Coworking started out as a simple way to better accommodate teamwork when programming first became big. Now coworking spaces are outright competitors to traditional office spaces. Harvard Business Review suggests that those who work in a coworking space are more efficient than those who work in traditional spaces.
What is a coworking space?
A coworking space allows various businesses and entrepreneurs to work in the same space. Members often pay a monthly membership fee that varies depending on the coworking vendor, location, and the tier of membership they signed up for. In return, members enjoy not having to pay significant down payments, a number of benefits included in the membership fee, and a social community that they can build a network from.
Coworking desks often cost anywhere from $460 to $1,000 per month. Usually, tiers are divided up into hot desks (non-dedicated desks), dedicated desks, and private offices. Prices will increase as you move up tiers. With a coworking space you can expect services like 24-hour building access, internet, cleaning, IT support, administrative services, and office supplies.
There is a plethora of companies that have already leveraged coworking spaces including well known startups like Uber as well as older corporations like IBM.
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Why consider a coworking space?
Paying for the down payments, maintenance, rent, IT services, and more can make traditional office spaces seem daunting to startups and small businesses. The combination of all those costs and the long-term binding agreements that most traditional office spaces use makes coworking seem that much more attractive.
Small business owners who are already able to start out cash-rich and debt-free by using 401(k) business financing can save on those daunting set-up costs by leveraging a coworking space, especially for those in industries such as business services.
If you’re in a position where you no longer want to work out of coffee shops or your own home, but also don’t want to deal with all of the aforementioned costs, consider a coworking space. However, be sure you can take advantage of the collaborative environments coworking spaces foster. Otherwise, you’d be better suited finding a spare room in a traditional office space since it’ll likely be cheaper.
Things to keep in mind before deciding
Consider whether you really need a coworking space. For example, ask yourself if your business can still properly grow from your home or wherever you’re currently working. Does it make more sense for your business to pay for a commercial lease or mortgage as your business grows? Will you and your employees benefit from the social environment coworking spaces are known for? Or will you simply be distracted?
If you’ve decided that a coworking space is indeed the best option, you’ll now need to find the best space for your needs. Here are a few things you should keep in mind as you shop around:
- Location: Coworking spaces still aren’t as ubiquitous as traditional office spaces so you’ll need to carefully consider where the office is located, especially if it isn’t easily accessible.
- The space: Understand exactly what you’re getting with your membership. For example, most entry level memberships only guarantee an open workspace. Seats won’t be dedicated, and are given on a first-come, first-served basis.
- Amenities included: Different coworking spaces offer different amenities. While it can be highly beneficial to have a grade A pantry, we don’t recommend you make your decision based on the grade of the coffee served.
- The community: Does the community seem like they align to what you’re looking for in a community? Are there businesses you feel you can learn from and network with?
Finally, don’t get too distracted by the community and the different amenities that coworking spaces offer. It’s easy to get distracted but it’s important you keep in mind that the different amenities should only be used to help boost your efforts to grow your business.
Popular coworking spaces to consider
Coworking spaces are more common in some cities than others. San Francisco, for example, has over 40 coworking spaces. Depending on your location, you’ll likely find a coworking space that is right for your specific needs.