- Ahead of the next stage of his travels, Robert Kropp of Cowork22 explains how he finds the right workspace in new and unfamiliar locations.
- In addition to basic requirements, Robert looks for a space with a certain vibe — which is often more important than cost or location.
- Initial research includes social media photos and reviews, which gives Robert subtle clues about the space and its community.
Beginning in a few days, I will be traveling towards my next adventure working out of coworking spaces in Tokyo, Japan and Dubai!
I am not sure how long I will be gone, but I do know I will have some challenges along the way.
As part of my experience of building a business as a digital nomad while working out of coworking spaces, I need to discover workspaces in the cities I plan to visit. I don’t always have a plan, know the language, or have friends in the area. But there is a process to finding a workspace that has what I need to get work done and has the right vibe, somewhere I can meet people that I like.
So how do I find coworking spaces while I’m traveling to new cities and countries? What do I look for when researching spaces and how do I differentiate between all of the options?
For anyone looking for a workspace anywhere the world, we research in a similar way.
Google. Social Media. Groups. Advice and Referrals.
Groups are pockets of people that are interested in some industry, field, activity, etc., that might have suggestions for places to go that match the needs of the people in the group. This is where much of the advice and referrals can come from. Of course, I can also ask friends and friends of friends for advice or referrals into other spaces, however, I am going to focus primarily on things that I do when I don’t know anyone in an area.
The easiest action to take, especially in an unfamiliar city, is to go to Google or some other search engine and search for “coworking spaces in ‘city name’”. Simple. This is where the content marketing and general marketing strategy of a space is crucial so that I can make decisions about a workspace.
Unfortunately, a high ranked space won’t mean that they fit what I am looking for. I find I need to dig through a few pages in order to add depth to the search. I do not want to miss out on the perfect fit because the space’s link isn’t on the first page.
After I have created a list of potential spaces to work out of, I look at the following factors on their website, social media, and any other platform I can find:
- Commute time
- Proximity to public transportation, parking lots, things to do, restaurants, bars
- Level of activity
- Are the basics of coworking being met?
- How many floors are there?
- Is it more focused on open coworking or offices?
- Do people interact outside of the space?
- Are events often busy and well-attended?
Some of these factors are intangibles that I just feel at this point. The second half of this list below, I pay attention to when I go to visit a space. These are all part of the vibe of a coworking space:
- Do I see the same people throughout the week or is it a more transient space?
- Is there a process? If I have a question, can the manager or an intern get me the answer easily? Is it written down?
- Kindness of the people
- Does management care or is it just a job?
When trying to solve these questions above, I do a thorough review of the social media accounts of a coworking space. Here is what I look for:
- Are the social media pages being updated?
- Is anyone from the community responding to posts?
- What pictures are shared? Do I feel energy there?
- Is it just broadcasting the same content over and over?
One of my biggest pet peeves of a space is when they use anything that looks like stock photos. Even if they are real photos, I also know that coworking spaces stage photos which can make it challenging to get a real vibe for what a space is like. I have seen photos where more than 80% of the seats in open coworking are full. In all of my time working out of these spaces, I have only seen that happen in a couple of spaces.
That is where other sources of content such as instagram, events photos, and the various coworking directory sites come in handy.
I look for genuine spaces and those that want to show who they are, and not what they think I want to see.
My favorite spaces know who they are, who they target, and what type of environment they want to build. I want coworking spaces to help me find them and help me make the right decision whether to try out the space or not.
In the end, there isn’t a best coworking space. There is a best coworking space for me.