If you’ve been looking for an office for your startup, you’ve undoubtedly been shocked by rental prices, overwhelmed by the idea of furnishing the place, and have likely considered just working out of your house or a coffeeshop until the business makes some money.
With coworking spaces – fully equipped, beautifully designed, furnished offices that are devoted to providing desk space and flexible leases for startups and SMEs – gaining popularity, there’s now a less traditional, very appealing office option that many company founders are looking into.
But are coworking spaces really a good deal? And would one be a good fit for your team? We’ve listed a few things you should keep in mind when considering a coworking space and whether or not it’s a smart real estate option for your venture.
First things first: the financial aspect. If you have a lean team, renting a few desks at a coworking space may make more sense than plunking down security deposits, first and last months’ rent, and broker fees for an office of your own – at least for a while. Though the reality of rental fees at most coworking spaces is that you are paying much more per desk than you would if you had an office of your own, it may still be a more cost effective option for your business until you have a larger team.
Very often, the biggest perk of a coworking space is the culture it can provide. Contemporary furniture, coffee bars, gourmet vending machines, a multitude of breakout session areas and many different sizes of meeting rooms are the types of amenities available for all tenants to use. Be sure to use the coworking spaces’ booking procedure for the meeting rooms to avoid any confrontation with your neighbours, though.
More than just aesthetically pleasing accommodations, these shared offices provide the opportunity to work alongside other small business teams and get to know them on a day-to-day basis, outside of high-pressure networking events. But keep in mind that you don’t have control over who the other businesses sharing the offices are – and this could mean that you’re working right beside companies that are your competition.
At most coworking spaces, you’ll have to pay a little extra if you want the desks you rent to be housed within walls and behind a door instead of in an open area. Sometimes the “little extra” is actually a lot extra – so much so that startups may be priced out. So carefully consider the amount of privacy you and your team will need to do business. If you definitely want to be in a coworking space and absolutely need a space where you can’t be overheard, but can’t afford to shell out the extra cash every month, find a coworking space that has plentiful meeting rooms and be vigilant about booking them well in advance.
If you plan to scale your business and add new team members quickly, factor those people and desks into your plan when shopping for a coworking space. You may find it will be more expensive to go with the trendy, shared office in the long run than it would be to engage in a lease of your own. However, it’s better to find that out ahead of time than be in a situation where your business is homeless for a bit because you have no affordable place for your team to work from.
At the end of the day, a coworking space can be a great option for startups – but keep in mind that it isn’t always a perfect fit for every business. Think about the type of company you want to run, the culture you want to foster and your short-term business goals when considering a coworking space. So long as you do all of that, you’ll be able to find an office that works for you.