Most businesses in the major cities face the common problem of expensive real estate. It is very expensive for a small business to rent office spaces which provide all the required facilities.
This is the reason entrepreneurs are opting to join coworking spaces in many urban centers. These shared working spaces are suitable for freelancers, independent contractors, work at home professionals, frequent business travelers, startup companies and small businesses.
However, the suitability of such a shared working environment is different for different people. This is the reason that you need to weight the advantages and disadvantages of such an arrangement.
Analysis of Coworking Spaces
Let’s recount some benefits and disadvantages of coworking spaces.
You get the opportunity for networking
With coworking spaces, you get ready access to a vibrant community. When you compare coworking spaces with a home or private office, there is more opportunity of meeting people from different fields in a shared environment.
From this lot of interesting people, it is easy to dig out potential business partners or sources of reference. Apart from providing you with a good network of professionals, a coworking space also has a collaborative atmosphere where everyone works within his or her field of expertise.
You would expect cut throat competition in co-working spaces, but this is not usually the case.
There can be severe lack of privacy
Most of the times you will find that coworking spaces are provided with meeting and conference rooms and even rooms for confidential phone calls.
However, these must be shared with the other occupants, and they can be limited in number or even cost you a tad extra. This is the reason that if your business demands a lot of private and confidential meetings or phone calls, then coworking spaces may not be suitable for you.
Usually, coworking spaces are located at strategic locations in the city
You will find that most co-working spaces are located inside the central business areas. These spaces also have easy access to eating joints, public transportation, and shopping centers.
The facilities provided in the coworking spaces may not meet all your requirements
You should analyze your method of working before you opt for coworking spaces. If your work demands a lot of focus and concentration in a quiet environment, then a coworking space that has an open plan may not be suitable for you.
At the same time. If you or most of your colleagues are of the temperament that becomes easily distracted by conversation or random chatter then again such an open plan will not be suitable.
Shared working spaces are more affordable
One of the most distinct advantages of opting for a coworking space is its affordability. If you compare an office lease in the same area as a coworking space, then the latter turns out to be less expensive.
At the same time, you also tend to get easy access to shared office equipment like photocopying machine and scanners.
Space is not your own
One of the most pleasurable things about establishing a business is building a culture that will be all your own.
However, in a coworking space, many different businesses share the space which does not allow for a unique office culture. This can be a disadvantage for entrepreneurs who aim for building their unique office culture for their business.
Shared working spaces save you from office management and menial tasks
Coworking spaces usually provide complete service support for all needs of office management so that you can focus on your core business activities.
At the same time, you also get the opportunity to outsource the menial tasks related to an office environment like sourcing and replenishing office supplies, procuring furniture, hiring a cleaning and maintenance staff, worrying about the electricity bills or problems with the Wi-Fi.
Some shared office spaces also provide endless coffee or even beer on the tap which can be quite helpful in beating work related stress.
Economies of scale may be unsuitable if the number of employees is more
Usually, shared office spaces are suitable for businesses which employ less than ten people. If you have more than these, then it may be better to opt for a traditional office space. Sometimes, you may find better economy in renting permanent office space. Although the costs for procuring office supplies and procuring furniture, you may save on rental expenses.
Coworking spaces have high energy which is quite suitable for some people
Some people feed off the high level of energy in share working spaces. In such offices, the workers remain motivated especially when they see other people around them working hard on interesting and exciting projects.
Hence, it is possible to see a boost in productivity when you move your staff to a coworking space. In these spaces, there is a high concentration of talented people, and here you can easily find motivation and inspiration for your staff.
Lack of control on the environment
Entrepreneurs who opt for coworking spaces often find that they are unable to monitor the environment of their workspace. This is because there are a lot of distractions, and in such a situation there may be the need to establish quiet hours or quiet areas to keep the concentration and hence productivity levels high.
Coworking spaces offer flexibility to growing businesses
Usually, commercial office leases have minimum commitments of 2-3 years. This can be a problem for small and growing businesses which have a lower headcount right now but anticipate to double it in a short period.
These companies are often faced with the dilemma of renting smaller dedicated office space and then cramming in extra desks to accommodate the growing staff. If they don’t do this, then they must pay for unutilized office space for a considerable period when they rent a larger office from the beginning.
On the other hand, a shared working space gives you the flexibility to increase the number of employees and the size of your working space gradually.
All in all, different businesses thrive in various environments. It is worth considering the benefits of coworking spaces if you find that they are as per your requirements. Coworking spaces can be enjoyable and pleasant along with being affordable and convenient.