Over the past several years, a new type of work office space has emerged. Well, not exactly a new type of work office space– just the renaming and remodification of the concept of shared offices or “hot desking.” This new type of work office space is called a co-working office space and is being marketed to young entrepreneurs who thrive in an environment that encourages social interaction and offers the possibility of collaborations or even camaraderie. In other words, individuals who make use of co-working office spaces feel more comfortable working alongside other freelancers and start-up entrepreneurs.
Advantages of Coworking Office Spaces
Coworking office spaces are hubs of entrepreneurial and business-related activities that attract a whole range of business-oriented individuals. These work office spaces provide many benefits to small businesses and other professionals, including:
1. Networking Prospects
One of the primary advantages of coworking office spaces is that they provide an atmosphere that encourages social interaction with like-minded individuals who may be working in the same field as you, or else complement what you do or are complemented by what you do. Whether you get important feedback from those around you, network with potential clients, or gain access to new projects because fellow professionals sharing your work office space mention the work you do to a customer or another co-worker, the benefits of coworking office spaces are manifold.
2. Creativity Boosts and Learning Opportunities
For some, a dynamic surrounding of professionals discussing their projects, clients, and ideas can do wonders for their business. This exchange of information and ideas can both boost creativity among entrepreneurs and professionals as well as provide them with valuable learning opportunities. Because people sharing these work office spaces are often like-minded individuals working in similar fields, it’s possible to bounce ideas off one another and learn from one another. It can also encourage you to see things from different perspectives and come up with innovative and fresh ideas.
3. Business Expansion Opportunities
Coworking office spaces can help expand your business by exposing you to potential clients–whether they be the people you share your office space with or referrals from people you share your space with. Moreover, working alongside other professionals in similar fields can lead to collaborations on projects that could benefit both businesses. Coworking office spaces help facilitate professional networking, which in turn can lead to an increase in business opportunities.
4. Convenient and Cost-Effective
Another major advantage of a co-working office space is that they come fully equipped with the facilities you will need to run your business. Most coworking office spaces include desks, whiteboards, wi-fi, photocopiers and other office equipment that a small business or start-up does not yet have, whether because they do not yet have the funds or because they do not need them. For some businesses, even if they can afford this equipment, the value would be wasted on a single or two-person office that has a minimal need for such equipment, since it would likely remain idle for significant periods of time and depreciate long before their life cycle and usefulness would normally expire. If you are a small business that either can’t afford to purchase this equipment or don’t use it often enough to warrant such a purchase, then a coworking office space provides an affordable and cost-effective alternative.
5. Flexibility and Affordability
Yet another advantage of a co-working office space is the flexibility of use and affordability. Coworking office spaces tend to be much more affordable than other types of work office spaces. Most coworking office spaces have flexible pricing plans that depend on their use. Businesses can purchase a monthly plan that grants unlimited access to the work office space, a monthly or weekly plan with a set number of hours that the business is allowed to operate within, or even a plan that allows occasional use of the space (these often require a minimum monthly membership, just as fitness clubs do). Businesses that anticipate using the office work space more can often get a deal by forming a regular monthly commitment similar to a rental agreement.
6. Promote a Business’ Image and Credibility
Renting a co-working office space can also help boost a start-up’s professional image, since these businesses are not operating out of their home or communicating with customers via a post office box but rather have a physical place of work. Most coworking office spaces are located in busy city centres. A coworking office space can give your business a professional business address that is in close proximity to a city centre and which you can use when marketing your business, meeting with clients, or corresponding with customers. Meeting clients at a restaurant for lunch is fine, but inviting them into your co-working office space can give you some extra credibility. And a coworking office space in a busy city centre will not only make your business look and seem more professional, but will also allow more clients to access your services.
7. A Supportive Community
By far one of the greatest advantages that coworking office spaces have over traditional work office spaces is a supportive community of professionals that can help boost an individual’s self-confidence. This is because the professionals who make use of these work office spaces have other professionals around them to share in their success. This is not the case when working either from home or in a private office all alone. Starting a business can be a lonely and challenging process, but having other people nearby to support you, share your success, and cheer you on can be incredibly empowering. In fact, many people often report that they notice an increase in their income and productivity when having an office to go to as opposed to working from home.
8. Increases Productivity
Most coworking office spaces are optimized for productivity. It is much easier to be productive in spaces designed with productivity in mind–where environmental factors such as background music, natural lighting, and moderated air temperatures are all carefully considered and optimized to keep you energized, focused, and refreshed all day long–than it is when working from home. Having a place to go everyday can add some much needed structure to your week and provide you with a nice change of scenery. Being surrounded by other professionals who are hard at work building their businesses can also help motivate you to be more productive and concentrate on your business’ success. A work office space that is separate from your home life can increase productivity levels by reducing distractions. It can also help to promote better work-life balance by physically separating your place of work from your home.
