Starting your own business takes a lot of resources, and not every prospective owner has the money to get things off the ground. In this age of new business ventures, shared office spaces are becoming much more common. These mutually beneficial agreements can help give your business the head start it needs to succeed in the market and grow. However, like most things, there are a few setbacks that come with the advantages. Here, we’ll dive into the pros and cons of a shared office space to help you make a decision that’s right for your company.
What Is a Shared Office Space?
Before we can delve into the specifics surrounding shared office spaces, it’s vital that you understand exactly what they are. Shared workspaces, otherwise known as coworking spaces, are offices that are rented out by another existing business. As such, those sharing an office will often find themselves working alongside other business professionals who aren’t a part of their company. Shared office spaces are particularly beneficial for smaller companies with remote employees, freelancers, or consultants, as they provide them with better resources to complete projects.
The Pros of a Shared Office Space
The idea of working alongside individuals in another business might initially seem jarring. But there are several core things you gain from making a deal like this, especially as a smaller startup company. Here are some of the top advantages of putting down roots and working in a shared office space.
More Office Flexibility
Flexibility within your working space is key when you’re first starting out. You never know when you could suddenly increase the size of your team or take on additional clients or projects. As such, you need to be able to respond to these changes quickly. Shared office spaces allow you to do that by keeping agreements straightforward and relaxed. With no extended leasing agreements and zero fees, you can cancel or expand your renting arrangements at any time. You never need to wait to make the adjustments necessary for the sake of your business.
Since you’re working alongside other professionals in a shared office space, you also have a great opportunity to make some business connections. Whether you work directly with them or not, simply sharing the same space with these individuals puts you in a position for conversation. This allows you to discuss the work you’re doing and build out your network of references. You never know—you could find someone that provides you with a wonderful growth opportunity.
Better Collaborative Environment
Additionally, you’ll have more opportunities to communicate with your own team members. It’s common for employees at startup businesses to work remotely for several months before they find an office space. Sharing this space with others allows you to quickly acquire the facilities you need and start communicating directly with your team much sooner. Talking in person allows you to form relationships with your team, foster a better flow of ideas, and improve general communication.
As alluded to previously, shared meeting spaces can also do wonders for saving your small business money. These deals come with no upfront fees; you simply pay for the resources, space, and utilities your team uses. Because you’re renting out an office, you can expect the space you use to already have essential furnishings and key amenities. You won’t need to worry about paying for your own desks, chairs, or coffee makers, and you can reallocate the money you would have spent on those items to growing the business.
The Cons of a Shared Office Space
While there’s a good list of advantages to these facilities, no list of pros and cons of a shared office space would be complete without mentioning the disadvantages. After all, there’s always a possibility something could hinder your work, and your experience can greatly depend on the other parties involved in the space.
Increased Number of Distractions
Because there are more people around, it’s only natural that there would be more distractions in a shared office environment. Especially as you first make the transition, there will be a lot of new faces, art, décor, and background music to take in. As such, you might find that it’s much harder for your team to focus, and you may need to find methods to keep them on task. Disagreements between those you’re sharing the space with can be particularly distracting as well.
Reduced Customization Options
Because you don’t own the office you’re sharing with another business, you also can’t personalize the space as you’d like. Using a space to showcase your brand is a great way to develop company pride and better advertise yourself. However, you legally can’t make these changes in a shared office space because the property isn’t yours. You also won’t be able to make any layout changes to suit your business needs; instead, you can only use what the other business has available for you.
Less Control Over the Office Culture
When you spend time in a shared office environment, it becomes a bit more difficult to develop your own company culture. Regardless of how you spend your time and what you value as a business, you’ll always be susceptible to acquiring traits of the other business in the space. As a result, it’s a lot harder for you to maintain control over the culture and keep your team members happy.
Higher Risk of Competition
There’s a slight chance that you will end up sharing an office space with a competitor in the same industry. When this happens, it can be difficult to maintain secrecy and keep the environment relaxed for all involved. To combat issues, make sure you screen the company carefully before renting a part of their office space.
It’s important to the team at Rework that startups have what they need to succeed in the marketplace. That’s why we’ll seek to help companies like yours plan and furnish their office spaces. Whether you share this square footage or are just setting out on your own, our collection of used office workstations can create the perfect working environment for your team. Contact us today to learn more about our planning and design services. You can also browse our collection of refurbished furniture in our Chicago showroom.