Coworking has become a global trend in today’s business world. From New York to Seattle, Paris to Prague, Singapore to Shanghai, new coworking spaces are opening on a regular basis. Small businesses, young entrepreneurs, tech startups, distance workers and freelancers often prefer coworking to traditional offices. Coworking obviously has many benefits and advantages, but it's not always a perfect solution. When comparing the two, make sure you consider all of the circumstances.
Coworking can be one of the best possible solutions for many of the issues and challenges of the modern workplace. It's increasingly popular for many reasons.
One of the most important features of coworking is its relatively lower price as compared to normal offices. Coworking space providers get good deals from property owners and re-design the building to accommodate its members. WeWork for example, offers below average price in most of the cities where it is present. Flexibility in membership is also essential: you can pay for different desk option like hot desk, designated desk or even private office, depending on how much freedom you need. Flexibility also exists in the time span of your membership: maybe you want to work for a few months and move to another space, in that case paying for a monthly pass is ideal for you. Some companies want to be more stable so they can opt for annual membership option. Nowadays there are even some coworking spaces offering daily passes. Almost any company can find a plan that is fitting to its needs!
If you're a member of a startup or team, it's likely that your group's size will fluctuate. Having to constantly reorganize a traditional office to fit new members is a real hassle especially if your business is growing. In coworking spaces this is not a problem; private offices, which are offered by many spaces, are designed with customization in mind. Whether you are a team of 20 or 100, coworking space providers can make reasonable design for your team so you can work just as efficiently as usual.
When moving to a new office, most people want to get to work immediately, without worrying about moving furniture or setting up a printer. Coworking spaces takes care of all of those tasks for you, plus plenty of others—most coworking spaces today also offer snacks and mail services. They also take care of administrative tasks like paying for internet and ordering office supplies. You can get to work without any hassle.
When motivated people sit under the same roof, they form an environment of hard work and creativity. At coworking spaces, people typically work long hours and bounce ideas off of each other or simply chat as a way to unwind. Working alongside fellow startups, entrepreneurs and freelancers is a dream come true if you need advice. There is likely someone around who can answer even the most specific questions you might have.
You are not alone when working at a coworking space, and this sense of community exists to help the members grow together. Plenty of space providers offer access to panel discussions, guest speakers and industry experts to share insights and help the members at the space to learn and progress. Some coworking spaces even offer consultation and advising sessions. Apart from that, events are also a highlight for coworking. Weekly happy hours, lunches and networking nights are a great way to join the business community in your area.
Although coworking is quickly taking off, it is not always perfect for everyone. Before moving into a new coworking space, consider these factors.
A high level of privacy can be hard to achieve at coworking spaces. You are, after all, in a shared space. For example, some coworking spaces use glass dividers instead of normal walls, while some others focus mainly on collaborative layouts without many private areas. You might have to deal with others overhearing your phone calls or sitting in a place where you might easily get distracted.
Networking events and fun activities are great for many coworkers, but some people in the space might find them really distracting, especially when their work demands a high level of concentration. Unless you have a private office membership level, you are most likely to be affected to some degree when such events take place. Think twice if your work requires focus—maybe a private office is a better solution for you.
At some coworking spaces, especially ones located in a popular area of a city, it can get very crowded during certain days or hours. When you opt for a hot desk option, or one where you do not have a designated desk, you may have to wait for someone else to leave in order to find an open desk. It's not very productive to have to work out of a bean bag chair or at a kitchen table if you expected a desk.
There is no one answer, but if you're a freelancer, a remote worker or are running a startup, coworking presents more benefits than drawbacks, especially if you spring for an option that allows you a private space. On the other hand, if the nature of your business involves sensitive information or a certain level of secrecy, then evaluate the privacy factor before you sign up for a coworking space.
The best way to tell is to visit the space, which is easy given that many spaces offer free trials to test out how well they would work for you. As the business world starts to adopt coworking, you can do the same thing.