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Game Changer or Distraction? Uncovering the Truth About Coworking

You may have noticed that the vast majority of startups operate exclusively online. Office space in New York and San Francisco can average $5-6 per square foot to rent. Other big cities aren’t much better, especially for a company with 10 or more employees.

Many businesses, old and new, are transitioning to coworking experience. What is coworking, you ask? It’s sort of a way that allows owners to have their cake and eat it, too. Sharing spaces with like-minded individuals, companies, and cultures.

Co-working isn’t a perfect solution, but it’s arguably the best alternative to taking on big rental fees. If you’re curious as to how this strategy works, and where it comes up short, keep reading. We’ll break down the biggest pros and cons of coworking office spaces.

Co-working Pros

These pros apply to big businesses, small businesses, and entrepreneurs alike.

Available Resources

The biggest draw to coworking as a new business is access to office supplies and resources. Working from home is great, but you’re probably not going to afford the same amenities. Things like a proper office chair, adjustable-height desks, and lighting make a difference.

Other helpful office perks include free coffee, printing, fax, vending machines, and proper WiFi all help. You don’t realize how important these basic office perks are until you try to work somewhere else.

Startup Costs

Let’s get down to the brass tacks, shall we? Most startups don’t get to start off with a cushion of venture capital. Angel investors take time to find and convince.

Business startup costs begin to add up from day one. There are no security deposits to pay, inspections to pass, and infrastructure woes. Being able to bypass all the scheduling issues and unexpected delays are huge.

Short-term Leases

Another big reason why businesses are jumping ship and moving into coworking spaces is the short-term investment. You can’t always predict how fast your business will grow or where it will take you. Being locked into a multi-year lease can stifle growth.

Some coworking spaces offer monthly, 3-month leases, 6-month, annual, or all of the above. This allows you to weigh your options on savings and permanent office space.

Expansion

Co-working spaces can vary in both size and scope. There are entire floor vacancies for large businesses, as well as cafe-style spaces. You are not limited by contracts or scaling of supplies.

The fact that you’re just renting out floor spaces keeps your overhead costs minimal. The cost to use office equipment and supplies are often cheap or nonexistent. 

Networking

The hardest pro of coworking to quantify is the opportunity to network. Taking your business outside the home isn’t just about the numbers. Meeting other successful and powerful people is priceless.

In fact, we would go as far to say that if you want to be successful, you need to co-work. Start with a location that attracts high-value companies, like this great company

Cons of Co-working

Of course, there are some reasons you may not like a coworking office. This will vary based on location, needs, and type of business.

Layouts

Not all co-working locations will have an ideal desk layout. Some are very minimalist, corporate, or too casual. This is something to consider when it comes to cost per square footage. 

The upfront cost of coworking is cheap, but the savings depends on how big of a space you need. If your business doesn’t need large conference rooms, for example, go open-space. Open working spaces offer more room for more employees.

Limited on Locations

Coworking spaces a plentiful in major metropolitan areas, but you could be limited otherwise. If you don’t want to work in the downtown business centers, you may find coworking inadequate. Some coworking office spaces are cramped like a call center or coffee shop.

You may have to sacrifice convenience for coworking savings.

Brand Incompatibility

Co-working may not mesh well for some businesses. From the outside, it may seem like your business isn’t completely legit. This isn’t a fair observation to make on its own, but it’s still made nonetheless.

It may also come off as too casual for some businesses. It’s hard to deny the college-vibe of some coworking locations. This could work for you or against your company culture branding.

Privacy & Focus Issues

Co-working is often advertised with benefits of being open and free. Some spaces offer premium, closed-room options, but you lose out on the networking. Open work environments can be very advantageous–or, they can sabotage workflow. 

If you’re concerned about employee performance, a co-working space may not fit. There may also be an issue with privacy and security of devices. Anyone can sign-up to work in a co-working office.

You could be sitting next to a competitor and not even realize it. Would-be thieves may also prey on workspaces like these. The threat of theft or being hacked will come down to your own security practices.

What is Coworking to Your Business?

After reading these pros and cons, you should understand what is coworking offering businesses. Depending on your businesses’ needs, the number of employees, and company culture, co-working may or may not be for you. After considering the costs, survey what is out there. 

The best part, of course, is the lack of long-term investment. If you don’t like it, you can look for something more tailored to your business. Don’t rush into anything without reading reviews and terms of condition.

If you need more help with planning your next business venture, take a look at AtYourBusiness.com’s planning. You can find plenty of links to resources and forms for business planning. We highly recommend downloading the legal forms and employer documentation for future reference.

Push for growth, no matter how many employees you have right now. Co-working’s temporary nature is the future of business development.