Coworking spaces are becoming increasingly popular, as more and more people are realising the benefits of working in a collaborative environment. They offer both startup businesses and freelancers a place where they can work on their projects, meet other like-minded people, and take advantage of shared resources and amenities.
However, coworking spaces are not without their drawbacks and so it is important you weigh up every aspect before deciding if it is the right fit for you and your business.
In this article, we will take a look at the pros and cons of coworking spaces so that you can make an informed decision.
The Pros of Coworking Spaces
There are many advantages to coworking spaces, which is why they have become so popular in recent years. Some of the main benefits include:
1. Cheaper Rent
One of the main advantages of coworking spaces is that they can save you money on rent. If you are a startup business or freelancer working from home, the costs of setting up your own office can be prohibitive, particularly in high-rent areas like London or other major cities.
Renting a coworking space is often much cheaper and gives you access to all the resources and amenities you need to run your business effectively. This will provide you with more money to invest in your business and help it to grow.
2. Lease Flexibility
Another advantage of coworking spaces is that they offer lease flexibility. This means that you can rent a space for as long or as short a time as you need, which is ideal if you are not sure how long you will need the space.
This flexibility can also be beneficial if your business grows quickly and you need to move to a larger space. You will not be tied into a long lease and can easily move to a bigger coworking space. Many coworking spaces also come without a big deposit so you will not have to worry about that either.
3. Available Amenities and Facilities
Another main attraction of coworking spaces is the range of amenities and facilities they offer. Many coworking spaces have coffee shops, restaurants, and bars on-site, as well as meeting rooms and event spaces that can be used for networking or pitching to clients. This can make working in a coworking space much more enjoyable and productive than working from home alone.
There are also some coworking spaces that offer childcare facilities so you can bring your children with you to work. This can be a great way to save on childcare costs and get some quality time with your kids while you’re working.
Amenities and facilities can also be a great way to attract new talent to your business. If you are looking for talented employees, then being based in a coworking space with excellent amenities and facilities will make your business more attractive to potential recruits.
4. A More Focused Work Environment
Working from home has many benefits such as being able to create your own schedule and work in your pyjamas if you want to. However, it can also be quite distracting and make it difficult to stay focused on your work when there is nobody to tell you not to scroll on Facebook for an hour or check the latest videos on YouTube.
If you find it hard to focus when working from home, a coworking space can provide the perfect solution. Being around other people working on their own projects can help to motivate and inspire you, as well as provide a more focused work environment.
5. Networking Opportunities
One of the best things about coworking spaces is the networking opportunities they offer. When you are working from home, it can be quite isolating and you may not have many opportunities to meet other people or make business connections.
In a coworking space, you will be surrounded by other like-minded people who are also looking to network and build their businesses. This can provide you with a great opportunity to meet new people, make valuable business connections, and learn from other entrepreneurs.
When choosing a coworking space, try to find out who else is using the space and what kind of businesses they are in. This will help you to decide if the space is right for you.
6. A Sense of Community
Another advantage of coworking spaces is the sense of community they can provide. When you are working from home, it can be easy to feel isolated and lonely. However, in a coworking space, you will be surrounded by other people with similar interests and goals.
This can help you to feel more connected and motivated, as well as provide you with a support network and potential new friends. For some people, the office is the only time they meet other people and have the opportunity to socialize so if you are feeling isolated working from home, a coworking space can be a great way to meet new people and make friends. You could even sign up for a coworking space just one or two days a week and work from home the rest of the time so that you still have the best of both worlds.
7. Social Events
Many coworking spaces also host regular social events such as happy hours, evenings out and networking events. This can be a great way to meet other people in the space and learn about new businesses.
It can also be a great way to relax and unwind after a long day of work. Social events are usually optional so you can decide whether or not you want to attend but they can be a great way to make friends and feel like a bigger part of the community. Just remember, that as with any office party, you will need to see those people at work the next day so keep that in mind when the drinks come out!
