In a previous post, we discussed ways in which small business owners who run their company from home could keep “cabin fever” at bay by doing some of their work at locations with Wi-Fi and a change of scenery. For many of you, this can probably be a nice break, for others, the local Starbucks or Panera Bread has outgrown what you are looking for as has your home – but office space might not seem like a financially sound move for your business.
What is “shared office space,” you ask?
In a nutshell, shared office space is a solution for businesses that are looking for a place to work, but do not have the staff and/or resources to be tied to a long-term lease. These spaces allow businesses to lease space for one person for as little as one day. The fees associated with these spaces often include Internet and office supply usage (copies, faxes, conference rooms, postage, etc.).
While the biggest upside to this type of working arrangement can be seen in the cost savings and mental break from baristas or house pets, there are also a number of other perks to sharing a space with other businesses. Perhaps the biggest one is increasing your network. Because the other business owners coworking are probably in the same location as your business, you’ll be able to build up a network of strong contacts and even potential business partners while inhabiting the same space. Also, because you’ll see other professionals during the day, you’ll get that camaraderie and water cooler talk that you wouldn’t from your kittens or a Jerry Springer rerun (although, yelling “Jerry! Jerry!” might be fun).
On the flip side, sharing office space might not be for you. Depending on the location that you choose, your workspace may be different than you’re used to. So, if you are accustomed to having pictures of your children or a lucky paperweight at a certain spot, then you will have to decide if this is something that you can do without. You will also have to adjust to working with other people around you, another shift in your work style.
At the end of the day, when weighing whether or not shared office space is right for your business, the biggest upside is that you can test it out and change your mind at any time. So with a little risk you might be able to attain some big rewards. Here’s a recent write-up on these workspaces in New Orleans to help with your research.
Has your business used shared office space or coworking? If so, what did you think? We’d love to hear your experience in the comments below.