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Is a Coworking Space Right for You?
  • 21 August 2017
  • Eric Michaels

Is a Coworking Space Right for You?

As your small business grows, so do your work space needs. It may be that your home office is now too small to support your operation, but at the same time, you may not have the resources to rent office space downtown. Fortunately, there is a middle ground for companies in the developing stages. These alternative office arrangements are called “coworking spaces” and they are springing up in cities around the world. Here are five ways to tell if a shared office space will work for you.

1. You need better work-life balance

A business owner working from home may decide that he or she can no longer juggle a business and family duties at the same time, in the same place. Frequent interruptions by your family can make difficult to get work done, and at the same time your family may need a break from your hectic business operations. Meanwhile, your employees and partners might become frustrated if they have no access to you because you’re taking care of family matters. If this keeps happening, you need to make a move, and a shared office space could be the solution.

2. You do not mind the company

In a typical shared working space, different businesses mingle in large rooms. Depending on the layout, you may have limited options in terms of furnishings or privacy. (For example, you may have a table or desk but not a cubicle or private office to keep out sound.) That means you and your team will have to get used to the idea of workshopping within earshot of other people. Some employees thrive in these situations, feeding off the energy and creativity in the shared room, while others might need to adapt to such an environment, especially if their work requires deep concentration. Just remember to discuss your new space with staff members before making the move.

3. You embrace the competition

Another way to think of a coworking space is as a way to push yourself competitively. Within the confines of your own home, you can tend to feel like you're always correct. However, when you are around talented people, you will feel challenged on several levels. Just listening to other people deliver proposals and discuss different strategies will help to keep you on your toes. Sometimes, organizations in competitive and complementary industries will share an office space, which can further inspire you to compete. If this sort of arrangement sounds appealing, you will benefit from the move.

4. You want to network

On another level, maybe you think of working alongside other businesses as an opportunity to network or collaborate with a neighbor. In fact, some young companies choose to enter into these unconventional offices with the idea that they will meet new partners. These other companies and potential partners may also want to exchange ideas and share advice and experience on effectively managing a small business. If you’re looking for more ways to network with people in your area, a coworking space is a perfect place.

5. You enjoy happy hour

One great, underestimated part of a shared office is the social aspect. Networking opportunities aside, solopreneurs who work in isolation miss out on daily interaction with other professionals and the chance to chat with them on a daily basis. And when Friday nights roll around, everyone can simply unwind and socialize. If you spend your days working by yourself, you miss out on this chance to pal around with colleagues, something that you may take great pleasure in.

Joining a coworking space doesn’t have to be a huge commitment, so if you want to try a shared office at a low cost, explore options in your area.

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