September 28, 2021 by Andrea Rajic

What Are Shared Office Spaces?

What Are Shared Office Spaces?

Sharing is caring, don’t you agree?

Well, sharing an office space is a relatively new way to collaborate, save a bit on your expenses, and nurture the flexible culture that’s become mainstream nowadays.

Yes, it’s true that we’re slowly pushing the traditional office out of the way, opting for coworking spaces, hot-desking, hoteling, and sharing offices rather than paying a fixed rent. In fact, this industry is projected to grow by 12% each year by 2025.

So if you are among those still doubting whether shared office spaces are a good idea, here's what you should know about this concept.

Introducing the Shared Office Space Concept

Shared office space is a concept that involves two or more businesses sharing the same office or office building.

This arrangement includes a tenant who offers to rent out their unoccupied space within the leased office to another business. Note that the tenant may be the owner of the space or just a company that rented the space first.

A shared office has become a pretty common practice many businesses embrace because of the amenities it provides. Here are a few of them.

1. Control

Usually, both parties have a say in determining terms and conditions regarding shared office space. That means that, even if you’re renting a leased office from another company, you can still have a certain degree of control over how you furnish or decorate your space. Sometimes, even branding is possible!

2. Shared Expenses and Amenities

Businesses that use a shared office space typically agree to share the cost of the rent, bills, and other expenses that can be considered common. As office spaces come with everything businesses need, including phone lines, internet, even printers or scanners, it may be more affordable to pay for equipment maintenance, cleaning services, and office material in bundles rather than each company paying for itself.

3. Short-Term Leases

Most hosts are open to accepting a short-term agreement, offering to bundle in the costs of the extras, making it easier for a new tenant to manage their budget. That means a smaller team can be in and out rather quickly, or different small businesses can rent the office only when necessary.

Even though coworking and using shared workspaces is most popular in the US, the number of companies opting out of traditional offices is increasing. People are realizing the potential of flexible offices, so it’s estimated that by the end of this year, 13% of companies outside the US will be using some kind of shared workspace.

Shared Offices vs. Coworking Spaces

Although these concepts may seem similar, there are a few differences between shared office spaces and coworking spaces.

  • In a coworking space, you typically share the space with multiple companies. In a shared office, you’re occupying the space with only one business.
  • Coworking spaces offer daily, weekly, and monthly passes, while in a shared office, you pay a monthly rent in most cases.
  • Coworking spaces may offer hot desks, too. In a shared office, each team member has their own workspace, just like in a traditional office.
  • In a shared space, you have more control over your workspace and you’re in charge of paying for the utilities, cleaning services, and equipment maintenance. In a coworking space, their own management takes care of the bills and servicing the space.
  • In a coworking space, you typically share the kitchen and bathroom with other people using the space. When you rent a shared office, sometimes you’ll have a completely equipped space just for yourself, maybe even the whole office floor.

How to Choose a Shared Office Space

When choosing a shared office, make sure it provides elements that meet your business needs. You should consider different factors, including equipment and furniture, location, and more.

Although shared office spaces may differ in their offering, most of them comprise dedicated desks and private offices. The number of desks and offices depends on the overall size of the space a company is ready to rent to another business.

Shared offices can be for one person or big enough to fit a team of 100+ people. So, depending on your working needs, you can opt for a space that's exclusively yours or an area suitable for a large group of people.

As their name suggests, private offices are ideal for those who cherish their privacy or work on projects that require a higher level of confidentiality and security.

Location is another critical factor you should consider depending on what portion of your team needs to work from the office. If you’re working remotely 90% of the time, the location may not be a decisive factor for you. Take your team’s home addresses into consideration when choosing a shared office space for your company.

Additionally, you should make sure that the office you choose offers everything your team needs for day-to-day operations. For example, if you need to print documents, invoices, etc, your office of choice should undoubtedly have a good printer. If you’re holding online meetings all the time, check the internet connection before you sign a contract. And don’t forget to ask your tenant about the level of freedom you have when it comes to decorating the office.

Reasons to Work in Shared Office Space

Aside from being cost-effective, shared office spaces come with advantages anyone on a journey to grow their business should take advantage of. Here's the list.

1. Shared Office Spaces Exude Comfort

If you still have doubts about whether to rent a shared office space, imagine a different scenario. For instance, you can rent a private space and convert it into an office. However, these spaces require additional work. In most cases, you will have to buy furniture and the necessary equipment.

