who is judging, and what they’re looking for at that particular point in their lives, and from that particular place on the planet.

Hopefully, by evaluating a space based on these criteria, you can get pretty close – and much closer than having to go in blind.

What do you look for in a coworking space?

When it comes to coworking spaces, do you look for anything that’s not on the list?

Have you ever been surprised – one way or the other?

Is there anything you wish your current coworking space did better?