Let’s face it: Even the best things can come with a few drawbacks. As coworking spaces become more common and readily available than ever, it’s hard not to wonder whether the concept of a communal, collaborative, and fully-stocked working environment is simply too good to be true.
Yet research continues to suggest that coworking spaces are not only practical but are also a great way for startups and small businesses to improve company culture and productivity.
This doesn’t mean coworking isn’t without its misconceptions, though, which is why we’ve compiled a few of the most common coworking myths and the truth behind them:
Working a public coffee shop may seem like an easy way to get “free” office space. Besides the amazing smell, coffee shops and cafes fail to provide the same amenities and luxuries you’d find in a coworking space.
At a coffee shop, for example, seating isn’t guaranteed. In a coworking space, you can pay for a designated area (whether it be in a private office, shared area, or designated desk) so you never have to worry about finding a spot by a power outlet. Your space is guaranteed every day.
Speaking of coffee, the coworking spaces at Alley provide unlimited coffee, tea, cereal, and snacks throughout the day - so you don’t have to worry about paying for refills!
● High-Speed Internet
● Office Supplies
● Conference Rooms
● Phone Booths
● And More
While working from a coffee house might seem like a great way to save money on office space, the fact of the matter is your productivity can actually suffer without the promise of a designated, professional working environment.
Compared to a home office, coworking spaces may seem distracting in concept. After all, there are many like-minded professionals hustling to get work done around you. At first blush, additional people in the room may seem like little more than added noise. In reality, there are two reasons a bustling work environment is actually a good thing - not a distraction.
1. A busy workplace keeps you busy. If you’ve ever worked in a home office, you know how easy it is to take a quick TV break or nap when you aren’t feeling productive. Now, imagine feeling that way but instead of sitting in your house, you’re in a professional office space with other freelancers, small companies, and entrepreneurs. Seeing other people push through the day and achieve their goals isn’t a distraction; it’s an inspiration and can motivate you and your employees to turn “I just need a few minutes to relax before my next task” into “I need to power through this assignment so I can start working on the next one!”
2. “Distractions” are actually networking opportunities. If you work from home or in an independent office, networking probably isn’t part of your daily grind. After all, the opportunity to network simply doesn’t exist if you surround yourself with people from your own business every day. By planting your roots in a coworking environment, you stand a better chance to meeting someone who could be a potential asset to your business, someone you could learn from, or someone who can benefit from your unique skillset.
Finally, keep in mind that virtually all coworking spaces come with quiet rooms or phone booths for the times you need to really plug in and get some work done in peace and quiet.
If you’re afraid a shared workspace won’t anticipate everything you (and your business) need, think again!. In fact, shared office spaces are known for their ability to accommodate virtually every type of business - from freelancers to entrepreneurs and small business startups. With communal spaces, conference rooms, scanners, printers, etc., a coworking space will most likely have everything your business requires to be successful.
● Unlimited coffee and tea
● Nursing rooms
● Designated community manager
● Cleaning services
● Conference rooms
● The option to rent a private office with customizable walls
● Office supplies (printing, etc.)
● High-speed internet
● Quiet rooms for phone calls
Sure, working office spaces are a fantastic option for startup (and solo!) businesses. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t a viable - or even ideal - solution for established companies too. In fact, most coworking spaces provide membership options for private offices. These offices are ideal for small to medium-sized teams and businesses large enough to merit their own, customizable workspace.
What’s more, private offices in coworking spaces still provide the luxury of conference rooms, office supplies, and all the necessary items you need to run a business with the added benefit of a networking-friendly, collaborative office environment.
When it comes to company culture, location can only do so much. While having a building with your logo on the side might seem like a great way to inspire a positive “culture” among your employees, the reality is this: Company culture starts from the inside. In other words, a company with a positive culture will have that same culture regardless of their office space.
Additionally, working in a shared space can actually propel employees to take greater pride in their company culture and branding because they get the opportunity to share it with other entrepreneurs and startups on a daily basis. Inspiring company culture in a coworking environment is easy if you have the right tools.
● Invest in branded office supplies like coffee mugs or mousepads
● Write a value statement for your company and display it in your coworking space for all to see
● Plan time for your team to get to know each other outside of the office as well as during work hours
● Work with your office community manager to discover new ways to inspire unity and collaboration on your own team and with others
● Give new employees “swag bags” so they can proudly display your branding and logos - and immediately feel like part of the family
In large cities like NYC, renting a traditional office space is nothing short of pricey. On top of that, even new businesses are typically forced to sign a leasing contract that locks them into high monthly payments for several years (as many as five or ten, depending on the building owner).
Additionally, office rentals may require you to show a certain amount of profitability in your businesses before they will even consider you for an office space lease, making it difficult for entrepreneurs or newer businesses to find the space they need for a fair price.
Coworking spaces, on the other hand, are designed to accommodate all types of businesses - from side-hustles to established companies looking for the best bang-for-your-office-space-buck. In many cases, a coworking space will ask for little more than a deposit and - voila! - you’re ready to set up your new office and get to work.
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