Our top 10 questions to ask yourself before choosing a coworking office
Finding a new workspace should be an exciting task, but it's often underestimated. It can be a lot of work, especially if you're new to everything. Trust us, we know there's enough 'lingo' to go around. We thought we'd share our top 10 tips of things to consider before choosing a coworking office in London. Did you know that you could 'test and trial' a workspace before signing on the bottom line?
Before covid, London commute times were a given. Since then people have moved houses, changed jobs and even shifted mindset. More and more employees are taking a stand against long, daily commutes and are opting for local offices to get their work done away from home. Your first question before you start searching for office space, should be about where in London you'd like your office to be based. If a city office is what you're looking for, then a longer commute is worth it. If you want to find a cosy office not too far from your doorstep, then greater London office spaces work well. Lead with area, the rest will fall into place.
London co-working and serviced offices offer a range of memberships to suit different working styles. Whether it's a daily or even hourly rate or a full-time monthly contract, most office providers will have something that suits your needs. The biggest difference is deciding between 'floating' or 'fixed' space.
Floating desks, typically called Hot Desks or part-time memberships, offer a desk in a shared office environment. These seats are often in open plan offices, and offer lots of space for you to make it your own for the day. Many freelancers and remote teams choose memberships like this because they prefer a nomadic way of working. You meet new people everyday, which is great for networking, and it won't cost you an arm and a leg.
Fixed space, usually called Fixed Desks or Dedicated Desks, are the complete opposite of hot desks. With this membership, your desk is your own for the duration of your contract. You can add an extra monitor, own storage like a locker or a desk drawer, and go wild on other decorations like colourful plants or your favourite books. Typically, office providers will also throw in a few perks here like 24-hour access, printing credits or meeting room credits as part of the contract.
It's not uncommon for London office providers to curate the types of companies they host in their offices. It can be by industry, like a FinTech hub or a FoodTech kitchen space or it can be by theme such as 'sustainability'. Greater synergies between tenants can mean less complaints, happier employees and much better office networking. Take the opportunity on office tours to ask questions about current tenants. Companies choose offices that reflect their culture and mindset, so the kind of members a coworking space has will hugely affect the way that office 'feels'. After all, one of them might be your future neighbour!
This one is a huge deal breaker and is closely tied to the above. If the office space you are viewing doesn't have the right 'feel', then it's probably not for you. Make sure to understand everyone's preferences before setting out to find a new London office. You have to figure out what makes a perfect office. Is it being dog-friendly or having a snack cupboard to hand? Is it somewhere where people often come together to socialise and network or would your team prefer to stick to themselves? These are all questions you'll want to know the answers to before moving offices.
All London office providers will build in shared meeting rooms to their common areas. These are often either on a credit system, and added to your monthly contract, or can be bulk-bought and shared out amongst the team. Ranging from 2-person pods to full board suites, most of these can also be set up with teas, coffees and even lunches. Of course, for teams who have their own private office who might need their own meeting rooms, many workspace providers offer tenants the option to build these into their current space as part of their wider offering.
Absolutely. In fact whilst people were still uncertain about signing contracts over lockdown, many office providers offered 'trial days' to prospectus members who were interested in taking space. It was a great turning point for our clients who wanted to experience a handful of different offices, before choosing whichever one they felt most comfortable in. Now, it's common practice to allow you to work from a space after an organised tour, for you to get a proper 'feel' for it.
If you love workspace like we do, you'll know that it's not just about a desk and four walls. Offices can have a huge impact on your team's wellbeing and productivity and many office providers have worked hard over covid to update their portfolios with the latest tech. Whether it's free weekly massages or a sound-proof nap in a wellness pod, London office providers have something for everyone. Away from a fitness and wellness focus, extra perks have included free events and talks, member meet-ups over breakfast and lunches, and accelerator activities such as investor introductions and CXO advisory groups.
The physical amenities are often overlooked in modern offices given the bean-bag distractions and all the coffee you can drink. But what's available to you and your team outside of just a desk at work, has never been more important. Many coworking spaces in London have invested in outside areas for teams to relax in between meetings or over their lunch breaks such as roof terraces, gardens, and outdoor sports halls. Other facilities include (we're not kidding) swimming pools, podcast rooms, meditation yurts, cinemas, theatres, gyms, snack cupboards, games rooms, libraries. The list could go on, honestly.
Nowadays, people head to the office for the interaction and some of that happens after work. Team drinks or a celebratory dinner out can be a hoot if you find the right venue. Whilst a coworking space in the suburbs might be an idyllic place to work, some may find it difficult to find an experience-led drinks venue or an amazing dinner out. Always spend some time on tours exploring the London area surrounding the offices you are viewing. Trust us, it'll make or break a space.
Visitors are always welcome in London co-working and serviced offices. The majority of them will ask visitors to sign in upon arrival and some might even prefer to prebook visitors to avoid overcrowding. You can either use meeting rooms, or for a more laid back experience, invite your visitor to a common sofa space or open-air meeting pod. Most workspace providers will have unlimited tea and coffee for members and their guests too. Oh, and there is a record number of offices that now accept dogs in London - some have even started to welcome cats too, if that's your thing.
To go through these points and more with an expert who has helped dozens of companies find new workspace, don't be shy. We want to help.