Real estate

4 perks to using coworking space

From cost benefits to collaboration opportunities, here's why startups are flocking toward coworking spaces. Getty Images

Over the past decade, there has been a dramatic increase in a new form of loosely structured, open-focused offices known as coworking spaces. These spaces are changing the way that entrepreneurs are approaching business, proving to be a valuable alternative to the traditional office setting.

Coworking spaces differ from conventional office spaces mainly due to the fact that they are often occupied by a multiple of different companies. Usually startup and small business focused, coworking spaces can house companies anywhere from individual freelancers working solo to teams of 20, 30, or more. While every tenant has different needs and priorities when it comes to office space, there are a number of advantages to the coworking model that any entrepreneur considering a change in scenery should consider.

1. Cost effective
Startups and entrepreneurs are frequent tenants of coworking spaces, leading to managers of those spaces understanding the frugal nature of their potential tenants. Coworking spaces will often be flexible in providing a package that fits the entrepreneur's schedule and budget. While a traditional office space might force you into a long-term lease on space, coworking spaces will likely offer a number of membership packages, including day passes, open desk seating, dedicated desk seating, and private offices.

2. Collaboration
Traditional office spaces carry a stigma of individualism and private focus that can hinder collaboration among tenants. Coworking spaces thrive on the opposite approach, establishing a culture of collaboration and community. For example, imagine an entrepreneur fresh off exiting their 8-5 corporate job and agonizing over the scary new world of startups. A quick walk into the kitchen can lead to striking up a conversation with a fellow community member, potentially securing an immediate connection to a mentor, investor or service provider. While those sorts of interactions may seem impossible in office, it is common for individuals from multiple companies with multiple strengths to interact and help each other.

3. Resources
In addition to merely encouraging a collaborative atmosphere, many coworking spaces will put the idea into practice themselves by offering a number of services in addition to office space. Some will offer educational speakers and workshops to come for a period of time to inform community members on a variety of topics. In addition, many have preferred service providers who can give discounts to community members.

4. Energy
Arguably one of the most important factors when considering coworking versus a traditional office is the enthusiasm and energy of the space. While potentially difficult to put into words, the atmosphere can have a powerful impact on how you approach new challenges and solve problems. The feeling of electricity in a coworking space when a fellow member signs a major client, closes a round of fundraising, or finishes a crucial project is contagious.

The future of work is changing every day. Digital collaboration is increasing exponentially and reducing the need for everyone to be in one room. Laptops are more popular than ever, allowing the flexibility to work wherever you have fast wifi and a strong cup of coffee. As these changes become more commonplace, coworking will likely continue to be a popular solution for entrepreneurs across the world

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Jake Askew is the director of member relations at The Cannon and Cannon Ventures.

Along with Houston-based real estate developer Ancorian, Common Desk is headed for Houston. Courtesy of Common Desk

Houston will soon be home to another large coworking space. Common Desk, a Texas company, has announced plans for a Houston location in East Downtown — selected for its culture and opportunity.

The Dallas-born concept specializes in coworking in hospitality and has joined forces with Houston-based Ancorian, a real estate development company, for the project. Expected to open in summer 2020, Common Desk will occupy 25,000 square feet of a 42,000-square-foot warehouse redevelopment known as "The Block." The facility will also have an outpost of Dallas-based Bishop Cider.

"EaDo reminds us of Deep Ellum, which was the first location we ever opened in Dallas in 2012," says Nick Clark, founder and CEO of Common Desk, in a news release. "It has the cultural authenticity and significance that we as a brand love to build a foundation from, offering the diverse variety of concepts and convenience you want from a submarket, without the congestion and parking difficulties you might find in a central business district. We're excited to bring some of our soulful vibes and southern hospitality to Eado."

Houston's East Downtown Common Desk will occupy 25,000 square feet of a 42,000-square-foot warehouse redevelopment known as "The Block." Courtesy of Common Desk

Common Desk, which got its start in 2012, now has eight locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and three in in Austin, and its Houston members will eventually have access to these other locations. A common theme in the companies concepts is bridging the gap between coworking and dining and hospitality concepts. Fiction Coffee, Common Desk's coffee bar concept, is expected to open alongside the coworking space.

"Houston isn't just another market for us; it's a city we love, and we expect our approach to service and design to resonate well with Houstonians," says Dawson Williams, head of real estate at Common Desk, in the release. "We plan to go deep in Houston just as we have in Dallas, and our goal is to become the go-to coworking brand in the market."

Ancorian has previously worked on the East Village in the East Downtown area, which include concepts like Indianola, Truck Yard, F45 Fitness, Koffeteria, Rodeo Goat, and True Anomaly Brewing.

"We are heavily invested in East Downtown Houston, and we felt that our latest development 'The Block' was a perfect location for a coworking concept," says Michael Sperandio, founding partner of Ancorian. "We work very hard to choose tenants that fit each specific development we create. After meeting Nick Clark and Dawson Williams of Common Desk, we felt like they were the best operators in the coworking space industry."

Houston's Common Desk location will have a warehouse feel and is expected to feature various amenities and member perks, including:

  • Fitness and wellness center concept, complete with towels and shower facilities
  • Outdoor patio and terrarium
  • Multi-level seating
  • Wet bar and shared kitchen
  • Skylights that will bring in natural lighting
  • Event space
  • Murals and local art

"This group puts together all the necessary elements to draw people into their workspaces," Sperandio continues. "They focus on great design, thoughtful and functional space layout, and they have created an energetic and comfortable environment that attracts new members and keeps existing members loyal to the Common Desk brand. We feel that Common Desk's vision for an experiential workspace will make this one of the best locations to work in the entire city."

Houston's Common Desk members will have access to other Texas locations. Courtesy of Common Desk