8. Shared Knowledge and Skills
In a coworking space, you will have the opportunity to share skills with the other people there. This will enable you to save money and gain new skills. For example, if you are a web developer, you may be able to trade your skills for someone else’s marketing expertise.
This exchange of knowledge and skills can be mutually beneficial and may even lead to new business opportunities. It is also a great way to learn from others and gain new skills that you may not have had the opportunity to learn otherwise.
9. Flexible Hours
Another advantage of coworking spaces is that they often have flexible hours. Many spaces are open 24/7 so you can arrange your workday around your other commitments. This is better than renting a traditional office which are often only open during traditional business hours.
In a coworking space, you can usually come and go as you please which gives you more flexibility and freedom. This can be especially beneficial if you have young children or other commitments outside of work.
Just remember that if you are working in a shared space, you will need to be considerate of other people’s needs and schedules as well. For example, if you are working late at night, try to be quiet and respectful of others.
10. Some Scalability
Another advantage of coworking spaces is that they offer some scalability. This means that you can usually increase or decrease your space as your business grows or changes. For example, if you start out as an individual freelancer but then decide to hire an employee, you can usually find a bigger space within the same coworking facility.
This scalability can be beneficial for businesses that are growing or changing as it gives you the flexibility to change your space as your needs change. It can also save you money in the long run as you will not need to sign a new lease every time your business grows or changes.
The Cons of Coworking Spaces
While there are many advantages of coworking spaces, there are also some disadvantages that you should be aware of. These include:
1. Membership Fees
While coworking spaces are usually far cheaper than renting a traditional office, they can still be quite expensive, especially in big cities. If you are used to working at home for free, then the membership fees can really eat into your freelancing profits.
This is why it is important to do your research and compare prices before you commit to any coworking space. Prices can vary a lot depending on the location, facilities, and amenities that are included.
Make sure you know exactly what you are getting for your membership fee and whether it is worth the price. Some spaces may even be willing to give you a discount if you commit to a longer membership.
Another disadvantage of coworking spaces is that they can be quite distracting. As you will be sharing your space with other people, there is also the chance that some of them won’t be your cup of tea. They may be too noisy, have different working hours to you or just be generally disruptive.
Most coworking spaces have clear rules when it comes to noise levels but not all spaces enforce these rules. If you are someone who gets easily distracted, then a coworking space may not be the best option for you. In this case, you might find it more productive to work from home where you can control your environment and there are fewer distractions.
3. No Privacy
Another downside of coworking spaces is that they offer very little privacy. This can be a problem if you need to make private phone calls or have sensitive conversations with clients. You will usually have to book a meeting room if you need any privacy but this can be an inconvenience and it may not always be available when you need it. If you require a lot of privacy for your work, then a coworking space is probably not the best option for you.
4. Unprofessional Image
If you are trying to build a professional image for your business, then working from a coworking space may not be the best option. For example, when it is time to meet your clients or partners in person, bringing them to a coworking space could give off the wrong impression.
This is something that you will need to weigh up for yourself depending on your business and who your clients are. If you think it would be a problem, then you might be better off renting a traditional office space.
5. Little Customer Service
While most coworking spaces are run by professional companies, there is usually very little customer service available. This can be a problem if you have any issues with your membership or the facilities.
For example, if your internet connection goes down or you need help with something, you may not be able to get the assistance that you need. If you are in the middle of an important Zoom meeting or working on a tight deadline, this can be extremely frustrating.
6. Limited Scope for Growth
While coworking spaces do provide some opportunity for scalability, there is usually a limit to how much you can grow. For example, if you are a small startup with just a few employees that needs to suddenly double in size, you may be hard pushed to find a coworking space that can accommodate you.
This is something to keep in mind if you are thinking of using a coworking space for the long term. You may need to eventually move to a traditional office space as your business grows.
All in all, there are both advantages and disadvantages of coworking spaces. It is important that you identify your needs and weigh up all the pros and cons to decide whether this is the right setup for you. Remember that coworking space memberships are often very flexible so you can always give it a go, and if it’s not right for you, simply move to a traditional office or work from home.