people coworking in shared office space

The Biggest Pros and Cons of Shared Office Space

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    Every business is different, and so are its needs. That’s why finding the perfect office is so important. Shared office space can be beneficial when shared with the right people, increasing productivity and making collaborative projects a breeze. It can be stressful if too many people are in one area, though, or if there’s not enough desk space for everyone to work comfortably and efficiently. 

    Whether shared office space is right for your operations depends on things like budget, if you’re a startup or established company, the amount of space you can afford to rent, and your business needs. Let’s dive into the advantages and disadvantages of shared workspace and see how it compares to private offices. 

    Understanding Shared Office Space

    Sharing office space, otherwise known as “coworking spaces,” typically refers to floorplans of rented private offices or desk groups that share common areas with other tenants. Some membership-focused models act as temporary offices for remote workers who can purchase monthly passes to rent desks or workspaces throughout the building. 

    two companies coworking in a shared office space

    This flexibility can be fun for networking and referrals, but it also means you will be sharing select areas — conference rooms, kitchens, lounges, bathrooms, and more — with members of other companies, and that everyone utilizing the space may not be working for yours. This is a popular option for freelancers and startups that can’t afford to lease a private workspace, but it may not be the best option for all companies or operations. 

    If this option seems like something your business may need, then a shared office space could be the perfect addition to optimize and meet your business needs.

    3 Things to Consider about Coworking Spaces 

    Those who are on the fence about whether a shared workspace might be right for their companies’ operations have plenty of questions to mull over. Here are a few things you might want to keep in mind as you make your decision: 

    1. Costs matter.
      You’ll want to consider the real estate market and location expenses for both private offices and coworking spaces. Cost analysis is important, but that figure needs to include the details that will impact your ability to operate productively. There are negative implications of not having things like peaceful environments for detailed or high-priority work, after all, as inefficiency in your workforce caused by distractions might offset the savings from a lower-cost coworking space.
    2. Have long-term goals in mind.
      If your goal is to move into a private office at some point, you might consider a shared office space with a short-term lease. This will mean that you’re ready to move into a private location with a longer-term commitment when it’s the right business move, not before. This is a good way to save money and ensure your company is headed in the right direction before paying for more expensive rent.
    3. Connectivity issues happen in shared spaces.
      Shared office spaces mean more people will be using the Wi-Fi than in a private office. If your company highly relies on internet connectivity for your work, this may not be the best option — unless you’re paying for a location with high-speed internet. Be sure to discuss this with the landlord before signing the lease.

    You’ll want to take stock of your company’s business needs when deciding if sharing office space will be a productive choice. This includes office supplies, the types of work setups you’ll need, whether there are meeting spaces or event spaces, and more. 

    The Pros and Cons of Shared Office Space

    There are many advantages of coworking spaces, not least of which is the ability to save money on office rentals and have some of your amenities — electric, Wi-Fi, maintenance, cleaning, and more — covered as part of your monthly rent. Here are a few of the other pluses in such setups:

    • Various Perspectives
      Meeting rooms or conference rooms are great, but shared workspace allows you to conveniently look to others for their opinions as needed.
    • Collaborating
      Closer quarters and fewer walls often makes it easy to collaborate, and could help coworkers build stronger partnerships with each other.
    • Furnished Space & Amenities
      A shared office space will typically already be set up with items you negotiated during your initial lease signing process. This often includes being furnished, having on-site coffee shops or kitchens with appliances, dedicated desks, and more.
    • Hot Desks
      Top-of-the-line coworking spaces often help reduce real estate needs and allow you to be more organized. Hot desks are used by different people at different times, but maximize space efficiency and cut back on the cost of things like additional computers.
    company experiencing cons of shared office space while coworking

    There are also some downsides to sharing space with many other employees and companies, however. Sound carries in a typical office environment, so it’s easy to imagine that it would do the same with fewer dividers and more types of businesses working in the same area. Here are some of the other cons to working in a coworking space:

    • Sharing
      Sharing a workspace can be frustrating for those that are more introverted or prefer to tackle projects on their own, and being around coworkers all the time without many opportunities to separate themselves might feel distracting at times.
    • Stepping on Toes
      It more than likely won’t be intentional, but having multiple employees in one space for too long can create frictions. People might begin to feel as if their quality of work isn’t their best, simply because there are too many aiming for the same goals in one space.
    • Lack of Organization
      You may have rules within your own team about refilling the coffee maker when you’re the last to use it or cleaning dishes rather than stacking them in the kitchen sink, but other teams might not have the same directives. This can become frustrating if you’re hoping to keep things organized a certain way, but other teams are less receptive to — or respectful of — shared spaces.
    • Lack of Control
      One of the biggest downfalls with leasing shared office space is not having the say-so on how the space is designed. You opt-out of the control on customizing your workspace when you opt into sharing, which can become difficult if you need more space between coworkers to match comfort levels or want to pop into a breakout room to make a phone call but can’t because the spaces are already taken.

    Additional Questions? Ask the Experts

    There are many things to consider when deciding on leasing shared or private office space, and that process alone can feel stressful. At Genau Group, we work with professionals each day to ensure their real estate needs are being met with workspaces that exceed their expectations and include everything they need to be as productive as possible. 

    Contact our team today to learn more about your options and get started searching for the perfect space for your company.