You may have heard of a growing trend known as shared workspaces, also called co-working.
If you haven’t, let me give you the basics. Imagine this:
You enter a huge, huge office with desks everywhere, couches, meeting rooms, and comfy places to work. There you see people with jeans and tees, others wearing suits, and some others sipping on their coffees with what looks like very cozy clothing. You can even see someone petting their dog next to her desk.
Now, this is not Google’s offices. Nor a tech or startup’s office, for that matter. This is were many many different entrepreneurs go to work. That’s right, this vast place is the office for many different business people that don’t work with each other.
Coworking is an exciting new global movement with the potential to change many industries.
In this article, we will introduce you to co-working or “shared workspaces.” We will also introduce you to some of the many styles of shared workspaces and what kinds of companies use them. Finally, we will go over the benefits and drawbacks of coworking spaces.
What Is Co-Working?
At its core, co-working is simply a group of entrepreneurs who work on their own businesses and projects as usual. But they use a common space because they share professional and communal values. This shared workspace can also help them cut some rent costs.
Coworking involves sharing infrastructure and operations costs between businesses. However, shared workspaces are also about finding a niche in a sustainable business community.
It is a new way of sharing work areas. It enables collaborating to create a productive atmosphere that fits every occupant. Co-working allows entrepreneurs to share burdens and help each other reach their goals.
The flexibility offered by shared workspaces contrasts with more traditional office settings that are usually limited by standard corporate rules.
A Bit More About Shared Workspaces
Coworking spaces have become a global phenomenon that seems poised to continue for the foreseeable future.
Millions of coworking entrepreneurs and tens of thousands of shared workspaces exist. These have set a firm foundation for coworking’s future growth.
Coworking has grown in popularity as it has become a better-known option. It offers many benefits for those seeking a healthy work-life balance. It also helps combine benefits from real estate, community, and the latest technology.
Coworking, as a term, had its genesis in the early 2000s.
Brad Neuberg, an entrepreneur, created the first shared workspace in San Francisco. Known as the San Francisco Coworking Space, it was initially only open for two days each week.
Since then, coworking has spread around the world. New co-working offices all around are being opened for business to help entrepreneurs work and thrive.
Who Can Benefit from Co-Working Spaces?
Freelancers, small businesses, startups, insurance agents, and more can all find advantages in this type of office. But renting coworking spaces is not for everyone. However, plenty of entrepreneurs can find them highly beneficial.
Coworking lets businesses operate with much lower setup and day-to-day costs. Why? Because the shared infrastructure helps companies share the burdens of operation. It also helps businesses by giving them the freedom to scale up or down in size.
Shared workspaces also often have in-house business experts or consultants and financing options.
Coworking is also great for certain types of established businesses. Coworking reduces overhead costs by eliminating long leases and sharing necessary business resources. These include meeting and conference rooms, kitchens, utilities, internet, and more.
You can often find coworking spaces in high-profile, high-traffic areas, like central business districts. Some offer easy access to public transportation, parking spaces, food, shopping, and other amenities.
Put together; these locations would often be far outside the average business’s price range.
Freelancers are also embracing shared workspaces. This is because of their flexibility and added freedom of mobility. Freelancers also use shared workspaces to gain the benefits of a professional office space.
Coworking can be incredibly productive for those who struggle to work alone. Coworking spaces often offer events for members. That means freelancers have plenty of chances to network and get to know potential business partners.
Even larger companies are beginning to try coworking. That is because shared spaces benefit their employee morale and productivity. It also puts them in touch with a network of talent and outside resources that are right next door.
Types of Co-Working Spaces
Co-working is not only for business people and freelancers. If you research enough, you’ll find that there is a wide variety of shared workspaces that can fit the needs of any type of professional:
- Maker spaces are for those creating and tweaking prototypes.
- Hackerspaces are focused on computing and technology.
- Design studios exist for creatives, artists, writers, and interior and graphic designers.
- Even specialized artist, photography, legal, and film coworking studios exist.
- There are also co-working spaces geared toward supporting female and minority entrepreneurs.
These terms identify what kind of coworking spaces are being offered. They help businesses know if the workspace has what they need.
The only limitation of shared workspaces is the creativity of entrepreneurs.
Co-working spaces can offer more flexible layouts than traditional office spaces. They can be repurposed industrial buildings or private offices with shared amenities. They also can be found in hallways, historical buildings, and many other locations.
This lets businesses place themselves near the best restaurants or local attractions.
Some of these spaces even offer basic travel amenities. They offer a place to sleep and wash up for entrepreneurs who do a lot of traveling between sites.
The Pros and Cons of Co-Working
While there are potential benefits to having a shared workspace, they are not for everyone. Each business owner has to decide whether a shared space would better serve them.
Knowing the basic pros and cons can make it easier to figure out if it is the right choice for you.
- Usually much less expensive than renting your own space.
- They are often packed with amenities. They have kitchens, offices, conference rooms, and other office features.
- They give you access to business events, valuable seminars, and networking opportunities.
- They offer business resources. You get other business owners and entrepreneurs in your shared space. You also get complimentary services in many shared workspaces. You can gain a lot from these resources.
- Not everyone has access to them. Since shared workspaces are a new concept, they are not always easy to find nearby. Major metropolitan areas are the most likely locations.
- Limited control over space features. Usually, you have no choice in what features or amenities are offered in particular spaces.
- They only offer a certain amount of room to grow. Eventually, if your business grows beyond yourself and a handful of people, you will likely need your own dedicated office space.
Share the Space and Work Like a Pro
Co-working spaces have a lot of potential advantages for many different business people.
Every co-working space is unique. That means there are options for practically everyone out there somewhere. These shared workspaces help entrepreneurs cut costs and set aside dedicated space for their craft. It also gives continual opportunities to network and helps each other achieve goals.
If your business venture is at a crossroads, consider giving co-working a serious look. It might just revolutionize the way you do business.
If you’d like more incredible management ideas and smart tips to grow your business, we invite you to sign up for Camino Financial’s newsletter.
Our team’s motto is “No business left behind.” That’s why we have made it our mission to equip entrepreneurs with the best resources, tools, and information available in the modern market. We do this all to help you realize your goals.
If you are a small business owner or a budding entrepreneur, you are more than welcome to become a part of the Camino Financial family today!