The Ultimate Coworking Space Guide 2023
By Varun Bodhi
So you’ve decided to look for a coworking space for your business. A shared office space to expand or downsize your operations, whilst enabling your employees to work in person or hybrid.
Now that coworking spaces are in high demand, the range of providers have become vast and from an initial glance it can be difficult to select the ideal one. However, similar to a product on a shelf, what separates every provider from the rest is the ingredients list on the back.
Every element should complement each other, serve an important function and contribute towards empowering your business. After all, anyone committing their business to something should expect value and take their decision seriously.
While the concept of coworking is often associated as simply being a space, this guide will breakdown this misconception and provide a comprehensive outlook on what to expect from your shared office space.
Table of Contents
3-4. Hot Desks
3-5. Dedicated Desks
3-7. Kitchen & Storage
4. The Team
4-2. In-house I.T Support
4-3. Secretarial Support
6-1. Compliance Checks
What is Coworking?
A coworking space is an environment which is intended to facilitate work for a diverse range of businesses in a shared office space. Coworking spaces by nature are collaborative and provide many cost saving benefits via businesses utilizing shared infrastructure.
According to research, there were approximately 16,599 coworking spaces during 2018 and this number is now forecasted to reach 41,975 by 2024. The growth trajectory of coworking and the concept of a shared office space has been propelled through the demand of flexibility, hence knowing which one will serve your business best is pivotal.
If you are unsure on what coworking is then be sure to complete some research.
What to look for in a Coworking Space
As mentioned earlier, there is a common misconception that coworking is simply a physical desk to work from. If this was the case, it would be no different to running a business from a café or library – why pay for a membership when all you receive is a table and a chair?
A coworking space should provide your business the resources needed to climb, expand, save money and operate as efficiently as possible. To achieve this, there are three crucial interdependent factors and they are kindred in providing a complete business solution.
This trinity of space, team and technology encompass a fully efficient business. Without space your business can’t operate, without technology your business will be unable to keep up with competition and without a team every task will fall upon you.
By understanding the importance of these three elements and how they work together, you will be better equipped to select the right provider. While we can’t speak on other providers, here is what you can expect from a Servcorp coworking space.
The first element of the workspace trinity is space.
The infrastructure of a coworking space should be specifically tailored to suit the requirements of your business and provide scalable options that can adapt as required. The desk and chair may come as a standard, but ask your provider if they have the following facilities.
The geographical location of a coworking space will paint a very important picture for your potential clients. Typically, all iconic buildings are centrally located and are in the financial district of the city – as a business, having a workspace in such locations are a symbol of being established, credible and successful.
Being in short walking distance to all forms of public transport, having easy road connectivity with ample parking space are all factors which add up to the convenience of your clients and employees.
Another factor which can’t be overlooked is personal safety. Whether you’re a public or privately listed company, your address is visible to the globe and with the advent of people working from home this is a significant risk. Furthermore, this risk can’t be mitigated by utililsing a P.O box as a business can’t legally register with its address.
Select a powerful yet convenient location for your coworking space and don’t compromise on the first impression – the best part of all, one membership gives access to all 150 global locations under Servcorp’s umbrella. For corporate travellers, this is beneficial as they will always have access to a workspace which adheres to the same standard.
Undoubtedly one of the largest capital expenditure (capex) of a business is the lease of an office space. Depending on the location, a standard lease can range anywhere from three to more than ten years.
This requires a long-term commitment and comes with a degree of risk which your business must embrace. Furthermore, all that is provided in the lease is a physical location – your business still needs to tackle the expense of setting up furniture, technology and other necessary hardware for basic functionality.
This expenditure is often what holds back an entrepreneur or small to medium businesses in becoming established and expanding their operations. Every business owner faces this inherent risk and this is where coworking spaces can bridge the gap.
The membership duration of a coworking space is designed to support businesses which require all the perks of an established space without the risk.
Coworking membership lease durations:
- Six months
- 12 months
At Servcorp’s coworking, the cost of this lease covers an extensive range of technology and human resources, but we will cover this later in the guide.
Overall, the value businesses receive from mitigating the risk associated with a lease is invaluable and the simplified path of access to enterprise level facilities is an undeniable competitive advantage.
Marketing & Other Advantages
When you sign up for a membership, your business has the ability to register its address as the coworking space’s address. This opens the door for a plethora of marketing opportunities, allowing you to leverage from a powerful corporate presence and advertising this address on your website, business cards and other marketing collateral.
Having a renowned address for your coworking space will also give your business a better impression when trying to acquire a corporate loan.
