Coworking space vs Traditional office space: a user’s perspective
To cowork or not to cowork?
It’s no exaggeration to say that the coworking model is overtaking every other industry in terms of rapid growth rates, with some providers taking up more space in London than even the government, and the trend is equally massive globally.
The shift towards coworking offers employers and individual workers a number of advantages compared to traditional office space but it is worth considering them all before choosing which approach to take. At the end of the day it’s important to make the best decision for your company as well as your employees to ensure that wellbeing, happiness and ultimately productivity are maintained at good levels.
Depending on the size of your company and the needs of your staff, the main advantage to coworking spaces is freedom. For start-ups in particular, which have the potential to grow at a quick pace, the freedom to select a coworking space of varying size can be a godsend. There’s no point securing a permanent office and signing a contract which ties you in for three to five years or more, when your needs are likely to be very different in six months to a year. Coworking spaces can adapt around your needs enabling you to focus on important business matters rather than worrying about space limitations or costs when you and your teams have the greater task of running and growing the company to worry about.
Convenience is another feature of serviced offices. If you were to be running your own office you would be the one responsible for all facilities and housekeeping; this will include bills and utilities, consumables and stationary concerns, which will require both someone to manage and will incur additional costs which a growing company might not be able to afford. A serviced office will provide these amenities as part of the wider service and it will of course be included as part of your service charge. No need for you to worry about how quickly the engineer can fix your failing internet connection, or panic that you’re out of printing paper; the serviced office will have a team in place which will address these issues faster than you can say “coworking”. In fact, some serviced offices go above and beyond standard amenity provision and offer free hot drinks throughout the day as well as beer and even run socials such as yoga or offer wellbeing rooms with beauticians to ensure that tenants can benefit from a work-life balance throughout their day.
If cost is a factor in your business, (and let’s be honest, when is it not?) coworking can provide a great way to manage your outgoings. As mentioned already, a serviced office provides all the options you need at a fixed price. There’s no reason to take out a lease on a large office on the premise of growth when you don’t know the pace at which that is likely to happen and there’s no reason to be paying for empty offices, barely used conference rooms or reception areas when you’re not quite there yet. Coworking areas move at your pace and for a fixed, short term contract you get all your needs met at just the price you can afford.
A last advantage of coworking spaces is the element of sociability they offer. For small companies or freelancers, working from home or out of coffee shops can be very lonely and isolating. Having a permanent desk at a serviced office provides the human interaction that many people crave from a working environment. It also means being able to make connections with people in fields you might not usually cross paths with and provide the opportunity to enter into new collaborative projects.
With all that being said, are there disadvantages to serviced offices for the average user?
The first thing that springs to mind would be the buzz of people about the place. If you and your colleagues prefer quiet workspaces, or you deal with confidential matters it might be preferable to opt out of a serviced space, though many can provide you with your own isolated section or floor, where only you and your staff have access. Speaking with your coworking supplier about your needs ahead of time, and whether they can adapt the space and facilities to your needs will enable you to make a measured decision. If they have the right associates, such in house space management and [relocation provider] your requests should be simple to accommodate.
If you don’t predict that your business will grow in the coming months then it might be more affordable to opt for a long-term lease which will secure a better rental rate for the space. Traditional offices are leased on a sq. ft. basis so if you need a lot of space then it will be preferable to hire and manage your own rather than a serviced office which is only “selling” you a number of rooms; in size this could potentially be a fraction of what you need, so like for like, a coworking set up will end up costing significantly more. Coworking spaces are beneficial for companies which are in the process of growing of shrinking, but if you’re stable, a long term deal will potentially be more affordable if you factor in furnishing and utility costs and you’ll have more say in terms of layout and design. For example, if you prefer closed offices rather than open plan for your teams, you can call the shots as you wish.
Furthermore, having your own space, affords a certain level of individuality and prestige. Where a coworking environment might promote a youthful and trendy image, the nature of your business might demand a more traditional and bespoke space, with branding that makes an impact on your associates and customers which will in turn drive more business.
At the end of the day what it boils down to is what is best for you company and employees and one that complements the way you work and your overall needs. Before making any binding decisions speak to your staff and consider all viewpoints in terms of what works for them and what doesn’t and try to come to a solutions that works for most. Once you’ve decided on your next step, finding the best collaborators will be key, whether that’s sourcing a flexible relocation partner or project manager, make sure that you’re not making a decision of this size without speaking to some industry experts.
If you need help deciding on your next steps or would like an expert's opinion, get in touch with us today.