By this point in time we’ve all heard of coworking spaces – we know the national giants and we’ve seen the local companies during our daily commutes. So why is coworking such a hot topic? And is it something you should consider for your business? Here we’ll explore several areas that can impact a company’s decision to move into a coworking space.
Traditionally, coworking spaces were an ideal platform for the lone wolf entrepreneur who wanted to work outside the walls of their home, and for small startups that hadn’t quite made a name for themselves or didn’t have the capital/financial history to take on a long term lease. Present day, although still true, we’re seeing companies of all sizes using coworking spaces as an integral aspect of their businesses – from the one to three man operation, all the way up to enterprise giants. What’s the general appeal? Flexibility. These shared spaces pass the more intensive leasing obligations from building owners to the coworking operators. This means the coworking owner takes on the long-term lease, and is able to create more flexible short-term subleases for you to fill their space. When companies are waiting on the completion of TI renovations for their new office, they may seek out a coworking space as a temporary place of operation. An enterprise company preparing for employee growth over the coming years may want the ability to scale when their ready, without having to sign an expensive long term lease for an office that will sit half empty until that time comes. The lease flexibility coworking spaces offer satisfies both needs. Once you’re in, the ability to scale up in times of growth, or shrink during a downturn, become available in a much more attainable way than traditional office leases afford. Add in the new accounting changes going into effect later this year, and short term flexible leases can be very appealing for companies seeking lending or investors.
Gyms, coffee stands, restaurants, networking spaces, meeting rooms, and more. Amenities are huge for both attracting the talent you want, and keeping the talent you have. There are differences in today’s world of amenities between those that attract versus retain. As younger generations enter the work force, architects and coworking operators are hard pressed to stay up-to-date on the latest workplace trends as to what these future leaders want out of an office space…and they’re delivering. With so many companies offering remote work options due to demand, we’re finding that this new wave of workers is increasingly looking for seamless work-life balance. In walking into a coworking space for the first time, prospective employees enter a world of sensory overload compared to stepping in to a traditional office space. Aromas of freshly brewed coffee, lunch specials from a local cafe, and views of a nicely kept gym. Operators are staying competitive to not only attract new tenants, but allow for those tenants to attract who they’re seeking.
On the flip side, retention is just as important. And what may attract a new prospect to an office space, may not be what keeps them long term. From wellness to private and collaborative spaces, there are areas of the office that are necessary to keep employees happy. The idea of a shared working space is just that; shared. Fortunately for employees that find themselves on phone calls throughout the day, “phone booth” type nooks are an addition you’ll find on your quest for shared space privacy. On the wellness side operators are getting creative to meet tenant needs. Treadmill desks and even stationary bicycle desks are making a comeback, while attention to air quality and custom lighting options are seen more and more.
Yes there are many upsides to seeking coworking as a viable option for your business. Depending on what your overall company goals encompass, creating your own unique company culture and brand identity can sometimes be hindered by shared working space. Fact of the matter is, when you choose a coworking space it is already furnished, and you are (to a limit) subscribing to the vibe of the space you choose to operate out of. With so many options to choose from, it is arguable that you can find a space that aligns with your company values and gives off the perception you want. At the end of the day, if you had the ability to design your work space and pick out the furnishings and amenities that not only align with your values and brand identity, but are also geared toward attracting and maintaining the talent you want – then going with a space you can outfit yourself may be the right move for you. Maybe you’ll find a coworking space that has all the amenities you want, similar tenants in neighboring offices, an attractive lease, and nice furniture…but nothing will compare to the brainchild your team comes up with to most accurately represent your company and its’ identity.
Within coworking spaces are upsides, downsides, needs, and wants. So what’s important to you when looking for your next work space? Is it snazzy, eye-catching amenities? Is it flexibility in leasing terms? Or is branding and company culture driving your decisions? Whatever the factors you consider, coworking offers a wide range of options to explore.