Coworking by definition is a physical space where many companies can work together. The companies benefit from sharing office amenities such as conference rooms, bathrooms, printers, front desk staff, and internet access and by being a part of a community.
According to researchers at the Harvard Business Review:
There seems to be something special about coworking spaces. As researchers who have, for years, studied how employees thrive, we were surprised to discover that people who belong to them report levels of thriving that approach an average of 6 on a 7-point scale. This is at least a point higher than the average for employees who do their jobs in regular offices, and something so unheard of that we had to look at the data again.
The article went on to elaborate why their researchers found such high levels of happiness and satisfaction in coworking spaces:
Unlike a traditional office, coworking spaces consist of members who work for a range of different companies, ventures, and projects. Because there is little direct competition or internal politics, they don’t feel they have to put on a work persona to fit in. Working amidst people doing different kinds of work can also make one’s own work identity stronger. Our respondents were given the opportunity to frequently describe what they do, which can make what they do seem more interesting and distinctive.
Each coworking space will typically have a unique feel both physically in design and layout and as a community.
Types of CoWorking Options
In coworking facilities, there are typically 3 options for how members can work. Some coworking spaces offer only 1 or 2 of the following types while others offer all 3.
Hot Desk or Lounge membership- This allows access to open areas, and often conference rooms. You are not assigned a specific place to work but you come in, find an open seat and are able to get to work. With this membership, you have the benefits of a professional work environment but do not typically have storage space to keep your computer overnight. Think of it like going into a library but with better professional amenities.
Dedicated Desk- This is pretty much what it sounds like, you have your own private desk, you often have a place you can leave your items overnight but you do not have your own private office. This is a great option for anyone who doesn’t need a ton of privacy and is working by themselves
Private offices- A private office offers the privacy of an office with the benifits of being located in a coworking space. A bit of the best of both worlds
What You Should Look For in a Coworking Space
Coworking can take on many forms, from an open layout, to private offices, to carefully curated events that make a real sense of community.
A good coworking space provides much more than real estate, it creates an environment for businesses to thrive.
A great coworking space creates a place for people to find purpose in their work.
Why Businesses Choose Coworking
There are many reasons businesses choose coworking, here a few of the main reasons
1. Community and Experience- Where people work can affect the quality of their work. Having a great environment can help a business’s work product as well as helping to recruit high-quality future talent.
Being a part of a coworking environment you also get the benefits of the other businesses in your space. For example, maybe you need a lawyer and there happens to be a small law firm working in the same space. This is a win win, the lawyer gets more business and you get the services you need.
2. Money- A business can save a huge amount of money by choosing a coworking space over a traditional office. In New York City, 10 person startup can easily spend well over $150,000 just to get set up with a lease and furnishings. The same company could spend less than $75,000 for a coworking space and also a lot less time and energy setting up the real estate. Below I break down the cost comparison of a 10 person office in NYC.
Private Office Costs 10 Person Office NYC First 12 months
- Rent- $70,000- 12 months- According to Cushman Wakefield average Manhattan office rents are over $70 per square foot
- Security Deposit- $70,000- Standard 12 month security deposit
- Construction Buildout- $10,000-$30,000
- Furniture- $$10,000-30,000+ Varies by office
- Printers, Network, Wifi- $$10,000-
- Typical Commitment Length- 3 years+
- Ability To Change Office Size- No
- Total- $160,000-$200,000
- Rent- $65,000
- Security Deposit- $10,000
- Construction Buildout- $0
- Furniture- Provided in rent
- Printers, Network, Wifi- Included in rent
- Typical Commitment Length- Month-to-Month
- Ability to Change Office Size- Yes
- Total- $75,000
3. Flexibility- As a business grows or shrinks they can change office size to accommodate their changing company. Coworking spaces can have companies ranging in size from 1 person to over 100 people.
Every coworking space is a bit different but here are a few amenities you can find at most coworking spaces
- Wifi & Internet (hopefully fast)
- Conference Rooms
- Mail Services
- Community Manager/ Reception
- Community Events
Coworking is changing the way people work. While coworking may not be the right fit for every business. It is an excellent way of working that offers great options for many companies to build, grow and thrive.