Coworking can be successful in most locations if you have a large community built up and they are willing to go there. However, most coworking spaces start with an initial group of 10 and expect others to join over time and location will be an important factor in making their decision. In fact, according to a CBRE report 54% of members choose their coworking space based on location. Picking the right location is more art than science but there are some key indicators that will help you build a good coworking home for your community and future members.

 

What are indicators of a good coworking location?

 

    • Indie coffee shops
      • There is a good chance your community is here. They are working away with their headphones on small tables and poor Wifi (pleading for help). If you have three or four over crowded coffee shops within a 10 minute walk then you are in good company.
    • Walkability Score
      • This is a score that combines a neighborhood’s access to sidewalks, public transportation, grocery stores, drug stores, and many other common factors that make a place, well, walkable.
      • Not only does it indicate if it is a good densely populated area with the amenities most younger professionals like to live by, but it also indicates if it’s an area people would like to drive to and spend their day even if they live away from the city.
    • 20 minute radius
      • This is the travel time that most people are willing to make to a place of work whichever their mode of transit it is. You are targeting people within this circle.
    • Age groups in the area
      • Most coworking communities members are between the ages of 23 and 45, averaging in the mid 30s. It’s a number that’s going up every year as more people start coworking and it’s acceptance becomes more widespread across all age groups.
    • Lunch spots nearby
      • Your community is going to spend the bulk of their day coworking and lunch is the main meal. Having great walkable lunch spots is going to be important to many of your members and a tool in bringing people together (community lunches and happy hours).
    • Demographics of progressive work culture
      • Is the neighborhood home to marketing companies, software teams, PR agencies, photographers, and other creative sector individuals? If yes, great! If not, it’s not a big deal but it might mean you are a trailblazer. This just means more risk.
    • Are there other executive suites nearby?
      • You might think this is a bad thing at first. It’s not. In fact it indicates that there is a small business scene in the area and they are most likely just waiting for a cool modern workspace to open up nearby.

How about the physical space?

  • Does the space layout make sense?
    • Can you see people?
      • When a person walks into the space do they see a hallway or wall? You want people to have good sight lines where people are visible right away to create a sense of energy and community. Plus, it makes it easier to spot new people when they walk in and provides good marketing to passerbyers.
    • Can you host events or large gatherings, if you want to?
      • Many spaces launch with a handful of events in order to help people discover the space. Event space might be an anchoring feature for your community because it’s important to their companies and a common way everyone connects but to many spaces it’s not as important they initially think. You need to ask yourself if event space is important to your community, marketing, and if it makes financial sense.
    • How much build out do you need to do?
      • Building additional offices, phone booths, conference rooms, and lounges can be expensive for an entrepreneur. You’ll want to get estimate for those costs before signing a lease or ask for improvement concessions from the landlord. Obviously, the fewer the build outs the better.
    • Does the space makes sense for the community?
      • This is a question everyone thinks they have thought about but many haven’t if they don’t understand their community or other coworking spaces. Take a moment if the space has the right size of rooms, offices, kitchen, etc. that allows your community to gather and grow.
    • Does it have a kitchen?
      • You don’t need a full kitchen but a kitchenette with a sink, fridge, and a microwave go a long way in making people comfortable. A kitchen also becomes a gathering hub quickly which will help you cultivate your community faster.
    • Safe for after hour access
      • Coworkers don’t work normal 9 to 5 hours and it can bad for business if you limit it.
  • Other things to consider:
    • Can you hang a sign outside for marketing purposes?
    • Check your business insurance expenses?
    • Consider utilities, internet, and larger common amenity costs?

Location is important and there are several factors that go into place in finding the right spot for your future coworking spaces. Contact us if you have a property or neighborhood that you think would be a good location for a coworking community and you want an expert opinion.