Coworking spaces are gaining popularity over time and may soon overtake the traditional set-up of an office work-space. It is believed that by 2020, co-working spaces will be the norm in various places. This is especially the case for professionals such as independent contractors and freelancers. Despite their ever-growing popularity, those who have previously utilized these spaces have different opinions about them. We asked entrepreneurs and business owners about their thoughts on co-working spaces.
#1-Yay, it offers various opportunities
What a change coworking spaces have made in reducing the barriers of entry for startups. For entrepreneurs, “hanging your shingle” to legitimize your new business used to mean just that – capital investment in a building, including the equipment and furniture inside. This is an expensive proposition for a startup when the top “building” concern should be a steady revenue stream not a physical space. Coworking spaces also provide the opportunity for creative collisions” with other like-minded entrepreneurs and freelancers. Are there downsides to coworking? Sure. You need to share well, not be distracted when working in open collaborative environments, and there may be people there you don’t like. If there is – they won’t be there long because they may soon be out of business. Hopefully you won’t because you are easy to work with and investing your money in operating expenses that provide return on your investment. Yes, we love coworking and may never leave it.
Thanks to Tammy Broaddus, Overflow Storytelling Lab!
#2- Nay, distractions which reduce productivity
During the last 2 years we have tried with co-working spaces. But unfortunately we come to the conclusion that while they may be good places to work, they are not spaces where one can be productive. Because of the interruptions and distractions one receives, it is more efficient to generate a work space / office in the house, simply a separate room with a desk and a computer, it will be ideal to be more productive and obtain better results!
Thanks to Cristian Rennella, Calculator Buddy!
#3- Yay, they're supportive and offers room for collaboration
Yes, I use co working spaces, I love them! I work at the one here in San Diego area and every Week called Hera Hub. I have been a member since inception.Its amazing, beautiful and spa like. its a very special place.The ladies and gents who are members there are very supportive and we LOVE to collaborate.I am the insurance guru there too donating my time helping the membership with their insurance needs answering any questions they may have. During the first three yrs of my membership I didn't even have to network, I was getting all the networking and leads I needed thru Hera Hub.
Thanks to Katherine Wichmann Zacharias, KSWZ Insurance Services!
#4 – Nay, costs not worth the benefits
I’ve used coworking spaces in the past, and like them, but found the costs to not quite be worth the benefits. Sure, you get a desk, internet connection, perhaps coffee. More importantly, you get the camaraderie and feel of an office, and get to bounce ideas off other entrepreneurs. But for bootstrappers (like myself), I can get all of that elsewhere cheaper. I often work at cafes, restaurants, and coffee shops, where the “desk” and internet are included with your meal, and there are plenty of Meetup groups and support networks available to entrepreneurs as well. In the beginning, when every penny counts, that $300-500/month is better invested in your business. Later on, when you have some cash flow and may even want to provide physical work space to an employee or two, coworking spaces can be a great “first office” without the long-term commitment or hassles of opening a full office.
Thanks to Brian Davis, Spark Rental!
#5 – Yay, less costs and networking of employees
As an entrepreneur and creative thinker, I am very much pro coworking spaces. Coworking spaces are an excellent way to reduce the funding needed to start your business, while also allowing you and your employees to network and bounce ideas off of like-minded thinkers outside of your company. This ability to collaborate freely is a great way to harbor compelling strategies and ideas. Shared office spaces also give you access to ample desk space, break rooms, conference rooms, cleaning services, and many other amenities without having to foot the bill for all of these things up front – allowing you to hit the ground running and focus exclusively on growing your business.
Thanks to Matt Edstrom, BioClarity!
#6 – Yay, natural environment for networking
I'm a business consultant who uses coworking spaces extensively. The biggest reason I use them is not because of the most popular factor (affordability) but rather because it is one of the best natural environment for networking. I've found a number of terrific freelancers that I work with simply by sharing the same coworking space. This also allows me to vet people to make sure they are high-quality vendors. This is not a benefit you get when trying to hire freelancers online.
Thanks to Igor Kholkin, Online Marketing Consultant!
