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By The Wyoming LLC Attorney Team

Dec 26, 2023
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What Is Coworking? Everything You Need to Know About Coworking Spaces

How to Start an LLC

Summary

In this article, we will explore the various aspects of coworking, including its history, benefits, and challenges. We will also provide tips on how to choose the right coworking space and make the most of your coworking experience. So, whether you are a freelancer, entrepreneur, or remote worker, read on to discover all you need to know about the exciting world of coworking.

Coworking is a modern concept that has gained immense popularity in recent years and is now a new way of working that allows freelancers, entrepreneurs, and remote workers to share a workspace and collaborate with like-minded individuals. Coworking spaces are designed to promote a sense of community, networking, and productivity, all while providing a flexible and affordable alternative to traditional office spaces.

The idea of coworking emerged in 2005 when Brad Neuberg, a software engineer, founded the first official coworking space in San Francisco. Since then, the concept has grown exponentially and is now a global movement with thousands of coworking spaces spread across the world.

Coworking is not just a trend, but a movement that is transforming the way we work. It is a flexible and affordable solution for those who want to escape the isolation of working from home, avoid the long commute to a traditional office, or simply seek a more collaborative and productive workspace.

What Are Coworking Spaces?

Coworking spaces are typically open-plan offices that offer a range of amenities, including high-speed internet, printing and scanning facilities, meeting rooms, as well kitchen areas. Members can select from different workspaces - such as hot desks, dedicated desks or private offices - depending on their individual needs.

The Origins and Growth of Coworking

Coworking spaces have been around for a long time. The concept of coworking began in the early 2000s when it was pioneered by an eclectic group of individuals and organizations.

Over the last couple of decades, this concept has gained immense popularity due to its convenience for businesses looking for flexible office solutions without making long-term commitments. You can come in early or late, take breaks whenever you want, and leave when it suits your schedule, without having to worry about getting fired or reprimanded by your boss. The growth of coworking has been driven by several factors:

  • The rise of remote work
  • The desire for community among independent workers
  • A need for affordable office space

The Impact of Coworking

Coworking spaces have revolutionized the way people work - enabling freelancers and small businesses to flourish. This type of environment has quickly become an integral part of multiple industries, with no indication that it will stop developing any time soon.

The benefit for individuals working in this environment is that it can encourage workers to be more productive since they may gain morale support from those working in the same office as them. For businesses, having access to such spaces can mean that companies don't need to spend money on office spaces, and can reduce their business operation expenses. In addition, coworking spaces offer flexibility, which makes attractive options for both parties involved.

Types of Coworking Spaces

There are a few different types of coworking spaces, with some differences. Which one do you work in, and which would be your ideal coworking space?

The Conventional/Traditional Coworking

This is the most common type of coworking space. It's usually an office building or large room that has multiple desks available for rent by individuals or small teams. These spaces usually have high ceilings and large windows, which make them feel more open than traditional offices. They also tend to be located in central areas where there are lots of businesses nearby so that you can easily collaborate with other professionals who work in your industry (or related fields).

High-End and Full-Service Coworking

The high-end/full-service coworking spaces are typically more luxurious than the conventional coworking spaces. These types of coworking spaces also usually offer more amenities and additional member benefits such as coffee and lunchtime discounts, gym and wellness facility access, resting rooms, and much more. As you can imagine, these types of coworking spaces will come with an extra cost, making it an attractive option for those who can afford and are seeking a high-end working environment.

Corporate and Professional Coworking

This type of coworking space caters to those looking for a more budget-friendly and corporate style of working that meets the traditional office space. Tight-fitted cubicles, dimmer lights, and an outdated printer come to mind when one thinks of the traditional corporate coworking space. And if you haven’t watched The Office Space, it’s highly recommended that you do. If this excites you, then this simple and cost-effective coworking solution could be the right fit for you.

Private Coworking

Some companies may not think that it is good for their employees to work with other workers from different companies, particularly their competitors, and thus may decide to invest in private coworking spaces instead. In these cases, private coworking spaces could offer their employees access to office facilities and equipment, whilst offering workers the flexibility and choice on whether they’d like to come to the space or not. This can be a great option for those who enjoy a hybrid work environment and still desire social interactions with others. It is also a good way for companies to boost teamwork, innovation, and overall work morale among their workforce.

