Thinking of branching out into the world of shared office spaces? Coworking spaces come with quite a few benefits, but they may not be a perfect match for every business. From cost to business culture, here are some coworking space considerations to keep in mind as you decide if bumping elbows with other businesses is right for your workforce.
Privacy and Security
The type of business you have plays a large role in whether or not you’ll want to share your office space. For instance, has your business gone paperless? If you need frequent access to printed documents, coworking might not offer the space you need to store all of it.
Security is another detail to consider. Will your employees feel safe working late hours? Does the coworking space have staff on the premises to enforce security? Make sure to ask about the space’s security features.
Also consider people who interact with your business. If you have frequent, private meetings with clients, then a coworking space may not offer the privacy you need. Most coworking spaces do have conference rooms, but they often require that you reserve them in advance, which doesn’t work well for potential walk-ins. If you need a lot of quiet time for private phone conversations, think about opting for an office that doesn’t get as hectic as open coworking spaces can.
Business Size and Location
Businesses that operate with a small team of employees may find managing coworking space considerations fairly easy. The larger your staff, though, the more people who need to be in close proximity — and the more likely that a commercial lease will be able to support your workforce.
You’ll also want to review the location of the office space itself. If getting there requires a long commute for most of your employees, it might not be the right choice. If you have remote workers in different locations, providing coworking spaces for them wherever they are is a way to signal that you are committed to their success.
You know your business better than anyone else — which means you understand how your people work. Some spaces are hot desk, where desks change from day to day and are claimed on a first-come, first-served basis. Other spaces allow you to rent cubicles or private spaces for a week or a month. Which fits better with your business’s culture?
Some employees may be disappointed that they can’t personalize a coworking space as much as a conventional office desk or cubicle, but others may see the benefit in the networking opportunities the hustle and bustle a shared space offers. A coworking space is a great chance to meet new people, including potential vendors and clients.
It can also give remote employees a greater feeling of professionalism. They may feel more “official” when they have an office to go to every day. And taking meetings in a conference room rather than a coffee shop or deli could look better to your clients.
Cost and Setup Time
If you have a remote workforce that’s spread across a wide geographic area, then arranging a coworking space for each person individually might significantly increase your business costs. But if you’re deciding between renting office space and renting coworking space, then what matters is what you can get from each option. Coworking spaces tend to come with a lot of amenities that commercial leases don’t include. Furniture, copiers, Wi-Fi, internet, utilities, conference rooms and break rooms are all generally wrapped into a coworking lease, which can lower costs when factored into the total price.
Coworking is also a great choice when you’re in a rush to find a space. Since everything’s already set up, you can essentially just move in and get started immediately. You don’t need to spend time setting up utilities and buying furniture. If you realize over time that it’s not a good fit, you can always treat the coworking space as a temporary office while you set up a leased space somewhere else.
Check out the coworking spaces’ rules and hours before you make a commitment. Some spaces are only open during regular business hours, while others are open 24/7. Business that work all hours of the night may find a coworking space restricting. On the other hand, if all your employees are remote, then renting a coworking space might be a good way to get everyone on the same schedule.
A shared office space is meant to simplify aspects of leasing an office, but the decision to actually move into that space is anything but simple. Do your research and compare all of your options — the right space can quite literally open doors for your business.
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