Is a coworking space right for your startup?
Teamwork makes the dream work
We work with lots of businesses based in a coworking space, so we’re used to popping in and out of communal offices. Personally, we love the community spirit and energy that comes from several businesses working together in close proximity.
However, for young startups, taking the plunge into a coworking space can be a scary move, especially when you’ve previously been working from your kitchen table. On the other hand, some businesses like their own space, and are put off by the thought of sharing an office with strangers.
If your startup is currently weighing up the pros and cons of moving into a coworking space, here are five things we think you ought to consider…
Probably the biggest draw of coworking spaces for many startups is the comparatively lower cost of rent.
At most coworking spaces, members simply pay rent for their desk, and the space around it. All other bills – such as internet and electricity – are included. Many coworking spaces also include the use of a kitchen, meeting rooms, and break out areas, so it’s not like you’re just paying for a desk. The contracts are usually reasonable, too, so you’re not tied down for the next twelve years or anything like that.
Of course, not all coworking spaces charge the same amount of rent. As coworking becomes more desirable, trendier spaces may raise their prices. Be sure to compare several in your area, as well as the cost of renting standard office space.
As your team grows, you may find it more cost effective to rent your own space, rather than renting individual desks. Keep an eye on this to be sure that coworking remains the right option for your business.
A sense of community
While it may be convenient, working from home can get a bit lonely. Especially when you’re a new startup – you need all the help you can get.
Joining a coworking space is a great way to experience the ‘buzz’ of a busy team, even if there’s just one or two of you. It’s also a great way to network to like-minded entrepreneurs. Get chatting to your neighbours, and you may well find that they can provide a service you need, teach you a new skill, or simply bounce ideas off each other.
Perhaps one of the biggest downfalls about coworking spaces is the lack of privacy.
Since most coworking spaces are open-plan, conversations can no longer be completely private. While most will have meeting rooms available, coworking spaces are probably not a viable option for those working in sensitive areas.
Likewise, if your job requires you to make a lot of noise or phone calls, perhaps a co-working space is not for you. The same goes for entrepreneurs who find themselves easily disturbed by other people’s chatter. Bear in mind that coworking spaces do have a social aspect, and some even have features like pool tables or football tables.
Coworking spaces are great for startups who require a degree of flexibility about when and where they work.
If your role requires you to travel and work from different locations, it’s certainly not cost-effective for you to rent a whole office when you’re simply not going to be there. The lower rent make coworking spaces the perfect place to do this, and because many other people there will be popping in and out as they please, you won’t be disturbing anyone else by doing so.
For those who are looking for a really flexible option, many coworking spaces also offer hot-desking. Rather than renting your own designated desk, for a lower rate you can get a place to sit and some free wi-fi, but that’s it. Perfect for those who don’t need any special equipment to work.
Strength in numbers
As well as a strong sense of community, there are other benefits to several startups basing themselves together.
Firstly, a coworking space full of innovative businesses is more likely to pique the interest of others than a singular innovative business on its own. This means it may be easier to get PR and media coverage for the group as a collective, as well as drawing investors and supporters to the hub.
It can also be easier to negotiate offers and deals when you’re part of a large group. Just as employees of a business may get a reduced cost gym membership, some co-working spaces also use their strength in numbers to negotiate perks for their members.
Finally, many coworking spaces often host events for their members, such as talks or networking events. That’s something you definitely don’t get when you’re working from home!
In good company
Whether you’re a fledgling startup, or looking to grow, a co-working space could be the perfect home for your business.
Of course, it’s not a solution for everybody, and there are many pros and cons to weigh up before taking the plunge. Try to visit as many different coworking spaces as you can, so you know what usually comes as standard, and what’s an added bonus.
For more information about how to choose the best co-working space for you startup, check out this guide from Entrepreneur. Do you have any tips or advice of your own? We’d love to hear from you!