Shared workspaces, co-working, startup incubator, communal meeting space, temporary offices, bring-your-own-business — Shared office space goes by many different names, but the concept is essentially the same. If you don’t have the funds and resources to rent a business location, there are popular companies today that allow you to share an office or a conference room on an as-needed basis. Some startups and freelancers even prefer the shared office space in order to collaborate with others. Is it a do or don’t for your small business?
As the world evolves toward supporting self-starters and entrepreneurs with initiative, the idea of communal office space becomes more and more appealing. Though they may seem like the college dorm equivalent of work property, co-working labs are garnering a huge amount of business.
It’s easy to see why so many startups and small businesses opt for shared office space, but is a co-working site the best option to suit your needs? If you’re interested in the prospect of sharing space, the following information may help you decide whether to pursue that prospect.
Getting a Feel for a Shared Workspace
As with any corporate decision, sharing office space holds several distinct allures and drawbacks—for example, it’s clearly cheaper for a startup to share space than lease an office outright, but you often forgo the privacy, permanency, and agency that accompanies quasi-ownership of a workspace.
Other pros and cons of shared office space include the following:
- Pro: You work with like-minded individuals. It’s beneficial to both your creativity and your productivity if you come up for air every once in a while. Inhabiting a shared office space allows you and your team to experience different perspectives—perspectives which, in turn, often provide the refresh needed to tackle a particularly challenging problem or situation. These individuals also have the opportunity to learn from you, and success breeds success.
- Con: You have to share. Like the roommate that just won’t move out, the people with whom you share your collective space will eventually get on your nerves. CEOs will butt heads, employees will get swept up in the politics, and at the end of the day, the refrigerator will still be dirty. Adults working with adults should be able to coexist professionally, of course, but it’s a factor that didn’t exist before over which you have no control.
- Pro: You make personable connections. Instead of handing out business cards, you work alongside potential clients and business partners. These are people who see your work ethic and problem-solving capabilities on a daily basis. Forget vouching, wordy corporate emails, and the infamous “I know a guy who knows a guy” game; clients who have seen you in your natural habitat are the ones that will be most likely to sign a contract quickly and cleanly.
- Con: Too many cooks in the kitchen. Culture clashes happen everywhere, regardless of exposure time. Put several different cultures in one giant room for eight hours a day, five or six days a week, and one’s own culture can become obscured or hazy—even unstable. As mentioned previously, you have the privilege of working with like-minded individuals, but this can quickly become an example of too much of a good thing.
- Pro: You get a sense of community. Especially in the freelancing or telecommuting realm, loneliness can become a prevalent distraction. Surrounding yourself with other people actually promotes productivity and work ethic in most circumstances, whereas inhibiting natural extroversion can lead to fidgetiness and a general lack of motivation.
Every business is different
At the end of the day, your startup or small business might or might not mesh with a shared workspace, which is why you should take into account your company’s ethos, your brand consistency, your employees’ preferences, and your overall demographic profile before committing to a lease.
Bonus: Check out shared office space within our region
Are you local to Abacus Payroll’s Southern New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware tri-state region? Here are some of the notable co-working spaces for startups and budding small businesses breaking ground in our direct area (South Jersey and the surrounding area):
- Kings Hall, Haddonfield, NJ
- Incutate South Jersey, Sewell, NJ
- Atrium Executive Center, Marlton, NJ
- The Factory, Collingswood, NJ and Cherry Hill, NJ
- Camden Colab, Camden, NJ
- Cowerks, Asbury Park, NJ
- Indy Hall, Philadelphia, PA
- Venturef0rth, Philadelphia, PA
- Benjamin’s Desk, Philadelphia, PA
- Pipeline Philly, Philadelphia, PA
- The CoIN Loft at Start It Up Delaware, Wilmington, DE
- The Mill, Wilmington, DE
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Whether you decide to go for a budget co-working site or your own executive office suite, Abacus Payroll is here to help you make the transition as seamlessly as possible. From startup to full-on growth mode, we can work seamlessly alongside your business throughout the life cycle. Call us now at 856-667-6225, send an email, or fill out the contact form for a no-obligation quote.