Coworking space vs office: 4 key considerations before your next office move
If you are considering moving your business to a new location, it can be difficult to weigh up the pros and cons of joining a coworking space vs renting your own office. For many companies it is ideal to have their own office as there is more control over what your space can look like, there’s consistent access, and you can host team gatherings whenever you want. But there are other businesses, which would love the access to many spaces that can help them unlock their productivity, love the choice in when and where their work and find motivation in spaces that combine work and play, making coworking spaces their ideal. But then there’s the few who want both. Their own office and the benefit of having access to many spaces designed for working.
There are many factors that come into play when making this decision; this post explores 4 key considerations that will help you better understand what will work best for your company. Whether you’re considering coworking or formal office space for your business, it’s important to make an informed decision. In this article we will explore four key considerations that can help you narrow down the options and understand what coworking space is right for you.
What is a coworking space?
A coworking space is a shared office or workstation available for general use by independent individuals and organisations, who may range from start-ups to large businesses. It is a working mode historically used by freelancers and start-ups, helping them to be independent but with the community feel and structure of working with others. The coworking model is inspired by similar concepts such as open space work, hot desking.
What is a traditional office space?
A traditional office space is a space that is rented or owned for use by one company. These offices are usually custom-designed to suit the needs of their occupiers, and can often include both private office spaces for staff members as well as other facilities such as meeting rooms, kitchen areas and collaborative spaces. There tend to be limited restrictions when owning an office space making it the ‘goal’ or preferred occupancy option for businesses as they could host parties, work games, be noisy and so on without the concern for others, whom they may not know, being disturbed.
The big difference between traditional office space and a co-working space is that one is tied to a specific location and the other is not.
It is of employer interest to have all employees under the same roof because there is greater control and can be easier to manage. However, the commute and distance for some members of staff can be difficult and tiring making them unprepared for a day’s work. Making the option of being able to work from a co-working space is ideal as they could access spaces that are local to their home.
4 aspects to consider before choosing which office style to adopt
A coworking space is good for productivity because coworking spaces are specifically intended to accommodate the needs of independent and hybrid workers. This often includes areas for concentrated work, for virtual and face to face meetings, regular networking opportunities with other members and corporations, as well as established rules regarding etiquette. Many co-working spaces have an aesthetic that gives the cosy out–of-office feel with the intention to stimulate your focus and productivity. For example, our partner space, HomeWork have a cafe in both their locations in Southfield and Putney. The café provides the casual social hospitality feel that many might not get from the corporate office kitchen inducing an individual’s relaxation mode which can help ease them into their flow. Additionally, many coworking spaces have been created in consultation with experts who understand best practices for working independently.
A traditional office space may be good for productivity because unlike coworking spaces there are fewer distractions such as noise and constant movement. This means workers can spend more time focusing on their work tasks. The removal of distractions heightens concentration levels and can encourage a productive team. In recent years it is very common for traditional workspaces and co working spaces to have open plan office style, a lot more common in co working spaces than traditional offices but still an office layout that is adopted in both working environments. That design allows traditional offices to encourage interaction between teammates, which would not be possible if one team member is working from a coworking space and another working from home. And we know an effective communication chain is an important aspect to keep employees productive.
A coworking space is great for networking as popular spaces build a network of like-minded workers. This means coworking spaces are a great opportunity to meet new business contacts, share advice with other entrepreneurs and connect with people who have complementary skills. Networking is such a common thing that occurs in co working spaces. Many people that work from co working spaces come from many different professions, socio-economic classes, and titles, which opens the user’s pool and sphere of influence. When I visited Mainyard Studios in Tower Hamlets, I loved hearing the story of a graphic designer being connected to a businessman looking for a designer by the location manager. The community built within co working spaces can help promote and expand business as well as create great personal and business-related relationships. Coworking spaces tend to have a relaxed environment which is good for meeting and speaking to new people.
In a traditional office space, it is much easier to host events as you do not have to seek permission or even pay for additional space. When considering what spaces work for you it is important to note that co-working networking is much more natural and can take a long time to form.
A coworking space is good for flexibility because coworking spaces allow workers to move between different areas easily, so they can work in places which best suit their tasks at different times. Also, coworking spaces are generally able to accommodate team expansions and contractions, as well as move-ins and move-outs. Not having to negotiate leases makes this process easier. With coworking spaces, it is stress-free to adjust your coworking space if you find another coworking space which fits your needs better or if you need a short-term coworking solution. Not being tied to law binding agreements allows businesses to explore spaces that suits their needs before making permanent decisions. The coworking concept of flexible membership also means that coworking spaces are sometimes more accessible to temporary workers and contractors, who can move between coworking spaces easily.
A traditional office space can seem more inflexible because you have a long-term contract in place which you cannot easily change. However, you can negotiate a break clause in some commercial leases, which would give you an early exit from your lease if the office no longer meets your requirements.
Working in a coworking space, you tend to be bound by their opening hours and may not be able to personalise your own space. When it comes to designing your ideal workspace, that idealisation stops at coworking spaces. Although each space provides a different feel, it isn’t necessarily sentimental to the worker or task at hand. Nonetheless, with the access to many workspaces you would be able to find various environments that fit your way of working. If one day you want a cosy, casual, social environment you would work from Arboretum in Westminster, if you want a focused, functional commercial office location, you will work from X+Why Chiswick Works. When having access to many co-working spaces you are not limited to one look and feel but many.
Whereas in a traditional office space you can make your office feel like a home away from home through personalisation and design. Many traditional offices will have a theme that fits with the business colour palette. They would have a look and feel which would accommodate and align with vision and desire for the team. Traditional offices tend to be available for workers to work from whenever as they would have key access. This accessibility would make traditional offices ideal to employees who work from different hours of the day or desire to work later or earlier. Not being restricted by a closing time makes them a traditional office space more functional.
There are clear benefits and disadvantages to traditional office spaces and shared office spaces. We believe it is about identifying the workspace solution that works best for your hybrid team. Here at FlowSpace we help hybrid teams find the workspace solution that works for them. With on-demand, subscription and tailored packages we ensure your flexible work life is at your fingertips. Yes, we do see the benefits of having a space to call your own, yet we also acknowledge that there is a shift in the way we work, which tilts towards having a dynamic work pattern. Let’s lean into what the current and up-and-coming workforce desire and watch the impact.
The future of work is hybrid and that future is now.