As a way to cut costs, more and more small business owners are turning to coworking spaces rather than traditional, independent office suites. While coworking spaces are most prevalent in major cities, smaller cities and suburban areas are seeing a rise in them, too.
Coworking spaces allow you to either rent a dedicated individual office or suite, or pay for passes to work in their open work areas. They all operate differently. But you you can always expect to share common spaces (and maybe even workplaces) with other individual and companies. There are big benefits to this.
Is a Coworking Spaces Right for You?
There are, of course, many pros and cons that come with working in a coworking space. While they can be especially great for remote workers or freelancers who still want an office away from home to go to during the day, hosting your employees day in and day out in a coworking space is a little different.
If you have remote workers, coworking spaces make a lot of sense – they help to make workers feel more connected, even without all being in the same physical space. There are also many networking opportunities, as well as various amenities to take advantage of
However, there are a few potential downsides to relocating your entire office to a coworking space. For one thing, you cannot always predict the level of noise. If your employees need a space to be particularly quiet, be sure to inquire about that – and physically visit the space – before signing a rental agreement.
Also, coworking spaces invite a lot of innovative startups thanks to the inherent lack of structure – which may or may not be good for your employees. If they are motivated self-starters, this shouldn’t be a problem – but you know your own expectations.
Finally, as a manager, it’s most important that you provide a safe work environment for your employees. In a coworking space with its own management company, you will have less control over this.
What to Look for in a Coworking Space
Renting your spot in a coworking space could mean working in a communal room alongside other remote workers. It could mean having your own suite for you and your team members while still sharing common spaces with other individuals and companies. However, not all coworking spaces are created equal. When scouting the best place for you and your employees, be sure to take the following questions into consideration:
- Is this environment going to be conducive to productivity?
- Will your employees feel safe and not discriminated against? What are the coworking space’s policies in regards to workplace discrimination and sexual harassment?
- Is the atmosphere professional enough for what you’re looking for?
It may seem strange and different to share common spaces with others not on your team. If you decide the pros outweigh the cons, a coworking space can be quite beneficial. Be proactive and make the coworking space work for you and your employees. Check out how below.
1. Opportunities to Make Connections
In a coworking space, you will by design be surrounded by people from other companies (and even other industries!). Use this to your advantage. Since everyone in the coworking space is in the same boat – that is, working around other people and companies in an unfamiliar environment – it pays to go the extra mile and say “hello.” You may end up with a new colleague, or even a few new clients!
Encourage your employees to partake in community events. A lot of coworking spaces host happy hours, informational sessions, networking events, and even recreational groups. By encouraging your workers to embrace this unconventional space, they’ll see how many positives and interesting opportunities there are. After all, happy employees are good for business.
2. Use the Many Resources
Most coworking spaces come with dedicated community management teams and other representatives that are there to help you. Ask them questions, and use them as the resource they are – if you have a problem with the space, they are there to help! Plus, making positive connections with these individuals can be good for you later on. For example, if you’re on friendly terms with the community managers and they know you’re looking for a bigger office suite, they might let you know first when one becomes available.
3. A Space to Impress Clients
You may not be able to afford your own independent office space with the kind of décor that really shines. But with a coworking space, you don’t need to. Many of these spaces have multiple sizes of conference rooms and other common spaces that you can reserve for meetings with your team or clients. Clients will be particularly impressed with the friendliness and professionalism of the coworking front desk staff, as well as the beautiful, high-tech conference room spaces that line the halls of so many of these communities.
4. Give Remote Workers a Professionals Place to Go
If some of your employees work remotely in another city, they may start to feel isolated while working in a home office. Paying for a membership in a coworking space, or even a dedicated office, can make them feel more like an important part of the team. This is helpful whether they are in your immediate area to come into your space or across the country to have a place to go and interact with others. It can also help boost productivity to give them a space to go to without the distractions of home. The cost is relatively small. The payoff can be enormous.
Remote employees also have special needs. They don’t easily have to ability to learn from others by working from home. Coworking space will keep them sharper – and therefore more productive!
5. Take Advantages of Amenities
Finally, many coworking spaces come complete with amenities that seem like total perks in a traditional office. They generally offer unlimited coffee and occasional snacks, as well as beautiful, inviting kitchen spaces that are a joy to take breaks in. Some even have ping pong tables and other recreational facilities. Of course, you should check that they don’t offer anything that’s against your company’s policy. For example, many coworking spaces offer beer on tap. But if it’s against your policy for employees to consume alcohol at work, that kind of space probably isn’t right for you.