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A coworking space is a great option for work at home moms.   It’s nice to have a separate space where you can have a clear head, meet some people, etc.  It can often be easier to focus as there aren’t the distractions.

If you haven’t seen my photos or posts on my coworking space experience thus far, follow me on Facebook at Second Act Moms.  As some of you know, I only work part-time.  So I wasn’t sure if a coworking space would make sense for me.  But I have a free trial – and I decided to try it out.  (Note:  while these spaces do have dedicated offices, I’m only looking at the open, coworking spaces as I would only be going a couple of times a week for a couple of hours.)  I’ve learned a couple of things along the way….so I thought I’d give you my tips.

1) Dedicated Bag

If you’re thinking of using a coworking space on a long-term basis, I recommend getting a bag and keeping all of your supplies in it.  I was taking cords, earphones and notebooks in and out.  But I forgot to put back my notebook – not a big deal but I realized it would be easy to forget charging cords, or pens, or paper each time.  If I was going to be going to a coworking space regularly, I would make sure that I had duplicate cords, notebooks, etc. that I had packed in my bag at all times.  Just add my laptop and water – and I’d be ready to go.

2) Parking

I live near an urban, downtown area that has many coworking spaces.  While I’ve never “worked” at these buildings, I have gone to some local meetings as a couple of them.  The biggest issue I found was that there was no parking.  I either would have to park on the street with parking meters with 2 hour limits.  So I would need to go out all the time to feed the meter.  Or I would have to park in an underground parking garage which would cost between $8-$10.  So you would need to factor cost into the your monthly rate for coworking.  I found a coworking space that is a little difference location (not downtown) and they have free parking!  And there’s a grocery store, pharmacy, and other little shops in the plaza.  It really fits my needs.  And it should be a question you ask if you’re looking at any coworking space.

3) Headphones

In the location I’m checking out, the coworking space has 12 desks.  Each desk is a sit/stand desk (which is cool) with a opaque glass divider – so you’re not looking directly at the person on the other side.  However, there is a person on at least one side.  One day when I was working there, a person was working behind me.  While they were not “noisy” per se, the typing on their computer was a little distracting.  So I have found that headphones are a must.  I don’t always have music or a podcast playing, but it is nice to have the option.

Also, since this is an open area right near the reception area, there are noises when people come into the space.  The headphones were helpful to block out the ambient noise and allow me to focus.

4) Phone Room

Depending on your business, you may or may not have to make some phone calls.  I have seen some coworking spaces where people talk on their phone in the common area.  I don’t particularly like that.  I prefer to have a space with a “phone booth” or “phone room” of some kind.  The coworking space that I’m at does have one phone room.  I haven’t had any issues of using it.  It’s convenient, tucked away and private.  There’s a chair and table – in case you need to bring your computer for the call.  Some people may be OK with having other people talk on phones around you – but for me I don’t want that much “hubbub” when I’m working.

5) Meeting Space

Most coworking places have conference rooms for the people who rent dedicated offices.  But often they allow the coworking renters to use them as well.  While I haven’t had the need to use one yet, I like the idea.  I was thinking that the next time I do a webinar, I could use one of  the rooms – and use their large white board and large space.  Also, if I ever wanted to have a local meeting or workshop, a conference room space would be perfect.  I would make sure that any coworking space that you look at has the option of using/renting the conference rooms.

Those are my tips for working in a coworking space…so far.  I still have time on my free trial and may try a full month – as my location allows month to month for the coworking space.  Make sure to follow me at Second Act Moms to see my whole journey.

Have you ever tried a coworking space?  Do you have any additional tips?  I’d love to hear!