Pros & Cons in the Age of Coworking
Having the freedom to work when and where you want may sound like an ideal arrangement. But is a coworking setup really beneficial for the average person’s productivity or overall business?
The number of people working from home has increased 115% since 2005. It’s no wonder that 542,000 workers sought refuge in coworking spaces during 2017. The number of coworking professionals is forecasted to double by the year 2022.
Coworking is becoming one of the most rapidly growing office space services available. Remote workers and virtual businesses may begin to wonder if coworking could be beneficial for them and their long-term goals.
What is coworking?
Coworking is a relatively new movement in the office space industry. The term was coined by Brad Neuberg in 2005 to describe a new way of working. The intention is to encourage community between various workers who come together in a shared office space. Defined, coworking spaces are workspaces shared by people who do not work for the same company but rent the office space. These shared office spaces attempt to create a community of independent contractors and remote workers. Professionals who cowork can include lawyers, entrepreneurs, freelancers, small business owners, and more. It is also advertised as a way for remote workers to leave the isolation and distractions of their own home.
This type of office space can draw a wide range of clients with diverse personalities and preferences. There aspects of coworking that are promising and some that are detrimental to modern professionals. It is important to consider all of the factors when deciding on your next office space.
The availability of resources and technology often lures professionals to coworking spaces. These features are a major expense for the average remote worker. Shared office spaces typically offer access to devices such as printers, scanners, high-speed WIFI, and other shared amenities. A professional can focus on their work rather than on acquiring expensive equipment. Therefore, a coworking space may be beneficial to a startup or individual who does not yet have the resources to invest in a permanent office or the equipment necessary to run their business.
The disadvantage here is that while you have access to these resources, you are sharing them with other professionals. You cannot control who uses what equipment and when. You may find yourself at the mercy of someone printing a 500-page document or hogging a limited resource.
Coworking spaces typically include furniture, which adds another cost-saving feature. However, you are typically not able to choose your furniture or request changes. You may also be responsible for any accidental damages that occur.
Coworking spaces are cost effective, but sometimes you find yourself simply paying for WIFI and some desk space. There are more benefits to coworking than just the amenities, but if the only equipment you require is your laptop, this type of space may be a waste of money. It can get expensive for a remote worker or small business just to warm a seat somewhere outside of their home office or local coffee shop.
Other costs to consider with coworking are meeting space, commuting and eating outside of your home. If you need to give a presentation or meet with a client, you can find yourself paying additional fees to book a conference room or temporary office. By not working out of your home, you are adding on additional commuting fees, and unless you keep a lunch and snacks with you, you will have to pay for food and beverages.
For those who find that they do not benefit from the shared amenities of a coworking space, the money they put toward coworking may be worth it to simply get out of the house and be around people in a professional environment. Coworking spaces may seem very appealing to a freelancer who has grown weary of the isolation of their own home and desires socializing that office workers often take for granted. From a personal standpoint, being around people with similar interests, work goals, and career paths often spurs conversations and opportunities. You can find connections for your business or learn about local events.
Once again, a lack of control comes into play. In a coworking space, you cannot determine who will be sitting at the desk next to yours. They could be a great new friend or potential business connection, or they could be a distraction. With their increasing popularity, coworking spaces can easily become loud and crowded instead of the way they are advertised – peaceful and open.
A buzzing office filled with a variety of people with no real professional connection can cause as much of a hindrance to productivity as your recliner and TV at home. In truth, if you are typically unproductive while working at home, it is likely that you will be just as unproductive if you were to transition to a coworking space. While some people may thrive in an environment surrounded by other people hard at work, others may find the additional noise annoying or distracting.
After weighing the pros and cons, is coworking really worth it?
If the environment of a typical coworking space seems to fit your job, personality, financial situation, and level of productivity, then it very well may be the path for you. Because it is a service that is expected to grow in the coming years, more and more people will be visiting these shared workspaces. This office space trend has the potential to grow even further beyond how we know it today.
Professionals who are easily distracted won’t find the working environment they need. People who have a hard time working at home or in a shared space should consider the value in leasing a private office or flexible office space. Coworking can be a short-term solution for out-of-town professionals looking for a reliable internet connection, but it should not be your long-term office solution for your business.
How can Executive Workspace help your business?
Are you interested in coworking space? Consider our equally flexible temporary and smart office options. You can access a private, furnished office for however long you need it. You can also customize your space to fit your business needs and choose from a variety of services and amenities. Our offices always have a strong, working environment, perfect for professionals who need to focus. By leasing an office, you can also access free and discounted meeting space for your next client meeting or conference.
Article by Hayley Foster