Coworking spaces are cool. There are couches, beanbags, table tennis, cool artwork, probably a top-of-the-line coffee machine. Well, that’s what most people think and for the most part, it’s true, but what are the real perks of working out of one? Perhaps more importantly, are there any negative aspects of being in a coworking environment? We’ve analysed three pros and three cons to give a realistic idea of what you can expect.
One of the major perks of coworking facilities is how cost effective it can be compared to leasing a traditional office. Whether you’re a solitary freelancer or a team trying to launch a start-up, you can rent desk space for drastically less than splashing out on a permanent workplace, and many operate on a month-by-month basis.
It can vary depending on the package or type of membership you purchase but coworking spaces tend to offer plenty of bang for buck. High speed wi-fi, good coffee, kitchen facilities, communal meeting rooms, comfortable furniture and ping pong tables are regularly included at the base level, while you can often upgrade for additional perks (a permanent desk, priority access to meetings rooms).
Coworking spaces are a hotbed of creativity and ambition, filled with motivated individuals working towards their own goals, provide a unique environment that can’t be replicated in an ordinary office. If members are willing to engage each other and collaborate, there is an opportunity to develop a genuine sense of community.
As great as it is having a hit of table tennis to break up the day, it can be very distracting if you’re trying to meet a tight deadline five metres away. The same goes for having sensitive conversations – coworking spaces tend to be open plan and designed for collaboration, so you might need to leave the building to get some legitimate privacy.
This isn’t so much of an issue for the solo freelancer but more for start-ups that are growing quickly and need to hire more staff, to the point where it might be time to think about a more permanent base of operations. At a certain point, a business reaches a point where it needs its own space.
You can do as much branding and social media marketing as you want but sharing an office with various other individuals and ventures limits the ability to put your own personal stamp on a business. You cannot customise the office to your personal preferences and until you have your own space, it won’t truly be ‘yours’.