Co Working Spaces – The perfect alternative for entrepreneurs, start ups and small businesses?
Are you looking for the next best move for your business and considering shared offices? We know this is no decision to take lightly and can be a headache, at the very least, weighing up the different options. With our experience working alongside various businesses to help them find the best solution for their working needs, we can take a load off your shoulders by sharing our insights on the pros and cons of co working.
What’s next for your business?
Working from home can seem like a great idea at first, with plenty of flexibility and free time to manage your day however works best for you. However, the distractions of being at home and having more freedom with your day may also take a toll on your productivity and motivation levels. Are you are struggling to find the balance between your home and work life? Lines can easily become blurred and before you know it, your life at home revolves around work making you feel isolated and cut off from the rest of the world.
Shared office spaces have come a long way since Brad Neuberg coined the term ‘co working’ over a decade ago. It is no secret that co working spaces are rapidly challenging the traditional office settings for start-ups and small businesses. Dthree recently worked closely with Venture X, a global shared workspace franchise, to design and build their latest co working space in Chiswick Park, providing individuals and businesses with flexible, engaging spaces to thrive in.
The idea of businesses sharing an open office space in a like-minded community setting has redefined the way we work. Co working spaces seem to be the perfect alternative for entrepreneurs, start-ups and small businesses who have out grown their homes and want to work in a space where their team can be together to generate and share new ideas. But whilst also avoiding the costly overheads and long lease terms of moving into your own office space. This is certainly a low-cost way to start or grow a business in a thriving environment.
However, the pros of co working isn’t just about real estate rental benefits, there are many other benefits linked with moving into shared office spaces.
Your network is your net worth:
Working in a community of like-minded individuals seeking to disrupt and make a difference in their industries means your chances of building a strong network increases multi fold. It is a great opportunity for knowledge sharing and meeting influential people who will inspire you. Not only will you be given plenty of opportunities to network, socialise and even learn from others with valuable skillsets but there is also nothing more motivational than being surrounded by hungry CEO’s and Executives all looking to break their industry moulds. Even better, you may find new clients or partners right under your noses!
Flexibility leads to stability:
Not only do co working spaces avoid unexpected costs of upfront fees or deposits, they also enable you to swerve those long lease requirements attached to having your own space. Both of which present valuable solutions for flexibility and keep your costs down! After all, cash flow is king. For as little time as a month, many co working spaces allow you to secure your new workspace, with some schemes even offering day rates.
The flexibility doesn’t end there though. Many shared offices also offer various membership options with different benefits to suit your individual working needs, such as private offices, shared desks, dedicated desks, event spaces and meeting rooms – there is usually something to suit every business.
The secret of success is hidden in your daily structure:
For those who have no sort of permanent work life structure, it is easy to get distracted and lose that healthy work-life balance we all want. It is because of this that working from home can make you miss the daily structure and dynamics an office brings. Somewhere to check in and out of at the end of a day, so you can go home and have some down time. Working from home means you are also limited on having a choice of areas for different working tasks, meaning motivation can easily slip. With co working spaces you have access to a variety of spaces that have been specifically designed for high focus work, group work, company collaboration, and community open plan working, keeping those work standards high.
When moving to a new office you want to get set up and going immediately. Nobody enjoys setting up the desks, printer, scanner or even the coffee maker. With co working spaces, you don’t have to. This is all taken care of for you. Some environments even handle mail packages, electricity and internet bills on behalf of their residents, meaning your work life is ready to go when you are. Co working spaces also include a range of amenities and facilities, some likened to hotel hospitality which vary from unlimited tea and coffee, on site cafes, food courts and cleaning services – giving you even more time to worry about the important things.
Everything has its pros and cons:
However, as with all things, co working spaces also have their disadvantages, and having worked closely with various types of working solutions here are a few that you need to consider before making your next move:
Lack of customisation:
For any business, start-up or not, your brand is key in reinforcing your values and purpose. Your workspace is actually the silent ambassador of your brand. It is the perfect opportunity to reinforce your values, vision and voice, letting anyone who enters the space, whether its clients of employees get an immediate feel for who the company behind the brand is. In co working spaces customisation is extremely limited, meaning there is no opportunity for making the space your own and reflecting who you are.
This also applies to your culture. By sharing a workspace with other businesses, it is easy to rely on them for a sense of culture, or even mirror the community culture rather than creating and reinforcing your own. Your company culture, like your brand, reflects your values and purpose and should be unique to your business, working as a constant reminder to your people of why they love where they work.
Privacy: a thing of the past?
For a lot of people and businesses this can be a deal breaker. Going from a home environment where privacy is unlimited, to a co working space where privacy is hard to achieve, can be too much change for many to take on. After all, co working spaces are designed to be shared. If you have confidential calls to make, or sensitive work to do last minute, you may struggle to do this privately without pre booking the necessary areas. As mentioned, although co working spaces can enhance inspiration and provide increased focus, the lack of private spaces can also mean they are full of distractions. Depending on the different working requirements and needs of your team, co working may present even more challenges for focus and productivity levels.
As with customisation of the space, one of the main benefits to having your own workspace is that you can ensure it meets all your working needs. Every business and their employees have their own unique ways of working, whether it’s access to more quiet zones for sensitive work, or breaking the norms with plenty of open plan areas for everyone to collaborate together. Having your own space to assess and create the areas you need to enhance your performance is a big bonus.
Co working spaces are as they are, meaning you will have to make do with the infrastructure chosen for you to get your work done. Of course, this is still a big step up from working at home, but is one of the main reasons growing businesses eventually make the move from shared offices to having their own space, despite taking on the longer lease and extra cost requirements.
We hope this has helped you with making your decision based on what is the best move for your business, but if you do need any more information or advice, comment below or give us a call, we are here to help!