22 signs you’re in the wrong coworking space

Imagine joining a coworking space, signing a contract, getting to work, and finding that the space is just not a good fit for you. Coworking can be a powerful way to boost your freelance career, but only if you’re in the right space.

Every coworking space is different and it’s important to find the right one for you. Some spaces have a casual, creative vibe and others are more like traditional offices. 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 with People
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 you start having fantasies of strangling the guy making sales calls behind you hours on end, it might be time to move on. Some coworking spaces cater to traditional office activities such as sales calls. Others, lean toward creatives, designers, writers, coders, etc. If you’re increasingly bothered by the environment, make a change.

3. You Dread Going to 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 sit at a coffeeshop than be in your coworking space, this is a sure sign that you’re in the wrong space.

5. It Feels Like an Office Rental Rather Than a Community
What separates coworking from office rental is the community. If you want community but you’re feeling like an isolated cubicle worker, 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 might not be the only one not feeling it, in which case you could, 1: try to create a welcoming, community vibe or 2: find a space that is already full of energy and jump in.

8. Desk Space is Prioritized Over Connections
Coworking can be less expensive than renting an office, so there are office workers looking to save money in coworking spaces. 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 an office rental space in disguise. If you want that, great. If you don’t, and you find yourself in this situation, do something different.

9. There Are No Community 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 there, you need to find a space that’s a better fit for you.

10. You’d Rather Work Alone at Home Than at 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 particular space is not a good fit for you.

11. You Don’t Care That You’re Losing Money by Not Going In
Coworking can be 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.

Coworking space operators: Each week I send out free content tips and articles about coworking and community. To join the community, subscribe here.

12. It’s Deathly Quiet
A coworking space should have a little buzz — and 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, 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 creativity.

14. You Make More Connections at the Coffee Shop Than at Your Coworking Space
When the neighborhood coffee shop proves to be a better networking environment than your coworking space, move on. Your days should be full of conversations, connections, referrals and introductions. Coworking is the ultimate networking machine.

15. The Walk to the Bathroom is the Most Exciting Thing that Happens All Day
You work, head down, for hours. When you look up, everyone is doing the same thing. A few hours later, everything is exactly the same. If the highpoint 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 Job
Coworking has the power to seal the deal that you’ll never go back to a traditional job. If you find yourself toying with the idea of going back to that job you hated rather than staying in this coworking environment, immediately find a different space. Coworking can be a two-hands-in-the-air celebration that you’re taking your life into your own hands, not a soul-sucking situation that has you wondering whether to go back to higher-paying soul-sucking work.

17. When You Have a Question, You Post It To Social Media Rather Than Ask Those 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. The coworking space 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 find yourself being lukewarm about coworking, find a better fit for you. Coworking has the potential to be the best thing that ever happened to your career. Make it so.

19. You Start Calculating Just 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 need to find a space that’s a better fit.

20. When You Bump Into Your Fellow Coworkers Outside of the Space and Pretend You Don’t Know Each Other
If you do the classic 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 In Yours
Another perk of coworking is that you can set up meetings there and bring 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 with your space. If you find yourself counting down the weeks until you can get out of your contract, you’re most definitely in the wrong space.

Does any of this 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!

Coworking space operators: Each week I send out free content marketing tips and articles about coworking and community. To join the community, subscribe here.


Cat Johnson is the author of Coworking Out Loud, an ebook guide to content marketing for coworking space operators. Get it on Amazon. She has a coworking blog at catjohnson.co

This post originally appeared on catjohnson.co. Top photo: Christiano Betta (CC-BY-20)