I often struggle with choosing a coworking space in a new city. It’s harder for me than choosing a gym, or even an Airbnb.
Why? Because I’m not just choosing a productive space. I’m choosing the community I’ll immerse myself in. And who knows, a great choice will lead to serendipitous friendships, mentors, business partners, and so much more.
That’s why I take extra care when choosing my future coworking community.
Here are 11 hacks I like to use to vet my future ‘work-home’:
1. Stalk the coworking space on Instagram! It’s a great place to get a snapshot of their culture and personality at a glance. For example, you can see that Hubud in Bali has a strong focus on community, with plenty of awesome events and people who look like they get along well.
2. Email them! Tell them you’re interested in joining, and ask about their culture. See who replies. Is it a community manager, or the founder? The warmth of their reply will give you a sense of their vibe. If the founder replies personally, you’ll know that they’re still a young space and/or care a lot about the quality of service.
3. Cross-check member reviews on Coworker, Facebook, and local blogs. Often, you’ll find a list of the best coworking spaces in [“city name”] by searching local blogs and Facebook groups. While in Tel Aviv, I used Secret Tel Aviv to find gems recommended by locals.
4. Location contributes a lot to the type of members a space attracts. Is it in the city, close to cafes and bars? Or by the beach? Or is it completely remote? Based in rural Serbia, Mokrin House attracts people who care about productivity and deep connections, because of its remote location. What kind of location suits you best?
5. What are the core values they describe on their website? If they don’t explicitly state their values, what types of words do they use? For example, Mindspace cares about growth, collaboration, and taking your business to the next level while Coworklisboa cares about creativity, diversity, and community.
6. Check out their amenities. Do they have a cafe with food and coffee? Lots of communal areas to gather? What about the perks? A coworking space in Bangkok has a trampoline – you can bet they value playfulness.
7. There are lots of clues you can find in pricing plans. Does their space favor individuals and freelancers, or small to large teams? If their pricing is primarily built for teams that rent long-term, it may not suit remote workers or freelancers who are just traveling through. For example, I found SOSA in Tel Aviv to be too mature for my situation – it acts more like an accelerator, connecting startups to investors and corporations.
8. The founders of coworking spaces are often connected to one another. If you find a place you like, ask the team for recommendations in your next city. It’s a small world! Nomad House partnered with Coworksurf during their Lisbon experience, and it was great to see the two communities come together for a working weekend.
9. Keep in mind the type of community you’re looking for, and search by that criteria. There are female-only coworking experiences and hacker houses for developers. You’ll find coworking spaces for designers, yogis – you name it.
10. Don’t be afraid to drop in before committing! Request a day pass or book a tour. You can see if a place offers drop-ins on Coworker. And even if they don’t look like they do, don’t be afraid to ask!
11. Read their blog! It’ll give you a sense of their voice and what they care about. They might even feature some members and their success stories, so you can get to know what they’re like.
Phew, that’s a lot! Above all else, remember to follow your intuition. I believe there’s a little bit of magic involved in every decision you make. And if you have an open mind, you’ll find a gift in every coworking space.
After you’ve joined a great coworking space, it’s up to you to curate and build your community. Reach out to offer support and ask for advice, host events, and proactively contribute to a great culture.
Go out there and find your tribe.
What do you look for in a great coworking community?