Coworking spaces have become increasingly popular, and even more so, in the past two years with a growing shift towards hybrid work models. With more people working remotely, coworking spaces are undoubtedly a great choice for budding entrepreneurs, start-ups, as well as large enterprises to economize, network, and fuel employees’ creativity and flexibility.
You might be thinking “coworking sounds great, but how do I pick the right coworking space for me?”
And to that we say, don’t worry, we are here to help you brainstorm. Here are 5 questions to consider when choosing a coworking space.
How much space do I need?
Coworking spaces offer a variety of workspaces whether you’re looking to prioritize privacy or deepen human connections be it professional or social. Depending on your preferences and budget, a good place to start would be to identify whether you’ll be looking for a hot desk, fixed desk (or a dedicated desk as we refer to at Ikigai Nairobi), or a private office.
Hot desks (also referred to as flexible desks) which are found in shared workspace within coworking offices are relatively the most affordable offering and are great if networking and collaboration are high up on your list.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for a space to make your own but still want to bounce off the energy of other creative entrepreneurs, then a fixed (dedicated) desk in a shared space may be the right fit for you. Dedicated desks are reserved desks that are allotted to you which allow you to share workspace but still be able to enjoy creature comforts on your desk.
An at the top of the tier, we have private offices. Private offices are relatively pricier, but nonetheless are ideal if you’re looking for room for your team and clients to collaborate more confidentially, while still enjoying the communal benefits that a coworking ecosystem provides.
What location is most ideal?
There are several factors that will inform what you perceive to be an ideal location.
For one, certain geographical areas, localities, or neighborhoods will be more appropriate than others depending on your sector of activity. Consider the time it takes to commute as well Are there cafés or restaurants nearby? Are my clients nearby?
Another key factor to consider in looking for a coworking space is flexibility in terms of access time as well as access to different locations. Some coworking communities, like Ikigai Nairobi, offer 24/7 communal area access across all their locations. What’s so great about Ikigai Nairobi is we also offer a variety of locations, with unique spaces for every individual’s and every team’s needs. With our serene garden locations in Westlands and Lower Kabete, our beloved flagship corporate location in Lavington, and our newest dazzling corporate location in Riverside.
Are the amenities adequate for my needs?
Most coworking spaces are fitted with standard office amenities but be sure to ask about anything extra that would elevate not only your safety but your comfort. For instance, find out if the space has a dedicated mother’s feeding room or dedicated prayer room, both of which are available at Ikigai Nairobi’s corporate locations situated in Lavington and Riverside.
Needless to say, as we live with the Covid-19 pandemic, the standard of health and safety practice at a coworking space will also rank high up on the list of considerations to prioritize.
As a wellness-focused workspace, maintaining and ensuring the health and safety of our community has always been key at Ikigai Nairobi. Our commitment to superior health and safety standards and protocols is exemplified in our role as founding members of the Workplace Operator Readiness Council [WORC]. WORC is a global council of workplace operators, who share, coordinate, and develop information for advancements towards a safe and healthy office.
How secure is the coworking space?
With coworking spaces in such high demand, and a variety of individuals – freelancers, entrepreneurs, corporate clients, and one-offs – coming in and out each day, you must be aware of the concerns that shared workspaces may pose to your business.
One of the top information security concerns for coworking spaces is physical security. The next time you tour a coworking space, a great question to ask would be: “What measures and processes are in place for verifying the identity of members?”.
This might be security guards and receptionists, ID badges, or access keys or tags. Ikigai Nairobi values the security of its members and that is why our shared spaces can only be accessed using Salto access tags – a smart electronic access control system. In addition, at Ikigai Nairobi, your physical belongings can also be safely stored away in our spacious lockable lockers.
Another important information security question to ask would be: “what are internet and cybersecurity policies?”. Does the coworking space offer unique Wi-Fi login credentials for one-off day pass members? Ikigai Nairobi protects its members’ cybersecurity using Cisco Meraki MX100 – a complete networking and security solution, that offers an extensive set of data protection functions from Cisco Advanced Malware Protection (AMP), firewalling, content filtering, web search filtering, intrusion detection, and prevention, to name a few.
Last but certainly not least, you cannot afford to fail to ask yourself…
Is this the right atmosphere to conduct my business in?
Apart from offering great networking and collaborative opportunities, another key perk of operating your business in a coworking space is the positive spillover effect a premium coworking space will have in elevating your business external image without the strain, stress, and expense of doing it yourself. However, this doesn’t come without thoughtful consideration into whether the coworking space aligns with your specific brand and industry.
In thinking about atmosphere, ask yourself:
“Does this coworking space make sense with my company culture and aesthetic?”
“What is the collaborative atmosphere like and what type of work is best suited there? Calm and focused? Or buzzing communal interactions?”
Now that you are equipped with the right questions to ask, the next best step would be to get a real feel of the space.
Ikigai Nairobi is a collective of beautifully designed office spaces across Nairobi in Lavington, Lower Kabete, and soon, Riverside! We offer wellness-focused shared workspaces, flexible private offices, meeting rooms, and event spaces for entrepreneurs, creatives, SME’s and corporates.