When the team at Staples Connect reached out to me to explore their brand-spanking-new co-working space less than a 10-minute walk from my apartment, I couldn’t turn the opportunity down. Staples has joined the trend of creating hybrid spaces to enhance the experience for their customers, but they have taken the concept up a notch with the launch of Staples Studio. With dedicated meeting spaces, a kitchen, private offices and more, they’ve made the right moves to be a player in the Boston co-working scene.
I’ve written in a previous blog post about how my team generally works from coffee shops, and even shared a few of my favorites in Boston, but at some point every business hits a tipping point of needing a dedicated, or at least semi-dedicated, space. Only you know when that time is right for your business, but when you do, there are some key factors to take into consideration. Below, I’ve broken down my top five focuses when considering a co-working space.
Easy access for all of your team members.
Depending on the size of your company, factoring in location convenience for your colleagues/employees can be a major element when deciding whether a space is right for your business. As a team of three, I want to make sure that no team member has to travel more than 20-30 minutes to make it to work if I can help it. As you grow, the commuting range will grow with you, and eventually you’ll look at access to reliable public transportation, parking, and walkability. Staples’ Government Center location in Boston ticks all of the boxes for me in this respect. With access to the green, orange, and blue lines, public transportation options are significant, and for all of my current employees, it keeps their commute under the 30-minute mark from door-to-door.
Not all co-working spaces are created equal and finding key points of difference that could have a meaningful impact on your business is crucial. For example, Staples Connect has a souped-up podcasting studio in collaboration with iHeartRadio. If you’ve been looking for an excuse to finally start that podcast (like me), this is a game-changer. Other unique amenities you might want to consider is a fully-stocked snack closet, full kitchen, and access to materials you might need for your business. Staples Studio checks off all of these boxes.
Perks that suit your needs.
By far my favorite perk that the Staples Studio membership has to offer is enrollment for TSA Pre✓ ® at their Government Center Studio. As a long time Global Entry card holder (one step above TSA Pre✓ ®), I can’t tell you how grateful I am every time that I walk into the airport with Pre✓ ® and Global Entry privileges. I have lost count the amount of times that Pre✓ ® has saved me from missing flights. Even better, going through security is a breeze – there’s no taking your shoes off, I’m not unloading and reloading camera gear, a couple of laptops, etc., and all my carefully packed toiletries stay right where they are. You don’t even have to take your ID out at security in Boston anymore. If you do not have TSA Pre✓ ®, let’s change that.
Other perks I generally keep my eyes open for are discounts on professional services (lawyers and HR professionals are expensive!) and materials, networking opportunities, unlimited meeting space access, and access to other locations.
A decent sign-up deal.
Signing up for any new space can be daunting, and locking yourself into a long-term contract may seem like a big commitment… because it is. With the co-working space being so crowded, you need to make sure that you’re getting a deal when you sign up, or negotiate a month-to-month plan. For example, with Staples Connect being so new, they are offering your first 2 (two!) months free when you sign up for 6 months. Heck, I’ll take a 33% discount! Instead of paying $499/mo. for the first six months, it aggregates to $332. If you factor in spending $10 on a coffee and a snack roughly 20 days out of the month, and recording 2, hour long podcasts ($60 a session individually), your costs zero out.
Reasonable monthly pricing.
To follow up on my previous point, at the end of the day, it all comes down to dollars and cents. Take a look at your budget, consider your lifestyle, assess your business needs, and assign value to some of the intangible perks that you get from calling a co-working space your business’ home. You never know, the scales may tip in the favor of working out of a spot like Staples Studio.
Do you have specific things you look for in a co-working space? Let me know in the comments.
This post is in collaboration with Staples Connect. As always, all thoughts expressed are my own.