Shared office space
Sharing office space carries both positive and negative aspects, like supplied office furniture and lower costs but also the potential for distractions. — fizkes/Getty Images

A shared office space is a great option for anyone who doesn’t want to work from home and needs a flexible, low-cost alternative.

What is a shared office space?

A shared office space is also referred to as a coworking space. These are fully furnished office spaces that are shared by multiple businesses. Using one can be a great way for business owners to save time and money since the upfront costs are low.

Plus, a shared office space is more convenient than leasing an office on your own. Depending on the location you choose, a shared office space may come equipped with the following services:

  • Basic office equipment.
  • Access to high-speed Wi-Fi.
  • Office furniture.
  • A mailing address.
  • Conference rooms.

Advantages of a shared office space

Here are some of the biggest benefits to renting a shared office space:

  • Professional appearance: A shared office space can give your business a more professional appearance than having a remote team that works from home. This is especially true if you need to conduct client meetings or have customers visit your office regularly.
  • Community: Many people find working from home to be isolating. Plus, it may be inconvenient if you need to brainstorm and interact with your team regularly. And a shared office space can be a great way to interact and network with other business leaders in your community.
  • Flexibility: A shared office space is much more flexible than leasing an office building on your own. You won’t have to sign a multi-year lease, and most of the equipment is provided for you.
  • Low startup costs: And finally, a shared office space is a great option for businesses that are looking to save money. The lease is usually month-to-month, there’s no upfront deposit, and you can cancel at any time without incurring early cancellation fees.

A shared office space is also referred to as a coworking space.

Disadvantages of a shared office space

There are downsides to any business decision, and renting a shared office space is no exception. Here are some of the biggest disadvantages to consider:

  • Distraction: Anytime you work in an office building with other people, the potential for distraction exists. This can be especially true in a shared office space, where you don’t know what kind of work other business professionals will be conducting. If you need your office to be mostly silent, then a shared office space probably isn’t the best choice.
  • Workplace culture: The only team culture you have any say over is your own. When you share a coworking space with other businesses, you may come face-to-face with a company culture that you don’t agree with. So before renting a shared office space, learn more about the other companies using that same space.
  • May not accommodate business growth: When you’re in the beginning stages of growing a business, it’s difficult to predict how your business will grow. If you begin quickly adding new employees to your business, your shared office space may not be able to accommodate this growth.

Things to consider

Only you can decide if a shared office space is right for your business. But there are a few things you should keep in mind.

Since you’re renting a space in someone else’s building, make sure you understand the insurance liability requirements. You want to make sure that your business is protected under the general liability policy.

You should also find out if you’ll have 24/7 access to the office. Not everyone works traditional 9-to-5 hours, so extended hours would be a huge benefit.

And finally, take the time to find a coworking community that is a good fit culture-wise. Many negative shared office experiences are caused by poor compatibility with other office members.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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Published November 19, 2019