Designed specifically to foster flexibility and catering towards nomadic workers, every coworking space should have hot desk functionality. Hot desks allow coworkers to switch desks at any time of the day and enable them to move freely without being confined to a particular space.
For the hybrid worker, hot desks are ideal as there is no commitment factor. The professionally furnished space's are the pinnacle of flexibility and workers can simply arrive, select a desk and get to work whilst having all the benefits of Servcorp’s coworking.
As the name implies, a dedicated desk is a space for people which require something permanent. Dedicated desks allow for customization, letting you to keep whatever belongings on your desk and creating a personalized space.
These are ideal for individuals which want to mimic a traditional office, as they can select their desk which is accompanied with a view of their choice.
Meeting rooms & Boardrooms
Whether you’re meeting clients to close off on an important deal, or holding team discussions, having an appropriate space with the correct technology will add to your business' repertoire.
Coworking space members should also have access to contemporary meeting rooms and boardrooms which impress their clients and reinforce the credibility of their business. This is another large cost saver, as the space and technology is readily available with no capital expenditure required from a business.
Having access to these facilities is paramount as using a home or a café gives the perception of a business which isn’t established, whilst also being a security threat.
Meeting rooms can facilitate from two to six people and boardrooms can host between eight to 14 people. Zoom rooms are also available to accommodate for businesses which are working around the hybrid work model.
Kitchen, Storage & Showers
Coworking spaces should also come with a communal kitchen.
A space for you to have lunch, coffee and unwind is a pleasant additional touch, all whilst being part of the coworking membership at no additional cost. With access to unlimited refreshments such as sparkling water, coffee and tea, you’ll be in no short of drinks during your stay.
Naturally, coworking spaces should also be accompanied with secure lockers for people to safely store their belongings.
In terms of space, your business now has all the physical assets of a big company and has mitigated the risk of spending its own capital in setting it up. This covers the first aspect of the workspace trinity which is where most providers’ offerings finish.
The second aspect of a complete workspace solution is having the human resources. A team is the back bone of any business, and is even more vital in a shared office space. Without a team, space becomes underutilized and productivity vastly declines.
Although providing value, every team member is costing a business time and money because:
- They must be paid a salary
- The time taken in the hiring process is a cost
- The time taken to train is a cost
- Team members can fall sick
- Accrued annual leave by team members can be a liability
- All team members have administrative duties associated with them such as payroll (time cost)
- If a team member leaves, the hiring and training process must be repeated
The process of planning, attracting candidates, selecting applicants and offering the job is a process which can take up to 42 days. At the same time small businesses spend around 15-16 hours per week performing administrative tasks, which equates to approximately $14,857 – emphasizing that although hiring a team has risks, without one your business is wasting time.
Coworking spaces which provide a team to delegate to cut a large cost and mitigate significant risk for businesses. This staff is hired and trained by the coworking space provider, which are then available to assist your business across a range of tasks.
Any business’ first point of contact holds high value.
Whether communication is done via email, in person or over the phone, a positive first interaction with your business will dictate if someone is likely to contact you again.
According to software company Invoca, in the past month around 65% of people have used their phone to call a business and 74% of people are very likely to choose another business after a negative phone experience.
Following the workspace trinity, this is where the aspect of having a professional team comes into play. A Servcorp coworking space provides coworkers with their own multilingual and dedicated receptionist to answer all calls in your business name.
Coworking members are able to direct their receptionist on how to answer the call and are ensured their clients receive a positive phone experience.
- Answer a call within three rings
- Transfer calls from up to nine customisable diversions – have calls transferred to your mobile phone when you’re on the move
- Take messages and relay them via your preferred form of communication
- Bank up to six incoming calls
These are functionalities that would accelerate the professionalism and credibility of any business, but the biggest challenge for most is cost.
The average cost of a receptionist in the US costs $36,960 annually, while a coworking space provider such as Servcorp can give this service from $99 per month. This equates to $1188 per year and saves your business almost $36,000 - not to mention the capital saved as a result of not having to hire and train staff.
In-house I.T Support
Upon settling into a coworking space the last complication a business wants is running into technical downtime. Most coworking spaces don’t have an I.T team ready to provide instant support, however providers such as Servcorp do.
- Will provide instant support – simply dial *1 on your telephone handset
- Can setup custom Wi-Fi security
- Setup any internet configuration
- Solve any basic or complex networking and hardware related issues
When you outsource assistance you have to wait on the phone and deal with the delay in help being provided. Choose a workspace which has I.T support onsite to keep your business operations smooth.
