With the advent of increasing remote work, startups and freelancers, more people are turning to shared desk spaces. "Office hotels" often comes with bustling energy, great networking potential, and built-in amenities. Therefore they can be a great solution for those of us who work independently, or are starting out with a small team. But what are the main things to consider when choosing to utilize a shared office? What should you look for in the place you decide to be your “home away from home”? Let’s take a look at some pros and cons.
Benefit: Separation between work and home
If you’re a “solopreneur” who starts a company from nothing, you may often find yourself working from home. Some days you conduct phone calls and skype meetings in your pyjamas, or some days never even leaving your house. Startup life can be tough when you’re doing it alone, and often it’s the networks and people in the outside world who can really make a difference for your business. Shared workspaces can give people the benefit of having a place to go. This creates a needed separation between home and work. Engaging in the communities that shared offices naturally create can lead to discovering new customers, potential business collaborations, and even investors and business advisors. In other words, all things that are important to new and small businesses.
Benefit: Save time on administrative tasks
The same can be said for small teams as well. Renting out a large office may be a future dream. But, renting at a shared desk space can be a great stepping stone when looking to nail and scale your business. Office hotels take care of the small details and overhead costs that come with renting an office space. Everything is often consolidated into simple pricing packages that suit various needs. When it’s all-hands-on-deck in small organizations, often taking care of administrative needs like mail, phone services, printers and copiers, supply ordering, wifi and communications tools, can feel like a burden. When using a shared space that facilitates and handles these details, you can spend more time on doing the things that matter for moving your business forward.
Benefit: Cost effective scaling
Additionally, one of the biggest advantages when using a shared office space is the ability to grow your company in a cost effective and space efficient way. When you need to expand your team, you can simply add a desk or upgrade to an office for multiple people. This without needing to search for, or invest in, a much larger traditional office space. In this way, you can increase your rental cost in a linear way, rather than making a big financial jump, or obtaining a space that you’ll need to grow into.
Things to consider: Cost
While all of the above may sound ideal to you, there are some other things to consider regarding shared spaces. One simple fact is that they can often be more costly than traditional office spaces (and almost certainly more costly than working from home.) You should consider though what you get for your money: depending on where you rent space and the set-ups they have. Desks, chairs, and other office necessities are often included in the price. Wifi, coffee, and reception services are also included, so be sure to add up your expected (or existing) costs to ensure that it makes the most sense financially.
Things to consider: Private office or not?
It’s also important to consider what your needs are for productive work. If you are renting a desk in an open space, you may want to think about your ability to be effective, or how distracted you may be when operating amongst other people. If you can easily get off task, consider renting at a place with options for private offices, or what kind of mixed or activity-based spaces are available so that you can get down to business in your ideal environment.
Things to consider: What about workplace culture?
Another possible downside to sharing office spaces is a limited ability to deploy your own workplace culture and branding. While it is possible to do on some level, there’s no doubt it becomes harder when you’re amongst other companies. Most likely they have different value sets and cultural norms. While underscoring the importance of what your company and brand stands for within a greater landscape of a shared office is tricky, it’s also more important to strive to avoid a toxic work culture in and around your employees.
Things to consider: Meeting space
One last consideration you should make with shared spaces, is your need for conference rooms or meeting areas. If a location has many common areas or open desks, but a small ratio of conference rooms, you may run into issues of availability, or accidental double booking when you need to conduct a meeting. Ensure that the office hotel has well established policies and an infrastructure for effective scheduling and communications. Then you can avoid any issues of this nature.
Shared offices and office hotels often provide a lot of advantages for many of today’s modern workforce. As with any kind of office setup, you should consider the pros and cons of using these spaces, and make the decision that is best for you.
Curious about ABW?
Read about our transition to an activity based workplace and (hopefully) get inspired!