Updated February 17, 2023
Imagine joining a coworking space, signing a contract, getting to work, and finding that the space is just not a good fit for you.
It’s a terrible feeling.
Coworking can be a powerful tool to connect, collaborate and level-up your work and business, but only if you’re in the right space.
Every coworking space is different so it’s important to find the right one for you.
Some spaces have a casual, creative vibe, others are more like traditional offices, some are focused on the aesthetic of the space, and some put the focus on programming and community engagement.
Somewhere in the mix is the right space for you.
If you’re coworking, but you’re just not feeling that spark of inspiration, you need to find a new space.
Here are 22 signs that you’re in the wrong coworking space.
1. You’re not making connections
You arrive in the morning, you leave in the afternoon, and in between, you sit at a desk by yourself and work. This, my friend, is not coworking—this is desk rental. Coworking is about the people around you and the community you create.
2. You’re increasingly annoyed with the activities around you
If it’s getting increasingly challenging to tune out the guy behind you who makes sales calls all day, it’s time to move on (or at least check-in with your community manager about the problem). Some coworking spaces cater to traditional office activities such as sales calls. Others, lean toward creatives, designers, writers, programmers, etc. And some have no-phone zones. If you’re bothered by the environment, make a change.
3. You dread going into your coworking space
Coworking should be inspiring and stimulating. If you dread going, you’re probably not feeling either of these. Find a space that stokes your fire.
4. You stop going altogether
When you’d rather work anywhere except your coworking space, this is a sure sign that you’re in the wrong space.
5. It feels like office rental rather than community
One of the things that differentiates coworking from office rental is community. If you want community but you’re feeling like an isolated office worker, it’s time to check out your other options.
6. The only person who knows your name is at the front desk
If the only social interaction you have all day is walking in and out the front door, this is a sure sign that your people are waiting for you in a different space.
7. The space is empty
Unless it’s the middle of the night, or the wee hours of the morning, a coworking space should be buzzing with activity. If the space is often empty, you could, 1) try to help create a welcoming, community vibe or 2) find a space that is already full of energy and join.
8. Desk space is prioritized over connections
Coworking is less expensive than renting an office, so some people join a space to save money. This is great as coworking spaces thrive with a variety of professionals. Where things derail is when a space that is hyped as a coworking space is really just office rental in disguise. If you want that, fine. If you don’t, and you find yourself in this situation, go find a community coworking space.
9. There are no events that spark your interest
If none of the community events speak to you or spark your interest, you’re probably in the wrong space. Events should reflect the community. If you don’t see yourself in the programming, find a space that’s a better fit for you.
10. You’d rather work alone from home than in your coworking space
If you joined a coworking space to get out of the house, but you find yourself working more from home than from your space, it may be that your space is not a good fit for you.
11. You don’t care that you’re losing money by not going in
Coworking is a great value when you take advantage of it. When the money you’re paying for your coworking membership is no longer incentive to go spend time there, you might be in the wrong space.
12. It’s deathly quiet
A coworking space should have a little buzz—an air of excitement. If it feels like a dentist’s waiting room, move on … unless the waiting room vibe works for you.
13. You’re uninspired
When coworking, you should be inspired by all the amazing work happening around you. When you take a look around your space, do you see people who make you want to step up your game, do your best work, contribute to the community? No? It may be time to look for a space more aligned with your vision and goals.
14. You do more networking off-site than you do in your coworking space
When the places away from your coworking space prove to be better networking environments than your coworking space, move on. Your days should be full of conversations, connections, referrals and introductions.
15. The walk to the bathroom is the most exciting thing that happens all day
You work, heads-down, for hours. When you look up, everyone is doing the same thing. A few hours later, everything is exactly the same. If the high point of your coworking day is when you walk to the bathroom and stretch your legs, it may be time to find a space that offers a bit more connection and interaction.
16. You start wondering if you should go back to your 9 to 5
If you find yourself toying with the idea of going back to that job you hated rather than staying in your coworking space, find a different one. Coworking should be a two-hands-in-the-air celebration that you’re taking your life into your own hands, not a soul-sucking situation.
17. When you have a question, you post it online rather than ask the people around you
One of the beautiful things about coworking is the immediacy of the help and support around you. If you don’t tap into this because you either don’t know how it will be received or just don’t feel comfortable with the community, move on. Your coworking network should be something that supports and encourages you, not something you avoid.
18. Your response to the question, “How do you like coworking?” is, “Meh.”
If you’re lukewarm about coworking, find a space that’s better fit for you. Coworking has the potential to be the best thing that ever happened to your work. Make it so.
19. You start calculating how much you’re saving with the free coffee … and if it’s worth it
When the biggest perk of coworking is that you save money on coffee, you’re missing the boat and may be in the wrong space.
20. When you bump into fellow members outside of the space you pretend you don’t know each other
If you do the dodge when you bump into the people you just worked next to for several hours, you may be in the wrong space. Find a coworking space that attracts people you’d be stoked to bump into.
21. You prefer meeting people in their space rather than yours
A perk of coworking is having meetings in the space and bringing clients and colleagues into your environment. If you’d rather not have them in your space, it may be a sign that you’re in the wrong one.
22. You’re counting the weeks until your contract is up
To save a little money you signed a year contract. If you find yourself counting down the weeks until you can get out of your contract, you’re most definitely in the wrong coworking space.
Do any of these ring true for you? If so, find a new coworking space ASAP. Coworking can be an awesome, life-changing, inspiring experience. If you’re not feeling this way, move on and find a space that’s a better fit for you. Your people are waiting.
Marketing your indie coworking space just got easier.
Learn and level up with Cat and The Lab community