A shared workspace is becoming increasingly popular, especially among millennials, mostly because the younger generation thrives on interaction, brainstorming, and creative discourse in general. Savings are yet another important aspect of a coworking space.
However, all the positive features of a shared workplace are not enough if you chose the wrong space for your business or sign a lease that puts you at a disadvantage. To easily decide if you should move your business to a coworking space or not, you might want to learn more about coworking and its pitfalls first.
What is a co-working space and is it good for your business?
Moving from a traditional workspace to coworking may be a challenge, but a growing number of companies prove that the change is worth the effort. Coworking spaces are more than shared offices and conference rooms. Following a membership model, such spaces offer their tenants reduced rent, various services like fast Internet and cleaning, 24/7 access to the building, front desk services, office supplies, and most importantly, an opportunity to share and cooperate with others. Coworking brings
- Improved collaboration
- Fewer responsibilities
- Lower bills
Benefit from networking
If you wish to improve workplace communication, look no further. As the younger population is focusing on the social aspect of doing business, the popularity of a shared workplace has grown to rival the traditional workspace. Building a network with other professionals is especially important for startups and freelancers, as well as small companies, and coworking allows that.
Avoid office management
Office management can be quite demanding for a young entrepreneur. In a coworking space, someone else will take care of the administrative work, cleaning, Internet, amenities, office supplies, and equipment. If you are looking for a workspace that removes the everyday responsibilities from your plate, then coworking is for you.
Note that it may take some time and effort to change any unwelcome working conditions in a coworking space. This is why you should ask yourself well in advance if a shared workspace is the right option for your business, as well as a few other questions.
Pay lower rent and bills
Bills and rent are often the biggest limiting factor, particularly for emerging businesses. A coworking space offers reduced expenses, although the fee you will pay monthly depends on your membership tier. The higher the tier, the more services are included in coworking membership, leading to a higher fee. If savings are your topmost priority, make sure to have your office relocation handled by someone you can rely on, otherwise, you risk even greater expenses.
Questions you should answer before you move your business to a co-working space
There are no two businesses alike. It is quite possible that one small business will thrive in a coworking space and another will not. Whether a shared workplace is a good option for your business and employees depends on how you answer these questions. Namely, you should consider if:
- your employees will lose focus in a workplace shared with others
- terms and conditions of your lease are subject to change
- your allocated space corresponds to your planned growth rate
- your business can benefit from a hectic coworking atmosphere
Exploring possible pitfalls of coworking space in advance will save you time and effort of learning from your mistakes later on.
Distraction as a possible disadvantage of co-working
A coworking space may seem like a step between working from home and renting traditional office space. A difference, however, is in its strong social aspect. To benefit from collaboration with other businesses, startups, and freelance professionals, you need to survey an existing coworking community. Only then you can decide if you can cooperate, learn from, and network with ease.
Knowing your colleagues well makes all the difference. If you believe that your coworkers or employees perform better in a traditional office space, you can increase employee engagement with technology and avoid coworking and collaboration with others altogether.
Is lower rent worth your workers’ comfort?
Sometimes, even various, high-quality amenities are not enough to keep workers happy if working conditions are not satisfying. Coworking arrangements depend on your membership tier, and thus the amount of comfort your colleagues or employees will have. If you have signed up for the lowest tier, your workers will have to compete with others for the most favorable seats, for example.
More often than not, seats or desks at this lowest tier are not reserved but provided on a first-come-first-served basis. If your workers are not impressed with this constant daily strife, they may choose to leave, which puts you under pressure to upgrade your membership even if you’re not ready for it.
Your workspace should fit your ambitions
Planning your business’ growth rate can be a demanding task for startup owners. However, numerous decisions rest on that evaluation, including the type of your workspace. Your projections should involve a scenario of rapid growth which is immediately going to reflect on your working space. In case you need to expand due to sudden success, coworking is unlikely to provide sufficient room for your fast-growing business. On the other hand, the location of your coworking space may have a detrimental impact on your business operations. Carefully consider if you will truly benefit from lower rental costs in the long-term.
Getting the best of coworking implies getting familiar with the arrangements and leasing terms, and especially making a realistic assessment and growth projection. Monthly membership plans of coworking space allow entrepreneurs to better allocate their resources, especially if they are startup owners. Year-long rentals for traditional office spaces should wait until your business gets on steady feet.
Anna Hoffman is a recent business and management graduate, passionate about research in the field. She’s currently a contributor to the Hansen Bros. Moving & Storage Seattle team and various other media outlets.