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The Ins and Outs of Co-Working Spaces

The Ins and Outs of Co-Working Spaces 30 Oct 2018

One of the biggest office real estate trends for small to mid-sized businesses these days is co-working space. Spaces, WeWork, Regus, The Collective, Crossroads, and Blankspaces are just of few of the companies that offer co-working environments. Simply put, co-working space is a shared, plug-and-play type of work space. Start-ups, fast-growing firms, and companies that for a number of reasons don’t want to/can’t commit to a lease find co-working spaces very attractive – sometimes for the long-term and other times just on a temporary basis.

Some of the benefits of this type of space include:

  • Flexibility to expand and contract as the business changes
  • Shared amenities with the other tenants, planned events for feeling of community
  • Creative culture and environments
  • No or low start-up costs
  • No improvements have to be made – the space is immediately usable
  • Short lease terms – many are month-to-month or lesser time frames

There are, however, things to consider when it comes to choosing a co-working space location and this is where a knowledgeable broker comes into play. They aren’t the ideal choice for everyone. When I have clients come to me to asking about the co-working space choice, there are some things to take into consideration, which include:

  1. Privacy: It is important to understand how much privacy employees need as co-working spaces have more distractions and increased noise levels. Are you dealing with confidential information? Do you have a good amount of confidential meetings?
  2. Cost structures: Infrastructure is built-in at co-working spaces so there is no need to set up accounts for phone, utilities, IT, Wifi, copier, etc. The platform comes with these items and has virtually everything you need. These are fixed costs as part of fees. If a company’s length of stay is longer than one year, it may be better consider a short-term lease in a regular office environment as you are paying up for the convenience of the services.
  3. Brand Identity: Branding for a company within the co-working environment is minimal and it may be harder for people to find you. If you are looking to create an identity both internally and externally, it is harder to do in a co-working situation.
  4. Clusters: Often times many companies choose to be in a co-working environment because they want to be near other company clusters …. In other words, companies they do business with or want to do business with. They are also looking to network and potentially recruit employees. It is important to understand the culture and work practices of your corporate neighbors. If they don’t match up with what you are trying to accomplish, it may not be the right co-working space.

These are just some things that should be taken into consideration when it comes to co-working space. While these spaces are a good fit for some, it is always important to consider your business development and growth goals over the short and long-term in order to make a good decision that is in the best interest of your company, its culture, its financial considerations and its overall success and growth.

As featured in the National Association of Women Business Owners on October 30, 2018 by Sally Zesut, Vice President

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