Lifestyle Coworking

Do you enjoy having top-of-the-range coffee at your disposal while working, or do you prefer playing a game of pool with your coworkers during your lunch break? Or are you an avid surfer who loves working with an ocean view, and surf spots close by? Lifestyle coworking spaces tend to offer access and even encourage you to engage in your lifestyle hobbies. This is a great option for those who are able to multitask and enjoy finding a perfect work-life balance in their working day. Finding the right lifestyle coworking space is a personal preference, as some lifestyle coworking spaces may not suit your interests or needs. But with some diligent searching, and truth to oneself, you’ll find one in no time.

Are Coworking Spaces Right for You?

So now that we have covered what coworking is, and the different ways it can be used to suit both business and personal needs, let’s have a look at whether coworking spaces are actually right for you.

Advantages of Coworking Spaces

Resources and support. Coworking spaces offer resources that can help your business succeed, such as access to mentors and investors. They also provide networking opportunities with other entrepreneurs who may become customers or partners in the future.

Flexibility. Coworking spaces can allow you to work from anywhere, which can give you a lot of freedom and choice about the location that is the best fit for you.

Great for remote teams. Coworking spaces allow people to work together in person, which can be beneficial for teams located across the world and desire a sense of community or camaraderie.

Increased productivity. These spaces can provide the perfect setting for brainstorming sessions, as well as generating new ideas, which could promote productivity and innovation.

Reduced expenses. Businesses can reduce their office space expenses since they would not require big expensive office spaces and equipment to cater to their workforce.

Accessibility. As someone working in a coworking space, you will have full-time access to the space, no matter the time (depending on the particular space).WiFi, electricity, and other amenities can also make this an attractive option. Most coworking offices also offer street parking nearby, or even free parking.

Affordability. With monthly fees starting at just $50 per month for basic membership packages at some locations (and going up from there), coworking memberships can be far less expensive than leasing an entire office suite by yourself, especially when one considers the addition of extra expenses such as utility bills and so forth. Coworking spaces can thus be a great way to save money, and spend more on the things you actually enjoy!

But, what about the disadvantages?

Disadvantages of Coworking Spaces

Lack of privacy. One of the most significant disadvantages of coworking spaces is their lack of privacy due to their collaboration and open structure.

Distraction. While this can be great for networking and building relationships, it can also be challenging if you need to concentrate or have a private conversation, and although some coworking spaces offer private offices or meeting rooms, these often come with an additional cost.

Limited Control. Since you are working in a coworking space, you will have limited control over your environment. For example, even though you may be able to choose your desk or seating area, you cannot control who you will be sitting next to, the temperature, lighting, or the overall atmosphere of the space. Job specific resources or equipment may not be available for you on the site either.

Lack of Branding. Due to coworking spaces’ efforts to create a space that is inclusive and neutral as to avoid competition or ambiguity in the workplace, it may be difficult for you to establish a unique sense of brand identity, and you may even find the generic or neutral design aesthetic of the space may not directly align with your company’s culture or brand values.

Limited Security. Traditional office spaces usually offer a higher level of security compared to coworking spaces, and therefore coworking spaces may not be able to provide the same level of security such as key card access, security cameras, and more. In addition, you may not know everyone coming in and out of the office either.

In conclusion, while coworking spaces offer many benefits, they also have several disadvantages that should be considered before joining. Before signing up for a coworking space, it is important to weigh these factors carefully and decide whether the benefits outweigh the drawbacks for your specific work style and needs.

So With All Aspects Considered, Will Coworking Spaces Be the Future?

Despite a sharp drop in occupancy of coworking spaces due to the effects of COVID-19, the industry is expected to recover and expand in the coming years. According to recent reports (Howell, 2022), the coworking industry is anticipated to grow astronomically over the next few years due to an increase of people reconsidering their work environments as a result of the rise in hybrid work environments during the pandemic.

The Cost of Coworking Spaces Compared to the Traditional Office

In one research study on the costs and benefits of coworking spaces compared to traditional offices, researchers (van der Voordt, 2004) identified that organizations who are seeking coworking spaces seek to gain:

  • More efficient use of space
  • Increased flexibility
  • Improved productivity
  • Reduction in energy consumption and other business operation costs

What Are Some Other Alternatives?

If coworking spaces don’t seem like such a great fit for you, do not despair. With the increased popularity of remote working, there are some alternatives.

Home Office

Home offices are a great alternative to coworking spaces:

Furnishing. You can choose the furniture that suits your needs and style, instead of being stuck with whatever is available at the coworking space.

Lighting. You can control how much light comes into your home office, which will help you stay focused and energized throughout the day.

