Bare bones or added extras?
A basic level of facilities, such as wi-fi, kitchen areas and storage are usually a given, although some places offer just the literal desk. Make sure you research potential hidden costs too, such as business or electricity rates on top of the advertised rent. "It sounds obvious," says Tallon, "but a lot of people overlook them. I've certainly been caught out by such things."
You should also always compare what spaces are offering to justify costs, and what added extras you are getting access to, adds Susskind. At Toad's Caravan in Glasgow, for example, a co-working space which Susskind founded, residents can use workshops and event spaces, and publicise their work through the space's networks.
What's the vibe?
Try to get the sense of a potential location before you commit. "Nothing beats just walking round the space and meeting people," says creative director Nick Couch, who also founded Deskcamping, a platform that helps freelancers find desk spaces across London, New York and Berlin. You will be able to get a sense of a place quite quickly – whether it's a bustling office, or a heads-down, headphones-on quiet space – so be sure to tune into your first impressions.
In fact, Deskcamping gives you a head-start, letting landlords choose from 12 'office vibes' to describe their space, ranging from 'cheers ears: regular work drinks' to 'head bubble: working with headphones on'. Most places will also let you trial their desks for a day or two, a good way to get a feel for a place.
Don't stick to what you know
Working alongside people from other disciplines provides a great chance for unexpected opportunities and collaborations. "If you're working alongside completely different disciplines, that's where often the ideas come from," says Price.
Tallon, who is branching out beyond pure illustration, is also a fan of mixing it up. He has a studio in Second Floor in South London, a shared space that is home to garden designers, artists, film-makers, has 3D printers, laser cutters, a gallery and a cafe. "I'm a big advocate of getting outside your discipline and learning from other areas," he says. "Just walking down the corridor and putting the kettle on, you bump into someone, and pick up little pointers every single day."
Meeting the perfect match
Finding the perfect shared workspace is more like Match.com than Rightmove – after all, it's the people you will be working alongside that can potentially make all the difference to your work place well being.
You might just want a place away from home to focus, but if you're looking for potential partners, collaborators or something more specific, take a good look at who you will be working alongside, suggests Susskind. "And try to get a chat with them when you visit the space for the first time." Do it right, and it will be the start of a beautiful match.
Words: Anna Richardson Taylor
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