As the workplace changes and transforms, co-working has become a very popular option whether you are a contractor, consultant or small company. The definition of co-working is sharing a community space with access to a private desk, kitchen, meeting rooms and possibly a reception area. However, companies should look at the advantages and disadvantages before deciding to commit to a location and to working with others.
Co-working spaces offer entrepreneurs opportunities to interact with others and develop professional relationships. Networking, collaboration, meeting potential clients and the chance to engage in informal market research are benefits of using a shared workplace. President of SS Industries Sam Saxton stated, “Co-working spaces are alive with entrepreneurial spirit, making them ideal sources of inspiration both in terms of motivation and creativity.”
Cost and value are also factors to consider. Often not as expensive as traditional office space, a co-working space can be a great option to create a community for you and your employees. Tracy Foster of ONA said, “In a co-working space, there’s an opportunity to develop relationships with other small business owners and learn from their experiences. We’re constantly meeting and learning from other entrepreneurs in the fashion and tech space.” Although you may be cutting business operating expenses by working from home or working virtually, if you stay within a budget, it could be worth the investment of sharing a workplace with others.
While many businesses enjoy the benefits of co-working spaces, it is not for everyone. For certain tasks and some people, silence is required to complete work. Texts, ringing telephones, conversations and streaming videos are just some of the sounds in a shared work environment that could cause distractions and reduce productivity. “For many people it can be hard to get long stretches of creative, undisturbed work done in a shared work environment, which is why the second stretch of my working day happens when I’m alone and everyone has left the building,” shared Rameet Chawla of Fueled.
Businesses should also be aware of having their protection compromised as privacy is not always guaranteed. Verbal exchanges and visible computer screens can create security issues for your company and employees. Theft is also a concern, which often includes items such as devices, purses and even food. While many spaces offer locked drawers and desks, sharing spaces have little control over who enters or remains in the space.
Co-working spaces can offer many valuable advantages, including cost savings for the right people. However, since it is not the only option, pros and cons should be weighed before making any decisions.