Also, you or your team members will have to leave what they were doing and waste precious time resolving every problem that might occur, such as problems with the internet connection.

Even if they are not expensive or luxurious, shared offices have everything you need and more: fully equipped kitchens, printers, scanners, mail distribution, high-speed Wi-Fi, etc.

2. Flexibility Is Such a Beautiful Word

There's no place like shared office space, and one of its most significant advantages is the flexibility it provides. Of course, it all depends on the host's rules, but most likely, you won't have to rent shared office space long-team. Meaning, you can determine the duration of your membership based on your business needs.

3. Saving Your Money

Shared office spaces are also cost-effective; there are no upfront fees and deposits. It is the reason shared office spaces are ideal for startups, considering that companies in that stage have a limited budget and typically involve a smaller group of people who don’t need a big space for work.

4. Spread the Network

Being in the same place every day for a considerable period with people you can learn a lot from is an opportunity you would not want to miss. Especially if you are a startup or at the beginning of your career, talking to another business's CEO will enrich your knowledge and upgrade your communication skills.

When in trouble, asking some of your cohorts to give you a hand is an advantage that those working from home, for instance, can't enjoy. In addition, shared offices often organize conferences, happy hours, and team-buildings, occasions ideal for building meaningful and long-term professional relationships.

5. Meeting the Right People at the Right Time

Shared working spaces give you plenty of opportunities to meet influential people who can help your business grow.

For example, if you are a startup sharing a space with one of a few other startups, there's a big chance you'll come across angel investors interested to hear more about your business idea. Being at the right place at the right time is key to success, and a shared office may just be that place.

Reasons Not to Work in Shared Office Space

Shared offices, however, are not everyone's cup of tea. There are many aspects of the concept many startups don't resonate with. So, before opting for a shared space, familiarize yourself with the following disadvantages.

1. Keep Your Friends Close and Your "Enemies" Closer

Whether you are a competitive type, you need to differentiate yourself from competitors and make your offer more appealing to customers once you enter the market. Competitiveness is more likely to be visible among startups trying to find their place in a particular industry.

So, if you consider shared office space as a working station, be prepared for eventual encounters with businesses that may or may not be your direct competition. So, if you don't like the idea of someone looking at what you are doing, then maybe a shared office space is not the best option for you.

2. An Inexhaustible Source of Distractions

If you are among those who need dead silence to work, stay away from shared working spaces. Working in open spaces requires flexibility and an ability to adapt to conditions far from perfect.

Don't get us wrong; office spaces fulfil their purpose - people use them to complete tasks. But not everyone has the same amount of work every day.

Consequently, aside from working, people like to socialize, take a break, and chat between tasks. Even if you rent a private office, you still have to go to the bathroom or make a coffee, and that means leaving your isolated space. That's a distraction possibility number on - imagine running into a coworker in a mood for chatting about something that is probably more interesting than tasks you are struggling with.

3. Branding Is Not Allowed

Some people say they don't like shared working spaces because the nature of the concept doesn't allow customization. You know how when you come into some company's building, everything from furniture and wall colors to lighting is designed to represent the true spirit of that organization.

However, when you rent a working space, you have to adjust to its interior. But, as we have mentioned earlier. You have a dedicated desk or a private office, so you can decorate your small working oasis in a way that's most suitable for your eyes. Consider bringing a plant or a photo of you and your loved ones; maybe some souvenir reminding you of some exciting trip. There's always a way to make your working space more enjoyable.

4. Developing a Unique Company Culture May Be Challenging in a Shared Office

One of the most significant parts of every company is its culture. It may be pretty challenging for a startup to find a shared space with the same values a startup would like to establish within its team. Therefore, before you make your choice, try to find an office with a culture that resonates with your business.

What the Future Holds for Coworking Spaces

Recent global events caused significant shifts in the business world. Employees have embraced the concept of remote work, and companies are looking for ways to make the most out of these changes.

Shared working spaces, their flexibility, cost-effectiveness, adaptability, and the sense of community, may just be that solution many small businesses are looking for.

And what are YOU looking for?

Gable specializes in helping companies of all sizes find their ideal flexible working solution. Our treasure chest hides beautiful, comfortable, and unique flexible workspaces - your only job is to check them out and choose the one you like. Make sure you reach out to us and start your journey today!

Written By

Andrea Rajic

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