#7 – Yay, recreates office environment
Coworking spaces are amazing for fostering community and especially helpful when you’re first starting out and the feeling of isolation can be harsh on morale. I currently am CEO of a semi-remote company, and while we do have an “official” office, we have a few employees who choose to be full-time remote (and are not in Spain where our headquarters are). Rather than work from their homes or rent out office space where they will be the only employee, we have them working from co-working spaces which not only helps recreate an office environment where they can socialize, network, and just have other people to look at and interact with, but it helps for them to plan their workday and stick to office hours, reducing the problem where work hours blend into personal time, and leisure rooms and bedrooms somehow morph into workspaces and an employee can never truly be “off”. We want them to be “off” and have their own time, and coworking spaces have also helped us in that regard.
Thanks to Wences Garcia, MarketGoo!
#8 – Nay, not ideal for a growing business
When I founded Aspiro and knew that I would need more than my home office or a coffee shop, a coworking space at Treehouse in Addison was one of my first steps. They can be great spaces that offer some unique advantages, but as we began to grow, I quickly saw that our own space, while more of an investment, would ultimately provide us the unique space for our culture and brand to start to forge their identity. After nearly 6 months in our new dedicated space, we're grown significantly in both revenue and employee head count, and I think a portion of that is the improved working environment.
Thanks to Damon Gochneaur, Aspiro Agency!
#9 – Yay, connection with like minds
I use coworking spaces when I am traveling. Working out of a hotel room can quickly become very mundane. I enjoy being connected with a like-minded group of people. The #1 perk I have found from coworking spaces in my travels is networking with goal oriented driven people. The opportunity to network with small business owners, thinkers and entrepreneurs is invaluable. In fact, I have even picked up a few clients from all over the world from my time spent working in coworking spaces.
Thanks to Ian McClarty, PhoenixNAP Global IT Services!
#10 – Yay, its a current trend
Co-sharing office concept is the way to go brick-and-mortar is a thing of the past. In fact I can only think of a couple businesses that require a brick-and-mortar setting even Physicians now are using technology to interact with their patient and even make a diagnosis. Clients today are sophisticated they know that they don't need to actually physically be in the location with the person to conduct business and hence that's why most of us that are successful utilize co-share and tech to connect.
Thanks to Alexis Moore!
#11 – Yay, introduction to fellow entrepreneurs
I'm a location-independent artist and designer, working primarily out of Southeast Asia. Two of my favorite spaces are Hubud in Bali, Indonesia and Kohub in Ko Lanta, Thailand. Because I typically don't stay in the same place for very long, coworking spaces are great for quickly getting introduced to a community of fellow entrepreneurs. Most coworking spaces host speakers, arrange networking events, and provide opportunities for growing your business and connecting with others who are trying to do the same. An added perk is the great WiFi and access to office amenities like printers, scanners, and private rooms for conference calls.
Thanks to Cat Coquillette, CatCoq!
#12 – Nay, several reasons
I joined a co-working space in 2015, mostly to get out of my quiet, lonely apartment, but I didn't use it nearly as much as I expected. I was a member for about six months and probably went there 2-4 times a month. I'm a very social person and wanted to network, so I would walk up to people and introduce myself, but besides that, it was surprisingly hard to meet people. People would come in silently and plug in their laptops, silently go get coffee or take a break, work silently, and then silently leave. There was little good morning or eye contact. The social events (lunches) were good for networking, but even at $99/month, it wasn't worth it. The few connections I made didn't lead to the growth of my business and I didn't like the commuting time I lost when I could just work at home. Finally, it just didn't make sense to leave home for all the amenities I already have (internet, printer, coffee, etc.) and the hope that I might meet one new person each visit.
Thanks to Regina Rodríguez-Martin, Welcome Dialogue LLC!
#13 – Nay, huge downsides
My company started out in WeWork, but we became frustrated with the acoustics of the glass walls and general lack of privacy. So instead we moved to a traditional space, just a half block away from our WeWork address in midtown Manhattan. The space is much more comfortable and workable, but there's a huge downside: at WeWork, we could upscale and downscale easily from month-to-month, in response to our volume of business. At our new address, we can't do that, and it has been a big liability. I would say taking on this 5-year lease has been one of the biggest business mistakes I've made. To others, I would say: think long and hard before you choose to lose co-working flexibility!
Thanks to William Gadea, Idea Rocket LLC!