Coworking spaces are great for tech professionals - like yourself - who are looking for networking opportunities, to socialize, or just to find a functional working space away from home. They present opportunities to increase your productivity and creativity… but how to choose the right one?
Remote work has been popularized among small tech companies, solopreneurs, and freelancers before the pandemic and it is nowadays a common practice among all kinds of company sectors.
However, not everyone enjoys working from home all the time, which led people to search for coworking spaces, a pleasing medium between being at home and being at the office.
There are many great coworking spaces in Portugal. Picking the right one for you will benefit your creativity, and productivity, while at the same time you're expanding your network and making new friends.
But how can you be sure that you’re choosing the right space? In this article, we’ll be covering 12 things you should consider when choosing your coworking space, to help you make an informed decision.
12 Things to Look for When Choosing a Coworking Space
1. Office Amenities
While some people might be just fine with a desk and some standard office supplies, others need a lot more than that. When looking for your next coworking space, make sure you ask about what kind of amenities are included in your stay.
Some coworking spaces include printing services, extra chargers, phones, writing boards, projectors, and meeting rooms. Also, be sure to ask about other types of facilities the space has like a kitchen, fully equipped (and clean) restrooms, private spaces, and anything else you might need.
A big part of coworking is meeting new people, networking, and eventually making new friends. Checking out who’s working in the spaces that might interest you can be a great strategy to help you choose the right place.
Since networking opportunities might open new doors for you, make sure to look for coworking spaces that house professionals from different niches. You never know what type of ventures might be waiting for you, plus you'll always have a great time hanging out with like-minded people.
Some coworking spaces are a lot more affordable than others, and that’s probably one of the biggest things to consider when choosing the right place for you. If you need to stay on a budget you might want to look for places that offer a good price/quality ratio, different membership prices, or even package discounts that’ll help you save money in the long run.
A good example of a very pleasant low-cost coworking space is Typographia Cowork, in Oporto. There, in a very central location in Oporto, and for 70€ per month, you get a shared desk, personal locker, illimited wi-fi access, access to meeting rooms, and printers. You’ll also get discounts on any brands that are partnered with the coworking space.
If money isn’t an issue, and you find yourself in the mood for a “premium” experience, you can also try to find a more luxurious coworking space. These places are usually very pricey but they also offer unique experiences that you won’t be able to find anywhere else.
Located in Lisbon, IDEA Spaces - Saldanha is a one-of-a-kind coworking space. There, members are able to enjoy 10 floors with 34 private offices, over 500 dedicated desks, and 18 meeting rooms. This place also has private parking, a lounge bar (with happy hours on Thursdays), a huge open-air terrace, a movie theater…and a pool!
You’re literally able to take a break from work and go refresh your ideas as much as you want!
4. Office Environment
What type of remote work office qualities boosts your productivity? Do you prefer naturally lit spaces, dim lights, peace and quiet, private rooms, a hot desk? The overall office environment is going to be a deciding factor when choosing the best coworking space, so if possible, check it online, and then visit the space in person before making your decision.
As previously mentioned, networking and being surrounded by other professionals is one of the biggest points of a coworking space. However, the environment might get busy sometimes. If privacy is important to you, make sure to look for a place that offers private offices.
If you still want to avoid distractions but not be closed off in a room by yourself, you can also try finding open places that have some sort of movable physical separation for whenever you're working, or that offer noise-canceling headphones.
It might not be one of the first things that come to mind when looking for the best coworking space, but security protocols are extremely important. You'll want to choose a place in which you can easily pop in and out without having to worry about leaving your things behind.
Whether you need a personal office or want to work in more community areas with other people, be sure to check for the type of security measures the place offers. You'll want to keep this in mind, especially if you're a tech night owl searching for coworking spaces that allow you to code during the night!
7. Great Internet Connection
Quality work requires quality internet. Virtually everything a programmer does requires a good wi-fi connection, so you’ll want to choose a place with a reliable (and free) internet connection and great wi-fi speed.
It's also probably a good idea to check the place out before you "move in" and test the wi-fi connection for yourself.
Moreover, a lot of coworking spaces allow you to work there for free for a limited period of time - so you won’t have any unpleasant surprises while working there during a particularly stressed sprint!
8. Office Perks
Several coworking spaces realize that workers need a lot more than a workspace to be productive. That’s why some of them offer extra perks like free food, working out areas, dedicated places for children, outdoor facilities, and more.
The Selina Navis Coworking, in Oporto, is a great example of this. There you’ll find places where you can eat, network, and even take a nap, while still being close to your desk. And if you’re feeling groovy, there are plans to add a nightclub there.
Some people are early birds, others prefer coding later in the day, or even throughout the night. Whether you have a fixed work schedule or not, you should choose a coworking space that allows you to come in and out whenever you want and need.
Location is also one of the most important things to consider when choosing a coworking space. You'll want to choose a place that is probably close to you and that's surrounded by local conveniences like restaurants, pharmacies, public transport, public parks, and more.
Idea Space Palácio Sotto Mayor is located right next to a metro station and a gym. How convenient is that? You can easily use your lunchtime to exercise or do it at the end of the day, right before catching the metro and go home.
If you have your own car or bicycle, be sure to also check out what type of parking arrangements your coworking space offers.
11. Extra costs
You might be attracted to a coworking space that offers a lot of perks, but you also want to make sure that all of those perks are included in your membership. Otherwise, you’ll end up paying unwanted extra fees.
Ask for clear explanations about each type of membership available and don’t be afraid to ask directly if things like the wi-fi, locker spaces, food and drinks, and other amenities are included in your payments or if they cost extra.
Some developers and other IT professionals are real digital nomads and enjoy moving around and exploring different places while working remotely. If you consider yourself among these ranks, you’ll want to look for coworking spaces that offer flexibility.
Not only will you want a flexible place in terms of working hours, but also location. Selina, a company that owns several hotels and coworking spaces, offers a Nomad Pass that people can use to work in different Selina housing facilities that are scattered throughout Portugal and the entire world.
Meaning that you don't have to choose one coworking space, but instead, you can move around different places according to what pleases you the most!
12 Things to Look for When Choosing a Coworking Space: Final Thoughts
Now, before you start looking for your next coworking space, we summed up for you the most important factors to consider: you’ll want to choose an affordable place that still offers plenty of amenities that fuel your productivity, a hub of networking opportunities, and a great, strategic location.
Other important aspects include security protocols, privacy settings, and flexibility when it comes to creating your own work schedule and being a digital nomad, constantly moving around.
Portugal has a lot to offer when it comes to remote work. Whether you’re looking for a coworking place nearby, in the city, or a remote place to get away from your everyday life, you’ll surely find what you’re looking for here.
If working remotely seems great, but your job doesn’t allow you to, why not consider a change of pace?
You can always count on KWAN and our team of recruiters to help you find a project that fits your needs and desires. So be sure to get in touch and let’s talk!