If you’re like most of the small business owners I know, there’s a good chance that you started your operation by working out of your home. And why not? If you’re starting up by yourself, perhaps with some help from family members and an occasional friend, there’s no need to bear the expense of renting an office. Eventually, though, you’re going to outgrow the dining room table. The time will come (and we hope it comes soon for you) that you’ll need to house some additional staff members, and want a space where you can meet clients.
It’s a big leap to make the investment in renting an office. Fortunately it may not be necessary. Co-working spaces provide an excellent alternative to a more traditional office, often at a fraction of the price. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of using a co-working space instead of a dedicated office.
You don’t need to commit to a lease.
Renting a traditional office suite is not just an expense. It’s also a commitment to sign a lease and lock yourself in to the (often hefty) monthly rent for a year, or for multiple years. Co-working spaces are typically available on a month-to-month basis without any long-term obligation.
Co-working spaces are easily scalable.
It’s a real challenge when you have a young business. You never know when you’re going to be hit with an influx of work, and need to staff up quickly to meet the rush. This makes it even more difficult to commit to an office lease. You won’t want to be caught without enough space to handle the new business you’re going after. But renting a large enough office to accommodate large growth is costly and wasteful.
Co-working spaces are an easy solution to address this concern. If you need more employees next month, you simply pay for more desks. Conversely, once the rush is over, you can easily drop back to your previous level to keep costs in line for the lean months.
Co-working spaces encourage productivity.
One of the real drawbacks of the traditional office setup is isolation. The old format of cubicles and private offices does not really foster a collaborative environment, as each worker is somewhat sequestered in their own personal space. Co-working spaces are typically set up in an “open office” format, allowing easy interacting and promoting the feel of an exciting, active community with lots of productivity. Don’t worry though: you don’t need to give up all privacy, as most co-working spaces include private areas and conference rooms, for those times that you’ll need to make a more private call or holding a meeting with a visitor.
There are great networking opportunities.
While it’s true that the co-working space won’t be filled exclusively with employees of the same company, there are times that this will work to your advantage. Because it’s an open environment, you may find that some of your fellow tenants have backgrounds and experience which complement your work. The person a few desks over from you may have just the right skills or the perspective you need to complete your next project.