According to research, small businesses lose up to $14,857 every year as a result of spending their own time on administrative tasks. Other than a monetary figure, businesses could save up to 81 extra days’ worth of time if they didn’t have to complete administrative duties – that’s a lot of hours which can be reutilized towards capital producing tasks.
The volume of administrative tasks is also significantly higher for other industries such as finance, accounting and legal.
Tasks that a Servcorp secretary can do:
- Data processing
- File maintenance
- Copy and letter writing
- PowerPoint presentations
- Archive handling
- Cloud storage management
- Social media content generation
- Graphic design
- EDM design
- Collate logistic reports to track growth
- Basic HTML website design
- Business card, postcard, flyer and brochure design
- Prepare expense claims
- Budgets and invoice creations
- Book keeping
- Schedule management
- Event planning and travel arrangements
- Assisting with job recruitment
- Resume screening and job advertisement writing
As a business your time is money - understanding this concept is important.
Having team members which don't require hiring or training will streamline your tasks and let you focus on making sales. Businesses also have the added benefit of receiving this support at home with a virtual assistant.
Now that we’ve covered all the team related support a business can receive from a quality coworking space, it’s time to move onto the last element of the workspace trinity.
No matter how much space and staff you have, without technology it will be missing the final link to allow the other two elements to flourish. Technological advancement in business has always been important, however the advent of hybrid work has accelerated the necessity of it.
This technology should empower your business within the coworking space and while you're on the move - to prosper in this digital age you need I.T solutions that work.
All coworking spaces come with internet and Wi-Fi capability, so what makes one better than the other?
Coworking spaces are comprised of businesses and this means every member has data, files and other information which needs to be kept safe.
The internet available at most coworking spaces is an open wireless network – one which has no security protocol. Now that cybersecurity has become a topic of concern more than ever, such networks are dangerous and businesses can easily have their data compromised.
- VLAN: a virtual local area network segments physical devices into subgroups. This configuration ensures that everyone connected to the network is only from your business’s subgroup.
- VPN: A virtual private network creates a safe and encrypted connection to the internet. The private connection creates a safety barrier whilst using a shared network.
- DMZ: A demilitarised zone is a subnet which separates a local area network from untrusted networks.
In some cases such as Servcorp, coworking space companies are also their own internet service provider - this is an added benefit because any desired network connectivity can be achieved.
Earlier on in the guide, we mentioned every coworking space member has their own dedicated receptionist, but what’s more interesting is the technology which enables this.
Servcorp coworking space members receive a virtual landline number which can be used as their business phone number. This is accomplished through Servcorp’s $100 million technological investment that has established over 200,000 extensions in the cloud.
A landline is more professional and safer than using a personal number for business. People who use their personal number can easily be exposed to telemarketers, spam calls and phishing texts.
Furthermore, inquire if your coworking space provider has the technology to support your business while on the move.
For example, Servcorp’s OneFone application enables coworkers to take their desk phone number on their personal phone. In simple terms, when making or receiving calls your number will always appear as your business landline number.
Printing, Scanning & Photocopiers
Did you know that most coworking spaces don’t have the capability to print, scan or photocopy from your desk? This can be a significant inconvenience as coworkers are expected to bring their own hardware.
A premium coworking space should have all the technology and necessary hardware for your business to execute its daily operations. Servcorp's coworking space allows people to print from their desk, whilst being able to scan and photocopy at their shared office space.
Coworking spaces are built on the concept of sharing with other businesses, hence the community which encompasses this space is important. Coworking spaces are designed to help businesses network and expand their circle.
Check if your coworking space has networking benefits such as an online platform which connects you with other businesses - these tools are a great method in fast tracking your search for a business in a particular industry.
As much as shared office spaces encourage networking and doing business with each other, it’s important to be in an environment which ensures all coworkers are legitimate business owners. A secure coworking space should conduct a thorough compliance check to give everyone peace of mind – your coworking neighbour is an authentic and trustworthy business owner.
Does your Provider Have it all?
Now that you have a thorough understanding of what to expect from a coworking space, ensure to ask if these features are available.
Ask your coworking space provider:
- Do you get a receptionist?
- Do they have an I.T team onsite?
- Is secretarial support available?
- Is your coworking space safe?
- Do they have the technology to give you a competitive advantage?
Stereotypical providers only have coworking spaces, but at Servcorp there is something for every business. From virtual offices for people which want enterprise level facilities whilst working from home, to serviced offices for businesses which require a physical corporate presence - there is an end-to-end solution for all.
Find out why coworking spaces are better than working from home and search for your ideal location.
If you’ve got any questions call us +1 212 220 8500 or fill in your information below and we’ll get back to you shortly.