If you live and work in a big metropolitan city, chances are you’ve come across a WeWork, Hive, Greendesk, Wix Lounge or Office Nomad co-working space before, and it’s no surprise as there are dozens of options in New York City alone. Shared office spaces give small business and entrepreneurs the benefits of office space in some of the most expensive neighborhoods and buildings for a price that’s affordable with the added benefit of perks like free coffee, beer and even arcade games; however, shared office spaces aren’t right for everyone or every business.
Pro: All your office needs for one price.
When working in a shared office space you don’t have to worry about setting up Wi-Fi networks, hiring a cleaner, refilling the soap dispenser, or ever running out of printer ink. Everything is taken care of by a team of community members for one flat monthly price. Shared office spaces also offer month to month plans, so you never have to worry about being locked into a year long lease if you find that you need more space or would rather work out of your apartment.
Con: Distractions abound.
One of the biggest downsides to sharing office space is the lack of privacy. Whether it’s glass walls, cubicles, or open desks your certain to overhear a conversation or get annoyed by your neighbor’s music selection. When you’re surrounded by dozens of people it can be easy to get distracted by a noise or someone walking by, especially since you’re in an office of small businesses where everyone is working on their own projects and keeping their own hours.
Pro: Never worry about signing for your Amazon order.
When your office is in a shared space like WeWork, there’s always someone at the front desk to sign for your packages if your having a lunch meeting or if you’re wrapping up a phone call. It’s one less thing to worry about as you grow your business.
Con: Protecting your privacy.
Depending on the nature of your work and how sensitive your information is, you may want to take extra care with client information, especially if the only thing between you and your office mates is a glass wall. Some well placed posters or the use of a conference room will help solve that problem, but it is something you’ll have to be diligent about.
Pro: There’s lot’s (lot’s!) of perks.
From free coffee and disposable biodegradable utensils to gym discounts and adult camp weekends, the perks offered at shared office spaces around the country can be pretty varied. So don’t hesitate to relax with a glass of beer while you take advantage of the vintage pinball machine.
Con: Be sure to book your conference room in advance.
Some shared work spaces have one conference room and you never have to worry about grabbing it for a quick meeting, others have a dozen and they’re booked up to a week in advance. This varies from office to office as some of your fellow entrepreneurs may never have a need for a phone booth or conference room and others may use them every day. How much of an issue this is will depend on the space your renting, the size of your team, and how often you even need them.
Pro: They have better furniture.
If the perks weren’t enough to get you into the office everyday, the stylish décor, funky couches, and cool conference rooms might do the trick. Whether you’re a millennial or baby boomer you’ll find something to love in the fun designs that are bound to motivate and inspire.
Con: Beware flu season.
If you’ve ever worked in an office you know that there’s going to be a time when everyone has one bug or another that’s going around. It’s no different with a shared office space and in some ways it could even be worse due to all the shared common areas that you don’t normally find in the typical office job. Be sure to stock up on antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizer.
Pro: And the best reason of all.
The networking!!! From marketing companies, to technology companies and interior design, the variety of companies you’ll come across is an opportunity not to be missed. Someone may have just the skill set you need to get that project done or knows someone that can help you make a sale or fix that bug in your code. You’re surrounded by dozens of entrepreneurial minded people, strike up a conversation while getting coffee or at one of the many networking events you never know what will happen.