Air Quality. If there's something in the air quality at your coworking space that doesn't agree with you (or if they don't have any air filters), then it might be ideal to work from home. In addition, non-smoking areas could also be an important factor to consider.

Renting an Office

  • Immediate start. Without having to wait for someone else's approval or find space in a coworking facility, renting an office can be a useful option for those needing an immediate start, as well as access to equipment such as a printer or fax machine.
  • Cost. Rental prices for an office could mean paying more than what you would for being a member of a coworking space.
  • Lease period. Rental agreements typically have 12-month long lease agreements which could make it a more inflexible option compared to those who desire the flexibility of coworking or work-from-home environments.

So now that we’ve uncovered some vital details about what coworking spaces are, their history, as well as potential alternatives, let’s dive into what is important to consider if you think this might be the right fit for you.

Important Factors to Consider When Choosing the Right Coworking Space

So, if you’ve decided to give coworking spaces a try but are new to this style of working, and not really sure what to look out for, the following key factors are important indications of whether a certain coworking space is right for you:

Location. Finding the right office space can be a challenging task, but location is an essential factor to consider when making your decision. Ideally, you want it to be close enough that it's convenient for commuting or running errands, yet far enough away that there are no distractions.

Amenities. When choosing a coworking space, amenities should not go overlooked - look out for Wi-Fi access and meeting rooms as well as kitchen areas if possible. These features will help make sure that you have everything you need in order to work at your best.

Cost. Monthly membership fees vary widely, depending on the size and amenities offered by each space and some coworking spaces even offer additional services at an additional cost, such as printing or mail delivery services. You should also check whether there are any discounts or promotions available through your chosen coworking space that could benefit you.

Environment. While you might be tempted to choose an office with awesome views or great amenities, these things can often be distracting and take away from productivity. Instead, look for spaces that are quiet and have minimal distractions so that you can focus on work without being distracted by other people's conversations or loud noises.

Community. Coworking spaces are a great place to get work done, but they're also a great place to make friends and network. If you're looking for more than just an office space where you can sit down at your desk alone all day long, then this is another factor worth considering when choosing a coworking space for yourself or your business.

Flexibility. Some coworking spaces have a variety of workspace options available, including private offices, shared desks, and meeting rooms. This flexibility allows businesses of all sizes to find the perfect fit for their needs at any given time.

Security. It is important to ensure that your coworking space has sufficient security measures put in place. Adequate access control, data protection, and disaster recovery plans are great indicators that a coworking space takes the protection of its members seriously.

Contract. Many businesses have turned to coworking spaces for their flexible contracts, with options ranging from annual agreements to month-to-month arrangements and even three-month contracts. If you're not sure if your business will be around in the long term, opting for a more short-term agreement may be ideal - that way you can easily cancel without having too much of an impact on operations.

FAQ:

It’s simply an office shared by freelancers and entrepreneurs alike who are looking to collaborate together in order to help each other succeed. It provides a flexible and affordable alternative to traditional office spaces.

Working from a coworking space has many benefits such as access to shared amenities, networking opportunities, and a sense of community. It also provides a professional environment to work in, which can help boost productivity and creativity.

Anyone can use a coworking space, from freelancers and entrepreneurs to small businesses and remote workers. It's the perfect option for those seeking an efficient environment in which to work without paying expensive office rental fees.

The cost of renting a coworking space varies depending on the location, amenities, and membership type. Some spaces offer daily rates starting at around $20, while others offer monthly memberships starting at around $100.

Amenities can vary from space to space, but most coworking spaces offer access to Wi-Fi, printers, meeting rooms, and kitchen areas. Some spaces also offer additional amenities such as mail delivery, lockers, and fitness facilities.

Yes, many coworking spaces offer a business address as part of their membership packages. This can be a perfect way for small businesses or freelancers who want that extra bit of prestige without having the full financial burden associated with traditional office spaces.

Most coworking spaces have security measures in place such as key card access or biometric scanners. It's important to inquire about the security measures in place when evaluating a coworking space.

Yes, many coworking spaces offer private offices and meeting rooms that can be reserved for a fee. This is a great option for businesses that need privacy or space for client meetings.

There are many online directories and platforms that can help you find coworking spaces in your area. Some popular options include Coworker, Deskpass, and LiquidSpace.

It depends on the coworking space. Some spaces offer month-to-month memberships, while others require long-term commitments. It's important to read the fine print in these cases.