When should you start looking at a co-working space?
“Initiating the search process for a co-working space can feel intimidating,” said Linda Trim, Director at FutureSpace, a high-end work, ‘pro-working’ space joint venture between Investec Property and workplace specialists Giant Leap with two offices in Sandton.
She advised starting the search process before you think you’re ready. “It’s best to get into the market to see what’s out there and what decisions you might need to make. Seeing actual office will trigger considerations that you won’t think of until you’re actually in the space.”
What type of services are offered?
“Great pro-working spaces have every single thing you could need in the office on demand including a concierge,” Trim noted, “making them just like a five star hotel experience.”
She also noted that a little known trick to assess the quality of co-working space is to ask whether it has a centre manager. This is someone who will is responsible for the building and the co-working space so everything is in excellent running order and glitches immediately attended to.
Other must haves are meeting rooms with quality video screens and sound for remote teams, receptionists, secretarial services, coffee, food, secure storage and a wide range of workspace options. This would include general open areas, privacy booths to dedicated basic offices right up to large luxury offices and lounge areas.
Accessibility – How will people get to your space?
Will your workers drive, take the, bus, the Gautrain, walk?
Said Trim: “Of the most important factors in deciding on a workplace is ease of access for your team. It is important to bear in mind that people will be coming from different directions so easy access is paramount.” Close to home is the most important decider when it comes to choosing a co-working space but of course that won’t be possible for larger teams. Good transport access is therefore second prize.
What amenities are nearby?
Yes, you might find a co-working space that has just the best coffee and sandwiches – and even beer on tap. But while everyone will want good coffee and food on site, they will also like option to walk out for lunch or head out for a latte for a change of pace. Within a two to three block radius, are there restaurants? Coffee shops? Retail? What is the “walking score” for your building? “As part of your due diligence, map out the amenities into a three block radius,” Trim advised. FutureSpace offices are both located over the road from Sandton City.
Will you have access to high speed Fibre Internet – and a techie?
It seems fundamental these days but it’s worth checking the quality of the wifi given how much of our working lives now depends on the cloud, internet communications and being constantly linked to our phones and other devices.
“What people really want in co-working spaces is the Internet to work every moment of every day, and it to be really fast. People might compromise on some things but they will not forgive Internet outages or slow speeds,“ Trim noted. She added that while many co-working spaces do offer wifi they have no IT techie on site so when the wifi goes down, work can stop for days on end.
“An IT expert on site is an absolute must,” said Trim.
Is there excellent security?
Particularly in South Africa, business security is paramount. “A secure co-working space would have confirmed the identify of each and every use, the staff, suppliers and guests before allowing them on the premises. Cards should be supplied to those who have leased space so they can enter easily. Of course, secure parking in the building is vital as are security guards at access points. It’s no good having a secure workspace if you’re parking on the street to get there,“ Trim concluded.