9. Luxury Features
Finally, not so much an advantage as something that could factor into whether you choose to rent a coworking office space or not, many of the more modern coworking office spaces offer a “cool” factor in terms of design, layout, and amenities (such as espresso bars and lounges) that you will not find in more traditional work office spaces and which may make your work experience more enjoyable and productive. Some coworking office spaces may feature table tennis, air hockey, chess, and other lounge areas to relax and listen to music between breaks, offering stress-free places where individuals can engage in recreational activities that help them to relax and promote better work-life balance.
If you thrive in a social working environment and want to enjoy the luxuries that some of the more upscale coworking office spaces have to offer, then you should check out Telsec’s coworking office spaces and see which one best meets your business needs and work style.
Disadvantages of Coworking Office Spaces
Coworking office spaces provide many benefits for small business owners and entrepreneurs, but they may not be the best work office space solution for everyone. Depending on the type of business you operate, some of the unique features coworking office spaces boast of may actually be disadvantageous for your business. Some of the disadvantages of coworking office spaces that should be considered before choosing to rent one include:
1. Reduced Privacy
While some advocates of co-working office spaces will try to say that “value is no longer created in traditional offices,” the fact is that co-working office spaces do not offer the privacy and dedicated work office space that some businesses need. This is especially true when one considers that some Toronto co-working facilities advertise $395 per month for unlimited use during regular business hours, while a semi-private office shared with only one other person can be purchased by small businesses or entrepreneurs for the same price at an office provider like Telsec Business Centres – all of which come with 24/7 access.
2. Distracting Working Environment
A regular work office space can be a noisy environment to work in: the ringing of phones, clicking and tapping of keyboards, and employees chatting with one another can all add together to create a noisy workspace that can be distracting for employees. In a coworking office space shared by multiple companies, this noise is amplified and can end up becoming a distraction for your team that makes it difficult for them to concentrate on their work. Furthermore, there is a fine line between networking and socializing. Working in such close proximity to other businesses, there is a possibility that your team members will get distracted by conversations that are not business-related. A noisy work office space can also be disruptive during client calls and internal meetings.
3. Lack of Secure Storage Space
Another disadvantage to many co-working office spaces is the lack of storage for personal files and personal computers. A semi-private office, by contrast, allows for storage of files and personal laptops or computers, meaning you do not have to bring them home at the end of every workday. Depending on the type of business and the degree of security and confidentiality required, a co-working office space may not be the best option for some businesses since transporting private and confidential client files each day may result in lost, forgotten, or stolen property. This is especially true if you need these files to conduct day-to-day business, meet with clients, or show them to clients you are scheduled to meet with.
4. Less Secure
Even if you store client files on a computer or a cloud server, most cloud offices do not provide wired access to the internet, only wi-fi. This can create a serious disadvantage if you need secure access to your files, since the wireless internet is the first place that hackers go to access secure files on computers along with any passwords or security protocols. Moreover, if you deal with confidential information or sensitive client data, a lack of soundproofing and/or enclosed meeting spaces means that you may struggle to maintain confidentiality and privacy on phone calls and client meetings or keeping private information protected. In the event that this classified information is overheard or leaked, it may lead to hefty fines, lawsuits, or claims filed against you.
5. Adversely Impact a Business’ Professional Image
Saying that renting a co-working office space could boost your professional image, may not, in some cases, be entirely true. Inviting customers to meet you at your office only for them to find that it consists of a desk in a busy, chaotic, and sometimes messy co-working centre may cost your small business some credibility in terms of professionalism. While most modern co-working centres are open concept and are nicely proportioned, they are still basically large rooms filled with desks, tables, and other workstations. Because these are informal office arrangements, each member likely has his or her own sense of professionalism and dress code that may conflict with those of your client. Your client could therefore assume that you are less professional because you are working in a less than professional work office space.
6. Shared Amenities and Equipment
Shared office spaces mean sharing amenities and office equipment with other companies. While this is one of the reasons that coworking office spaces are cost-effective, it also means that these facilities, amenities, and/or equipment may not always be available when you need them. Instead, you will need to plan carefully and coordinate with the other coworkers using the space to ensure that these resources are shared equally between all members. This means that when an unexpected need arises, such as the need to book a meeting room at the last minute or to have access to conference rooms for urgent meetings, you may not be able to. Sharing the work office space also means that your employees or team members will have limited freedom to make the space their own.
Conclusions on Coworking Office Spaces
Now that you have read some of the advantages and disadvantages of coworking office spaces and what they offer to entrepreneurs, small businesses, and start-ups, you can make a more informed decision as to whether or not this non-traditional work office space will work for you and your business needs. While this new office option may seem trendy and one that you want to be part of, be sure to consider carefully whether this type of work office space will suit your business model and overall business needs.
Contact our friendly staff today at 416.363.9035 or toll free 1.877.705.0707 to learn more about our shared office spaces or to book a coworking office space for your business starting at $350 per month. For more information on pricing, please visit our Pricing Page.