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Coworking spaces should be a consideration for any company looking to set up a new office or change up an old one. Sharing resources with other organisations reduces costs and working alongside a variety of new people injects new energy into old ways of working. If you are ready to move on to a coworking space, we give you some tips on how to pick the best one for you and your company.

Startups and even larger companies are increasingly looking to coworking spaces as an alternative to traditional offices when they need to expand their businesses. The flexibility of contracts offered by coworking spaces makes them an attractive and cost-effective solution to locate new departments, to upscale small businesses, or even to downscale when necessary. All without long-term commitments. They offer an ‘oven-ready’ solution that comes fitted with all the office furniture you need and is already decorated, alongside fixed costs for utility bills. Many have administrative staff, such as receptionists, already built in to the monthly charge.

But before you get carried away by the cool artwork, free coffee and snacks or the hip vibe of the other coworkers, here are some other things you need to consider when choosing your new coworking space.

Work out your budget

Real estate costs, particularly in capital cities like Lisbon, can be prohibitive if you are looking to buy or rent an office space. Coworking spaces are an excellent and cost-effective alternative to leasing or buying and you can expand or reduce your workforce as your business requires without committing to long-term leases or more permanent purchases.

Coworking spaces come with fixed overheads so you’ll have no nasty surprises at the end of each month and know exactly how much you’ll be spending on housing all your staff members.

Work out what you can reasonably spend on a monthly or quarterly basis, including utility bills and business rates, and create a shortlist of possible spaces based on that.

Consider transport links and location

Location and transport links are vital factors that make a coworking space a hit or a miss with your staff. Take into consideration how easy it is to reach the space, where people can park if necessary and how easy it is for your clients to come to you, if that’s what you need.

What facilities do you need?

Consider the specific needs of your department or organisation before you decide. What amenities does your team need beyond the basics? Are the meeting rooms large enough for what you plan to use them for, and will they be available whenever you need them? Do you want an onsite canteen or restaurant, or are there enough places to grab lunch nearby? Make a list of the facilities you can’t live with out as well as the ‘nice to haves’ and tick them off as you visit each potential coworking space.

Does it give you room to grow?

Is your business or department likely to expand in the near future? If so, does the coworking space you are opting for have room to accommodate more people, if necessary? You don’t want to have to keep changing offices as that won’t be good for employee morale and retention, so be careful to choose a location that gives you some flexibility to expand.

Analyse who else works in the space

Who are the other members of the coworking space? Will they complement the work you want to do or could there be a culture clash? Ask to meet with a few of the organisations that are already based at the coworking space and ask them in detail about their experiences. There’s no better way to understand how well a coworking space works than to talk to the people that already use it

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