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