WFH is not for everyone: Tips for finding the perfect co-working site


By AGENCY
  • Living
  • Thursday, 01 Apr 2021

Do you want to hot-desk in a casual loft atmosphere or have conference rooms in a business lounge? Coworking spaces differ greatly, and you need to know exactly what you want from Day One. Photo: Christin Klose/dpa

Remote working is already a part of everyday life for many of us - but it does have its drawbacks. Your home may not be the ideal place to welcome customers and clients, or you might find yourself running out of space.

Happily there are many co-working sites where freelancers and self-employed people can share facilities.

"There are lots of internet sites offering co-working spaces," says Christian Kannenberg, a management consultant from Cologne in Germany.

They allow everyone to get on with their own business, but the fact there are others in close proximity means there are also opportunities to collaborate. In some co-working spaces computers, printers, telephones or meeting rooms are all part of the deal.

Modest to swish

The number of co-working spaces is on the rise. Various estimates predict that as many as 5 million people around the world will be renting a shared working space come 2022.

In Germany, for example, the number of available places has risen from just 300 to almost 1,300 since the beginning of 2018, according to figures from the Co-working Spaces Association (BVCS), with figures in other countries reflecting similar growth.

"Many are a modest corner of an out-of-the-way building, but a design office or a hip cafe with extra rooms can also be considered as co-working spaces," says BVCS board member Tobias Kollewe.

In some places there are only desks, others offer a reception area, lounge and cleaning service. Some spaces can be booked by the day, others on longer-term leases.

You should think carefully about how often you want to use the workplace and whether there’s enough room. You should also establish whether it’s a secure location in which you can leave kit and equipment. And there are other practical considerations.

"Of course, the noise level plays a major role," says Christian Kannenberg. “If the other tenants of the co-working space make a lot of phone calls, but you need peace and quiet for researching, writing texts or designing, the environment may not be suitable.”

Use free trial days

It’s a good idea to compare several sites before you commit to one. Find out about the site’s specific rules, who else uses it, and get a feel for its atmosphere. And Christian Kannenberg warns against committing too far in advance "because you just never know how the business will develop."

Cost will depend on the location, how close you are to other workers, the equipment provided, and additional services, and you can expect to pay a monthly fee of anything between the price of dinner and drinks and a few nights in a hotel.

If postal services are included you’ll be able to use the space as a business address. This can be particularly attractive if you want to keep private and professional matters strictly separate. dpa/Sabine Meuter
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