The pros and cons of a co-working office

Remember the old days of office work?

A 9 am-sharp start, trapped in a sectioned off workstation for the best part of day – save for the odd five minute conversation with colleagues here and there – before finally clocking off at 5pm.

Eight hours of mindless grind.

It’s not like that these days though, not only are people working from home on a more regular basis, they’re also sharing their work space with entirely different businesses.

So could co-working be an option for you and your business?

What is co-working?

Co-working is when one working environment (usually an office) is used as a shared space by workers from a number of different companies or sectors. This is often done as a way to share rental and equipment costs, as well as ideas and industry knowledge.

What are the benefits of co-working?

The first and most obvious benefit of co-working is that a shared office space equals shared rental costs and possibly even shared equipment costs, and so it’s a great way to cut overheads.

This means your business may be able to set up a convenient city centre location it may not otherwise have been able to afford.

Another benefit of co-working is that having a number of workers from different industries, or similar ones for that matter, can work wonders for productivity and idea generation.

And this environment is also a very effective way of building up a contacts list and drumming up business.

All of which sounds so ideal it’s anyone’s guess why we’re not all co-working – it’s not all plain sailing though…

What are the disadvantages of co-working?

Although co-working is a great way to cut costs, it can cause problems if certain business are using the facility more than others, thereby using more energy and putting greater wear-and-tear on the equipment.

So if you’re going to be sharing a space, make sure it’s set out early what percentage of the costs each business should pay, making sure to account for those companies who could prove to be a bigger drain on resources.

Then there’s the problem of not getting along with your co-workers, and while this can be a problem in any office, it can usually be overcome by the fact everyone is pushing in the same direction and working for the same cause.

But this is rarely the case in a co-working space and you could even find yourself in direct competition with some of the people you share with. And if people in the office grate with you on a personal and professional level it can be a recipe for disaster.

So make sure you choose carefully the people and the space you share, and if you’re not quite ready you could give something like a virtual office, self-storage space, or even a coffee shop a trial run first.

And if you get co-working right, it can be great for business on so many levels.

A day in the life of a co-working space

Office life can be pretty hectic, and co-working office life is no different, as employees from all industries meet and mingle.

Are you working in a co-working space? Let us know how it’s going…