Approximately 80,000 people worldwide are currently working in coworking spaces; working with other companies and freelancers in a shared office space. Coworking is similar to renting your own office space, giving you an address and a facility to house your company, however instead of being alone; you gain membership into a community of like-minded people who profit from the collaboration of a shared space. A coworking facility may include a variety of amenities such as conference rooms, a print/copy station, internet connections, a kitchen, lockers, a library and more, depending on the size and location of the office.
How can you know if it’s a good fit for you?
There’s actually a lot of information out there about coworking, and I’ve included links to several helpful sites if you want more information. However for this article, I’ve condensed some of the pros and cons into simple talking points.
- Coworkers site a collaborative atmosphere that helps increase accountability and productivity as well as education/learning and feedback.
- Coworking facilities house a network of people in similar circumstances who are available to bounce ideas off of, get referrals from, team up with and commiserate with.
- It may be possible to decrease a business’s taxable income, and save on rental costs since overhead is shared among the participants.
- Available amenities provide freelancers and home-office business owners with a space to meet with clients, and hold conferences and other industry meetups.
- Freelancers and entrepreneurs site an increase in their social circle, business networks and self-confidence.
- Some people may find the business tactics of other companies in the shared coworking space to be distracting and unhelpful to productivity.
- Coworking facilities tend to develop a culture which may clash with the culture of an individual company who is renting space.
- The level of noise from other occupants, lack of privacy or the inadequacy of office structure may be drawbacks.
- The cost of membership may be more than a struggling entrepreneur can afford.
- Limited access to company files, software and other equipment as well as the responsibility to carry in/out each day your work materials (laptop, tech devices, paperwork, etc.) may cancel out the perceived benefits.
The large variety of coworking spaces around the world are relatively young (in business under two years) and it’s a concept that’s still gaining steam in the business community. However if this model continues to show success, it could dramatically change the way many companies are launched and succeed.
Have you had any experience with coworking, whether positive or negative? Leave us a comment letting us know your experience.
*Updated: If you want to see a coworking space in action, check out this video created by Oficio in Boston, MA.
Global Coworking Blog:
The 2nd Global Coworking Survey by Deskmag: