Could your team benefit from better productivity and improved collaboration? By Phil Domenico (Co-founder, Assemble Shared Office) As coworking spaces continue to build traction among freelancers, independent contractors and remote workers, shared offices mirror the same popularity with startups and small businesses. Think coworking is all about sharing desk space with strangers? Not necessarily. You can get your own office within the coworking space that’s just for your team. These private, separate areas offer a space for entire teams to collaborate. At the same time, you get to work surrounded by other companies who are members of the same coworking space. These independent units combine the benefits of a secluded office with the opportunities of an open coworking space. If you’re a startup or small business, you’ve got the best of both worlds! Read on for a few reason you might consider upgrading your coworking membership to move your team into your own office.
The shared office allows for the privacy of an office, but access to the main space. You have the option to network and hang in the communal area. But you can still hold private conversations in your own space. This means you’ll no longer have to try to find a quiet corner when partners come in for meetings. Or, you won’t have to take a client out to lunch in the quest of a private consultation. In fact, business can owners spend up to $5,000 a year on business meals alone. With a private space, you can invite clients in at any time and have peace and quiet to talk business.
2. Create Company Culture
Most shared office spaces are blank slates and will allow for customization. While coworking spaces develop cultures of their own from the mix of entrepreneurs conducting business in close quarters, shared offices allow you to break away from the larger group and create your own culture. You can make your office your own and create a company culture that’s unique, all within the larger environment of the main space. "You'd never know the difference between our 170 person HQ in Palo Alto and our two-person outpost in Chicago,” said Chris Grech, Advertising Partnerships at Flipboard Inc. “The vibe in our space and shared areas is open, energetic, creative and inviting."
3. Access to Community
Even with a private office, you’ll still have access to the other companies within the same coworking space. Additionally, the main area fosters a collaborative environment. You just may find partnership opportunities, or develop long-term relationships that you can leverage even after you’ve outgrown the space. A leading international coworking space found in a recent survey that 51 percent of its members do business with one another at least once a month. In these spaces, 77 percent of tenants are companies larger than three employees and organizations of 20 or more employees are quickly growing. In this way, small companies operating in shared offices have an advantage even over businesses with their own office buildings. A Deskmag study found that 86 percent of respondents working in coworking spaces have increased their social circles and 80 percent have expanded their business networks. In the same pool of respondents, 74 percent feel more productive and 71 percent feel more creative as a result of working in a shared office setting. With a shared office, you don’t have to leave the building to expand your company’s network.
4. Knowledge Sharing
You also have access to businesses and entrepreneurs that may be experts in fields you want to know more about or would be good to know for business development purposes. Deskmag reported 68 percent of workers in shared spaces participate in knowledge and advice sharing, whether through informal conversations or more formal workshops. This access to shared knowledge leads to increased productivity and efficiency, while boosting in-house innovation. "Having a private office within shared space allows business' to create a certain duality that normal companies don’t have,” said Niki Kotsapouikis, Assistant Controller at The Frances Xavier Warde School. “It allows us to both work independently within our confined space but also gives us the opportunity to converse, correspond and share knowledge with other folks in various realms. As someone once said, ‘Knowledge is the currency of a successful business: it is the influence needed to innovate, and should be actively managed and shared’.”
Don’t worry about leaving your expensive equipment, computers and monitors out in a big public area. With a shared office, you can secure your belongings within your own desk and lock the door to your space on your way out at the end of the day. Sensitive information is guarded behind locked doors and any concerns about leaving confidential reports and client files in the open are mitigated. Coworking spaces are not generally places for worksite theft, but an extra layer of security provided by private offices within the larger space provides addition protection. Shared office spaces create ideal situations for small teams looking to have both the benefits of a private office and network of a coworking community. As office sharing continues to disrupt traditional workplace models, we are likely to see more big ideas emerge from these centers of business resources knowledge sharing.
About the guest blogger: Assemble Shared Office co-founder Phil Domenico has been in the real estate industry for more than 20 years. He oversees Assemble's launch and growth while also acting as Principal for Chicago's Synergy Construction Group. Phil co-founded Assemble on the idea that office space can be equal parts productive, modern, inspiring, and collaborative. Follow Assemble on Twitter at @assembleoffice.