If you’ve been following this blog, I’m sure you know that we think coworking spaces are an ideal solution for a wide variety of people, including remote workers, freelancers, startup companies, and even large corporations. We get so enthusiastic about the virtues of coworking that we sometimes are asked whether there aren’t any downsides? Of course like everything else, it’s not all roses. Here are some of the negatives which could offset the potential benefits of sharing a work space.
You’ll lose some privacy.
This is probably the biggest drawback for most people. There’s no way around the fact that you’ll be working in a shared space. That’s very likely workable for most people, most of the time. But the open office setup is prone to noise and distractions. Be sure to check whether the space you’re considering includes some amount of sound barriers or acoustic furniture to absorb some of the sounds your fellow tenants are making. You’ll also have to deal with the risk that other occupants may overhear some of your phone conversations. This can be mitigated by the presence of phone booths or some other provision for private calls.
You may be working side by side with your competitors.
Any business is aware of its competition, and hopefully you’re not threatened by their existence. But working under the same roof with them is not always desirable. Depending upon the nature of your work, you may even be able to enjoy rubbing elbows with your competitors, and perhaps get the benefits of some collaboration. But should you find yourself sharing space with a rival brand, you’ll need to be on your guard to ensure that they’re not eavesdropping on your phone calls and reading over your shoulder.
You might experience some personality clashes.
If you move into a coworking space, you’ll find yourself without the insulation of private offices with doors, or even the two sides of protection which cubicle walls afford. This leaves the coworkers fairly well exposed to each other for most of the day. Not everyone’s working styles are the same, and clashes of personality may occur. Of course, this could happen anywhere. But in a traditional office setup, typically both parties are members of the same team, and there’s a manager to resolve things. Even more extreme cases could be dealt with by HR. But in a coworking space, there’s no one there to settle disagreements, and conflicts will need to be worked out on your own.