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Technology Tip

Technology Tip
Dave Pelland has extensive experience covering the business use of technology, networking and communications tools by companies of all sizes. Dave's editorial and corporate experience includes more than 10 years editing an electronic technology and communications industry newsletter for a global professional services firm.

Taking Advantage of Co-Working Spaces

Taking Advantage of Co-Working Spaces

For small businesses looking for a workspace outside of the owner’s home or a coffee shop, co-working spaces offer an attractive alternative that’s becoming more popular.

A co-working space offers companies or sole proprietors access to desks, offices and other amenities in a facility that’s shared with other business owners and employees. Most co-working spaces offer meeting and conference rooms, high-speed Internet access and ergonomic furniture as well as shared lobbies and kitchens. Some spaces may offer access to videoconferencing equipment a company may need on a one-time or occasional basis.

Co-working spaces offer a convenient way for a solo business to set up shop outside the principal’s home without having to spend all day in a noisy coffee shop or copy center, while gaining many of the advantages of a traditional office.

The primary attraction for small businesses is that co-working spaces are typically less expensive than leasing a dedicated office. Most facilities offer hourly, daily and monthly usage plans, as well as the ability to adjust your space to accommodate your business needs. This allows a company to set up a workplace without having to hunt for a leased office – not to mention avoiding the associated cost commitment, negotiations and paperwork.

In addition, many co-working spaces are located in commercial districts, allowing your company to have a presence near customers or clients as well as access to the post office, restaurants or other businesses you may visit regularly. Some larger co-working spaces offer on-site daycare, adding the convenience of not having to add another stop to your daily work routine.

Flexibility and Collaboration

The on-demand nature of co-working spaces also increases your company’s workplace flexibility. For instance, you may have team members who work together in the co-working space a couple of days, while working remotely the rest of the week. Or you may need to add a couple of temporary workers for a specific project or to meet seasonal demand. Either way, it’s easy to adjust the space you’re using.

Another attractive benefit of co-working spaces for small businesses is getting to know the other tenants you’re sharing the space with. Most facilities offer networking events where business owners get to meet their co-working neighbors, who can provide a source of referrals.

In some instances, companies offering complementary services, such as a web designer and a commercial photographer, can work together on projects. In others, a business owner looking for an attorney, accountant or other professional may find a suitable provider in the next office or down the hall.

Some co-working spaces offer affiliations with facilities in other cities, allowing you to use a space while you’re traveling.

Choosing a Space

As the number of co-working spaces grows in many cities and towns, it’s becoming easier to find a facility that’s a good fit with your needs and work style. Some suggestions and questions to ask before making your choice:

  • Take advantage of trial offers. Most spaces allow you to spend a day without charge, so you can evaluate the facility.
  • How loud is the co-working space? A quiet environment may matter to some, but not to others.
  • Do you need off-hours access? Most offer 24-hour access, but some don’t.
  • How’s the security? Would you be comfortable leaving equipment overnight?

If you find a facility that meets your criteria, a co-working space can offer a cost-effective alternative to leasing an office.


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