First, lets define a co-working space. Essentially it’s office (or other kind of working space) rented to a variety of individuals and/or companies who benefit from both the shared expense and the opportunity to interface with other people. It is an advantageous arrangement for people who work in isolation (such as their homes), who travel and need work space, and for small companies who benefit from not having to set up an entire work environment. The monthly fee generally includes furniture, telephones, conference areas and may also offer private offices and such amenities as cafes on site.
The co-working spaces have become flourishing businesses in many metro areas. The co-working place could be a profitable option for your company. Let’s take a closer look at what the co-working space involves and how you can benefit from it.
What Is the Co-Working Space and How Can It Help You?
As its name says it, the co-working space offers the advantages of a larger office by combining individuals and small companies to share the space.
The owners rent the space to several businesses for a monthly fee which includes utilities and some amenities. The co-working space may have a traditional business look, with private dedicated offices, or may be a style popularized by California tech companies with games and nap rooms.
The concept of co-working space appeared back in 2008, when Tony Bacigalupo, founder of NewYorkCities platform began setting up working get-togethers for freelancers. The idea quickly caught the interest of investors and there are now 27 million square feet of working space in the USA alone. Below are some suggestions if you decide co-working may be for you.
1. Do Your Homework
Research is key if you think co-working space may benefit your company.
- Begin the process by searching within your company. Look at your core values, communication, and even personal branding ideas. Remember that you send a message through look of the workplace.
- Then, you can ask your employees what kind of environment they would prefer. If you have no employees yet, you can find studies on the co-working market, how the spaces differ and what they have to offer.
- Finally, research the market itself. Even though many are optimistic about the future of co-working, about 60% of co-working spaces are not profitable. Look for reviews written by current and former renters. Go see a variety of spaces and ask questions – lots of questions. See even those with negative reviews. If they have fixed the problems that speaks well of their responsiveness to tenants.
2. Choose Your Style
The spaces may differ considerably in concept. You may see a fairly conventional set up with private offices followed by a wildly colored open plan with bean bag chairs. Part of your choice will of course, rest on how your employees work and what they need to succeed, but part of it may also be the what the environment says about your company.
Obviously, you want your employees to be happy, but you also want an environment which promotes productivity. Talk with your employees about what they think is the most favorable atmosphere, acknowledging that each may have an entirely different perception of what constitutes optimal work space. Factor it into your search for space.
3. Calculate Everything
You employees are an important part of the equation. What do they need? What do they want?
- Basic: These are the things every employee needs to get his or her work accomplished. Often, they include a laptop, a mouse, a work phone, an agenda, high-speed internet connection, or updated software.
- Informal: These are the items which make the workday go a bit better. A coffee machine, space to store and eat lunch, natural light, outdoor break areas, the location of the space near restaurants and other businesses.
- Particular: These usually relate to your business and its field of work. Your staff members might need headphones, tablets, certain office supplies. Depending on what you do, they may need places to spread out and leave large projects or conference tables for large meetings.
With your requirements in mind, look at the spaces and consider which best suits your needs. Calculate the cost of co-working versus leasing and outfitting your own space.
The co-work space is not necessarily an either/or situation. You might decide, for instance, to put some department(s) in a co-working environment and also lease office space for other functions. This allows you to rent a smaller (and possibly higher end) office for meetings with clients and other important gatherings.
Co-working space might work well for your business or you may decide it won’t work at all. You know your employees and should take into consideration how self motivated they are, how they respond to change. Co-working is an option you should consider under some circumstances and depending on the type of business you own.
Have you tried co-working space? How was your experience? Did you consider it for your small business? Leave us your thoughts in the comments section below!
The images are from depositphotos.com.