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Coworking Space Finder: How to choose a shared office space
Find a workspace that boosts productivity and offers community.
Shared coworking spaces allow remote workers, freelancers, entrepreneurs and startups to access office space among a like-minded community without the risks or limitations of a long-term lease.
What is a coworking space?
A coworking space is a building or suite of desks, offices and meeting spaces available for rent to professionals and businesses. Typically owned by a private company, these spaces are designed to offer flexibility, community and a collaborative office atmosphere to workers without a permanent workspace.
WeWork may have started the coworking revolution, but today you’ll find many competitors offering cool amenities, the latest technology, business addresses and networking events. Newer names are creating supportive services for specific industries and demographics, like writers and designers, entrepreneurial women and business investors.
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What types of coworking spaces are available?
Among the many companies vying for your dollar are coworking spaces tailored to:
- Freelancers, startups and growing companies. Here you’ll find a mix of desks, private offices, large spaces and common areas to encourage networking among other workers.
- Startups. These spaces help new businesses get off the ground with flexible offices and meeting rooms, mentorship programs and workshops for those hoping to break into fintech, publishing, creative design and other fields. The idea is that members collaborate with one another as they develop their own businesses.
- Working professionals. These coworking spaces market themselves to those in specific industries, like lawyers, accountants and writers. The office spaces tend to offer fewer breakout areas but include reception, mailing addresses and private meeting rooms.
- Women empowerment. Supportive coworking spaces for women are cropping up in major cities around the country. They tend to focus on community and provide amenities and services tailored to women, like lactation rooms and day care for new mothers looking to get back to work.
How do memberships for shared office spaces work?
Memberships and benefits tiers differ by coworking brand but can include:
- Hot desks. These unassigned seats are available to whomever gets there first. Because you won’t sit at the same desk each day, you must pack up all your belongings when you leave. Lockers are often available.
- Dedicated desks. You’re assigned a desks space, allowing you to leave your belongings, such as a monitor setup or keyboard and mouse. You may also get under-desk storage to secure other businesses must-haves.
- Private spaces or offices. Small- to medium-size businesses, satellite teams and branch teams can reserve private offices or meeting rooms in coworking spaces. Setups can accommodate teams of four to 100, depending on availability and the size of the space. You may get additional services with a membership, like priority access to meeting rooms or discounted event room hire.
- Weekender membership. Some coworking spaces offer discounts for weekend or evening use only, which can be a solid option for entrepreneurs looking to launch a startup outside their 9-to-5 jobs.
- Community access. If you live too far from the coworking space or are happy working on your startup from home, you may still benefit a membership that unlocks access to events, networking with investors, pitches, discounts on software and purchased day passes when you need office space.
- Global memberships. Some coworking memberships are tailored to regular travelers. Offered by either third-party companies or global networks, these membership give you access to coworking hubs worldwide.
- Virtual memberships. These memberships often include phone-answering services and a business address, but no office space. You may also gain access to events and an online community of like-minded workers.
What amenities are available in coworking spaces?
Amenities vary by coworking space but often offer a mix of business, tech and networking amenities like:
- IT support
- Online and in-person community
- Business address and mail forwarding
- Reception services
- Tea, coffee, beer, wine and snacks
- Bike storage
- Desk storage
- Planned networking and social events
How much do coworking spaces cost?
Prices for coworking spaces range from $200 to $700 a month for a hot desk and from $600 to $1,300 a month for a private office. Costs and flexibility can vary wildly by city, industry, amenities and coworking focus.
Frequently asked questions
Image source: Getty Images
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