In 2017, the number of coworking professionals around the globe surpassed one million.* Considering that these shared office spaces have only been around since the early 2000s, the annual growth has been tremendous. If you’ve never given coworking a try, you might be wondering: what’s the big deal?
Whether they’re freelancers, small startups or execs who need a dynamic and energizing workspace, fans of coworking cite many benefits, including:
- Lower costs than traditional office space (because of shared resources)
- More flexibility, often with an adjustable monthly membership plan versus a long-term annual contract
- The ability to be part of a professional community
- Increased productivity due to innovative spatial design and infectious energy
- Business development, networking and collaboration opportunities
- Access to meeting room space
Benefits as Differentiators
When it comes to coworking spaces, you’ll find that each location (even those within the same network) can be extremely different. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Find the combination that’s right for you and your business—and your budget. Since each coworking space is different, pay attention to the details. The benefits that each coworking space offers is what differentiates it from its competitors. Here’s a short list of things to look for:
1| Community & Business Development Opportunities
Besides free Wi-Fi, the opportunity to be part of a community and meet other professionals is the most common benefit of any coworking space. Most locations will offer some combination of networking breakfasts; members-only events; online member networks; and other in-person, on-site opportunities to connect. These are great ways to meet new clients, collaboration partners and more. What if your next client were sitting just a desk away?
2| Dedicated Desks or First-Come, First-Served Seating? Single- or Multi-Person Private Offices?
Coworking spaces may offer several seating options at a variety of price points. Usually, these options include
- First-come, first-served seating in a communal area
- Single private offices
- Multi-person private offices
If you’re happy working with a little background noise, start with a first-come, first-served arrangement. However, private offices are fantastic if you have a business with more than one person, need to store things securely overnight or if you need more privacy.
Be aware that each coworking space may not offer all of these options. While many spaces allow month-to-month agreements, some may require an annual contract.
3| One Location or a Network of Locations?
Selecting a coworking location is pretty easy if all you need is a workspace close to your home. However, if you need to meet with clients spread out across the city or appreciate a change of environment, then you might be better off with a membership that gives you access to a network of locations.
If you need multi-location access, review the policies and associated costs carefully. This benefit is treated very differently across brands. While some companies allow unlimited first-come, first-served access at their locations, other networks may require you to make a reservation or pay an extra fee.
4| Building Access: 24/7 or Limited?
Another big difference in coworking membership plans is building access. Some plans include 24/7 access, while others are limited to weekday business hours.
5| Included Perks or Paid Add-Ons?
Coworking spaces may offer a variety of amenities, such as:
- Copying and printing
- Guest passes
- Meeting space
- Private conference call booths
- Special events
The amenities that a coworking space offers—and whether they’re complimentary or in addition to your basic membership plan—often serve as key differentiators between coworking choices.
If you decide to join the multitude of coworking professionals, ensure that your monthly membership includes the services and amenities critical for your business. Any reputable coworking space should always be willing to give you a tour and thoroughly answer your questions. Many spaces will also give you a free day pass. Try it out and see if coworking has a positive benefit on your productivity and business development.
Meet at Roam
At Roam, we offer unique coworking memberships for professionals in the Atlanta, Georgia, area. All memberships include access to our online member network; monthly special events; ample parking; first-come, first-served seating at each of our five locations; and more. Some of our locations also offer private offices. To learn more about our membership plans and amenities, please visit or contact us. We look forward to meeting you soon!
* According to the 2017 Global Coworking Survey by Deskmag and Social Workplaces.