Comparing Coworking Spaces to Traditional Commercial Offices
– 5 minute read –
Coworking versus commercial spaces: Which should you chose?
Here we have outlined some of the pros and cons of coworking spaces versus commercial offices to help you make your decision of where your business will be based just that much easier.
Pro – Flexibility
Coworking spaces generally operate on a month to month basis, giving the member greater flexibility compared to traditional commercial offices which typically require a three year minimum commitment. A month- to-month arrangement allows your office space to scale up, or if required, scale down to limit expenses during lean months. As such, coworking works well for businesses that have changing needs throughout the year.
Pro – You can often work out of more than one location
The mobile and flexible nature of a coworking office often means that you are not tied to just one location. Once you set up a traditional office space, you are tied to that particular address for the long-haul. However, making use of coworking spaces means that you can move to different locations around the city, or across the country, as your business demands.
Pro – Save money on marketing
Particularly for start-ups and fledging companies, coworking spaces represent a great opportunity to network with potential clients which can greatly reduce (or even eliminate) marketing costs.
Pro – No extra costs
An initial analysis might make it seem that coworking spaces are quite expensive. However, it is important to remember that these fees are (generally) all-inclusive. Conversely, in a commercial space, once the rent is paid, there are many other costs such as furniture, utilities, maintenance services and office equipment that must be factored into the equation.
Pro – Community support
Being part of a coworking space includes much more than a desk and excellent wi-fi. Although the nature and strength of coworking communities varies between different spaces, almost all offer some kind of community which you can become part of. These communities can allow entrepreneurs and start-ups to support one another through the difficult process of running their own business.
Coworking spaces also offer incredible networking opportunities as they are filled with a range of people with diverse talents and connections. Instead of being limited to people within your organisation or business, coworking spaces allow you to network with a wide talent pool of people who may become suppliers, collaborators, mentors or even investors. This wide network also provides opportunities for exposure to new ideas and solutions which ultimately leads to personal and professional growth.
Con – Distractions
Coworking spaces can be busy and noisy environments. Depending on the architecture of the space (and whether you work from a desk in an open plan space or a private office), the environment could impact on your concentration and productivity. Being able to network and socialise while working may sound too good to be true – and it may be, for some people. This challenge can often be solved by choosing a private office option as opposed to an open plan space that tends to be busier.
Con – Less privacy
You may find that a traditional commercial space offers more privacy. Certain businesses may work with clients in a private environment due to sensitive issues that are discussed. Coworking spaces vary in terms of offering options which may, or may not, offer the level of privacy these types of businesses need. However, if you run the type of business or counselling service where privacy is paramount, choosing a private office within a coworking space generally solves this problem quite effectively.
Con – Less control of your space
The advantage of traditional commercial offices is your ability to tailor the furniture and decor to your business. Although this varies depending on the property type and lease arrangement, in a traditional commercial space you can often choose the signage, structure and furnishings. In coworking spaces however, this con is turned into a pro, as furniture, and fit-out are pieces that are not part of your core business model and therefore better left to people with more experience effectively creating these types of spaces.
There are a range of pros and cons to coworking spaces when compared to traditional commercial offices. From our analysis, coworking definitely wins out. While some people might be wary of some of the differences that coworking life provides, most people find the benefits greatly outweigh the costs. Coworking allows your business to save money, provide a huge degree of flexibility, allows the professionals to take care of the fit-outs, and of course creates a built in network of “coworkers.”