By Kayla Matthews
Co-working office spaces are popping up all over the country and inspiring people to look at office culture in a new way. In the past five years, co-working office spaces have grown 21 percent and are expected to grow two to four percent more each year.
What Is a Co-Working Office Space?
Co-working office spaces are designated workspaces shared among remote and independent workers who want the sense of an office without the competitive corporate atmosphere. In addition to offering desks and work lounges, co-working spaces often provide other office amenities like meeting and conference rooms, coffee machines and kitchens. The goal is to provide a productive working environment with a better culture than the traditional cubicle or home office.
Benefits of Co-Working Office Spaces
With their emphasis on the individual having control over the workplace environment, co-working spaces are drawing more professionals each year. Harvard Business Review says co-working spaces also foster more dedicated employees and new ideas. Business News Wales also sports positive reports of co-working spaces, saying that 89 percent of people who co-work are happier than those who don’t.
Here are some other benefits of co-working office spaces.
- Sense of Community
Co-working office spaces provide a sense of community that you could normally get in the typical office environment — without the office politics. Workers who feel alienated and disconnected working from home or in a solitary space can take advantage of a co-working office, connecting with others and the working culture again.
- Networking Opportunities
Being with other professionals who are working in different industries and fields offers a prime opportunity to broaden your network. A small chat at the co-working kitchen or sharing a desk with someone you wouldn’t normally interact with could spark a potential partnership and friendship. Plus, you never know what ranks of professionals are sharing your space and can provide referrals and recommendations.
- Affordable Space
The average cost of a co-working office space is about $295 a month depending on location. Included are electricity, internet, air, heating and maintenance. Unlike in traditional office spaces, desks, chairs and other office furniture is provided. Some facilities even offer additional amenities, making it a better value than a traditional office.
With a co-working space, you use it when you need it. You’re not obligated to be there from nine to five or any other set of hours like in a traditional office, and you don’t have to be committed to using the space for longer than you want to. Co-working office spaces offer shorter lease and contract periods than typical office spaces.
Drawbacks of Co-Working Office Spaces
Even with all the benefits that co-working office spaces provide, there are drawbacks too, including the following.
The best thing you can do to help your productivity is to eliminate distractions. But when you’re working in a space that’s open to everyone, there are ample opportunities to become distracted.
Co-working office spaces are usually open-air and made for individuals who are coming and going. With people constantly moving around, arriving and leaving, your eyes can get drawn away from work. Plus, without walls to block sound, you can hear everyone’s phone calls, cell phone vibrations and music unless you have headphones in.
- Lack of a Designated Spot and Privacy
When you become comfortable in a certain place, you assume ownership. Because co-working spaces are shared, the spot you’ve come to be most productive at might be taken the next day, and you can’t personalize your desk without taking pictures and supplies home each day.
Most co-working spaces are also open air, which means everyone sees and hears what you do.
- Hidden Fees
Some co-working office spaces aren’t all-inclusive. There may be hidden fees or costs in addition to the amount you pay to rent your space, including:
- Commuting or transportation costs
- Purchasing food and drinks
- Renting a locker or other storage
- Printing and copying charges
- Reserving a meeting or conference room
Things to Consider
Before you select and lease a co-working or other office space, here are some things to consider:
- Length of lease or contract
- Workspace layout
- Internet speed
Choosing Your Office Space
When it comes to considering a traditional office or co-working office space, determine which one fits your productivity style. Changing your environment could be just the move you need to amp up your productivity and get things done.
About the Author: Kayla Matthews writes about communication and workplace productivity on her blog, Productivity Theory. Her work has also appeared on Talent Culture, MakeUseOf, The Muse and Fast Company.