Office life today is a far cry from the endless rows of cubicles in corporate buildings which were so common not so long ago. Modern office spaces include more open areas and more amenities. And more and more, companies are allowing their employees to work off-site, sometimes in co-working spaces that the employer provides.
Co-working spaces are shared work environments, in which the owner of the space provides desks, office equipment, and a variety of amenities. The occupants of the co-working spaces may come from different companies and even different industries, which makes for an interesting work space, often with great networking opportunities. If you’re considering utilizing a co-working space, you may be wondering what types of businesses tend to use them, to determine if it could be the right choice for your company.
It might almost be better to ask what types of businesses don’t use co-working spaces, because the kinds of companies who do are almost as diverse as today’s business world. Here are some examples:
Co-working spaces are a fairly obvious choice for start-ups. Lots of people start their businesses by working out of their homes. At some point, though, a dedicated office space begins to make more sense. As one begins to hire employees, there are advantages to having a work environment that isn’t shared with family and pets. Commercial real estate is expensive, however, so renting one’s own office can be quite a risk financially in the early stages of the development of a start-up. Co-working spaces provide an excellent middle choice, giving one a professional work environment without having to bear the expense or commitment of maintaining one’s own office.
For a start-up, a co-working space may be a stepping stone on the way to greater growth. But what about small businesses, the ones that are planning to stay relatively small? Does it make sense for these companies to use co-working spaces?
Again, it proves to be a great choice. Carrying the cost of a lease on an office can be a huge burden on a small company. If your business is somewhat seasonal, or the volume of work fluctuates from time to time (and what business isn’t like that?), it can be difficult to predict how much space you’ll need. What’s more, you’ll have to pay for the whole office even in the lean phases when you may not be using all of it.
Co-working spaces provide an easy way to scale up and down as the size of your workforce expands and contracts. You simply pay for the space you use, typically with no long-term commitment.
If you’re thinking that co-working spaces are only for small independent shops, start-ups, and freelancers, think again. More and more, big corporations are beginning to use them as well. Even some of the greatest technology giants like Microsoft and IBM are testing using co-working spaces to house some of their employees. Apart from the typical reasons we mentioned above, there’s an added benefit for a huge, monolithic company - it allows their employees to rub elbows with younger innovative startups. This not only provides a more relaxed atmosphere, but more importantly, it offers exposure to new, fresh ideas.