With so many factors to consider when choosing a coworking space, it can be a hefty decision to make. Especially during these tough times, it’s difficult to commit when the future is unpredictable. What questions should you be asking before signing with a coworking space for your next office? We have compiled five aspects to consider to ensure that you find your perfect fit.
The first thing to consider is your company's working style and preference. How does your company use space? If you come from a traditional office, you might be used to being in the office all day. For a smooth transition to flexible spaces, you may want to try a serviced office so you can have a private space for your company.
For a company that primarily (for example) does sales, you may want to consider the frequency of their out-of-office meetings with clients etc. If that's the case, opt for a space that is a bit more scaled down to fit your company's style, considering how many people max would be at the office at any given time.
Unfortunately, the pandemic won’t be exiting our lives very soon. Many companies are still enforcing WFH and remote working measures. With that in mind, the space you sign on may want to accommodate that work pattern where you can use the space as you need and get your money's worth.
You should consider not only how you use the space, but what the space does for you too. That’s the beauty of coworking spaces - you get what you asked for and more. Research the amenities and services the coworking space provides. Consider if networking opportunities, a tight community, dedicated IT infrastructure, are things you prioritise. If a certain service is important to the company, then it could be a deciding factor between two equally attractive spaces.
Needless to say, many companies are factoring in the pandemic into their business continuity planning. As many teams are scattered all across a country, if not the world, the location of the coworking space should be a huge factor in your decision. Look for coworking spaces that have an international or regional network if employees are spread out.
If your team travels often within the country or regionally, you should consider choosing a space that is accessible within those destinations. You may even get favorable rates that way.
[BOOQED has coworking spaces in Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Shanghai and Singapore. Three of the largest financial cities in China are already provided for, so if you’re a frequent traveller within that region, BOOQED is a good choice to partner with.]
The location has a huge impact on cost. As many living in Hong Kong would know, a residential flat with an ocean view can be double the price of a place in-land. Although many companies would want to locate themselves in the eye of the central business district, if the cost is a major factor, then it's worth reconsidering having a CBD office.
It may even be better for your company to have access to flex spaces closer to where employees live so they can maintain a work-life balance. (This is if you don't also need frequent access to clients or partners, for example, in the CBD.)
Length of Lease
Temporal factors should be considered just as much as spatial factors. A shorter-term lease of 3 months offers more flexibility so you can upsize or downsize easily. But if you expect no significant changes to operations, headcount, or your business model, then a longer lease term of 12-24 months could also be a viable option. Both options depend on your plans for the company.
If you have a more solid outlook into your business' future, deciding on the length of lease shouldn't be as much of an issue. But if you expect more volatility ahead, the cash flow isn't stable, or if you are just on-the-fence with lease duration, we suggest that you opt for a shorter-term lease. Leases can be extended if you change your mind later on. It's better safe than sorry since you'll be on the hook regardless.
Stability and Reputation
During these difficult times, it is more important than ever to do due diligence before handing over 3 months of security deposit. Several coworking operators, as with many other companies, are faced with challenging circumstances. They face their issues with their leases, cash flow, and so on. Therefore, it is vital for you to do your research, and ask for recommendations and referrals for peers and mentors, so you can make the right decision.
Examine the coworking trends of your region to be updated on the latest news. There are still major benefits to using coworking spaces, but just make sure to choose a stable and accountable operator by analysing how they've been transparent through thick and thin, how they've responded to unforeseen circumstances, and most especially, how they've treated their tenants.
You'll find that some coworking spaces have really stepped up to the plate, going above and beyond to create safe workspaces for tenants with arrangements that work best for their tenants' individual businesses. So be on the lookout for these!
The way we engage with our workspace has changed due to the rise of COVID-19. Coworking spaces are spending more time and energy on implementing the right safety measures to tackle the virus. Measures such as temperature checking, social distancing by reducing the density of space usage, contactless environments, and frequent cleaning now matter more than free beer on Fridays. Check to see if your chosen coworking operator is doing enough to ensure your employee’s safety.
Additionally, check to see how each service provider has stepped up to support tenants during this economic downturn. With rent relief, rebates, and just overall support for businesses, an operator that is stable and proactive in helping you is a definite keeper.
These factors are only the essentials of workspace criteria that every company should consider before signing a lease. There may be more to consider, so feel free to alter the list to suit your company's goals. A general rule of thumb though is to focus on stability because rent is a major investment for any company, especially in times where cost-saving is top-of-mind. Plus, any trouble with your workspace operator could spell trouble for your business overall. Make sure to look before your leap into your decision.
Sign On with BOOQED
We understand that companies are struggling amidst this rough economic period, so we have also been working with our partners so that companies in their network can receive strategic workspace support in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Shenzhen. Learn more about our referral program here if you'd like to be a partner. Link