It seems that more and more people are working these days as freelancers, particularly in the creative industries where companies cannot afford to have a regular web developer or content writer on the books. If you’re one of the growing number of self-employed workers, then you can save money by working from home – although this creates a whole set of new challenges – or you can opt for something a little more professional. This article looks at some of the reasons why you should perhaps consider looking for a hot desk and working in shared office space, and what considerations should you take into account before signing a lease?
Price your hot desk against the market
When you’re looking for a hot desk in your ideal shared office, make sure you shop around and don’t just select the first option that comes your way. Whilst you may not want to go for the cheapest option, as this will no doubt come with its own unique set of difficulties, there’s no point paying for the most expensive office space either. You should always check the market to determine what comes included in the price, as you may find you’re paying extra for office furniture and other extras. Also take some time to negotiate with the building’s owners. You should be able to get a better price if you commit to a longer lease rather than taking the office on a month-by-month basis.
Consider your spatial requirements
One of the most important considerations you should make when choosing a shared office or a hot desk of your own, is the amount of available space you’ll likely need. Will you be able to fit everything you need into the office, or will you have to make a few sacrifices to get the job done? If you’re the type of person who likes a lot of light or needs a window to occasionally gaze out of to get inspired, then be honest with yourself, and don’t sign a lease thinking that you’ll adapt to a new situation such as staring at a wall. Also, if you’re starting to do a lot of business and you think you might need to take on a junior worker to help with the load, then look for somewhere that gives you the space to grow.
Office culture matters
Many shared office spaces have an underlying culture, which may not be instantly apparent in a brief drop in session. Imagine you’re the kind of worker who likes to take frequent breaks where you scan the web for amusing laugh out loud content, whilst you put your feet up on the desk. This might not go down too well in an office where silence is of paramount importance. In order to find out if you really do fit into a shared office space, we’d always recommend that you take the time to spend a trial day working in it, to check that you’re a good fit with the other personalities. There may also be a number of regulations that might not suit your working day – for instance many creative individuals like to work late and arrive late in the mornings. Clearly if you’re this type of person, and you’re considering going into an office where everyone’s done and a cleaner comes round at 7.00pm, then this might not be the right environment for you.
Hot desks include surrounding amenities
You really should take some time to consider what kind of facilities you need from your shared office. If you want to make lots of phone calls then you’ll want to install some kind of sound-screen – you may even be able to get a serviced office with a receptionist who is able to take calls for you when you’re otherwise engaged. Like to meet your clients face to face for meetings? Then make sure you’ve got some kind of communal area where you can take a little bit of time to sit down and go over any necessary matters with your contacts. If you still use a lot of paper in your business, then make sure that a photocopier and a fax machine are included in the rent. Obviously you’ll also need a fast Internet connection for your business communications, and if you own a large amount of expensive computer hardware and peripherals, then security should be a major consideration too. Always be sure to check all the details of everything that’s provided with the shared office space – as this will often encounter extra cost, so be sure you know exactly what you’re paying for. A well-run shared office space company will allow you to pick and choose the services you require.
Access to your office space
This may sound like a bit of an obvious one – but remember to check what kind of parking and access is on offer near to the office, and be honest about how you like to travel. If you’ve always been a car person, then it’s unlikely that you’re going to turn to that bike for anything other than the summer months, and when the winter comes you’ll need a parking space that’s close by. Equally if you are a cyclist, then you’ll want some well-protected cover in which you can store your bike, especially if you’ve spent a lot of money on one. You may also be able to get a lower rent if you work on an industrial estate, or outside a commercial centre – in this case you may have to look at buses and perhaps even trains, however if you are a car driver then you’ll be more likely to find cheaper alternatives, or even free parking in this situation.
Consider finding a shared spirit
It is always good to try to find an office that’s populated by workers in a similar industry to your own. For instance, if you’re a web content writer or developer, then consider arranging office space with a graphic designer. This means that you’ve got a kindred soul who understands your industry and can also offer you the odd bit of assistance in your day to day working life. You may also find that working with individuals in complementary fields can have a knock on effect for your business, as you can get recommendations from those around you, which can prove incredibly beneficial for your clients as they get the benefit of workers who can easily communicate – allowing you to offer a new level of service.
It’s also worth noting that it’s not uncommon for individuals who start off working in a shared office to go on and form a partnership or a company. Equally be very careful when considering working with others in exactly the same field, as you as if you’re competing for the same business this can cause a very uncomfortable atmosphere in the shared space.
Working in a shared office provides you with a professional feel to your business and can create a clear separation between your home and work life, which can be a very good thing in terms of defining your time to focus and your time to relax. However, it’s essential to check through every detail of an office lease to make sure that your shared space fits all your key criteria. Don’t assume anything when talking to a prospective landlord and question every aspect of the arrangement; because you’re looking at making a long-term commitment here that will play a part in your development, it’s important to be on the same page as your landlord.