Shared office spaces, full of great amenities and networking opportunities, have many entrepreneurs rethinking their workspace options.
If you live in a city or large metro area, it may seem like a new coworking center is popping up all the time. In New York, the 58-location WeWork is now the city’s largest private office-space occupant, with more than 5.3 million square feet under its management. At the same time, urban centers such as Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C. are also experiencing a coworking boom.
The professionals making their magic in these facilities include writers, designers and app developers, as well as real-estate agents and many other one- and multi-person teams.
The shared-space advantage
Think of a coworking space as a rough equivalent to living in a tiny home: Whether you’re renting a seat for a day, or a group of desks for your team, you get most of the benefits of an office, plus greater flexibility and variable leasing options.
You’ll also benefit from:
- Visibility. Become part of a business community
- Networking opportunities. Many coworking locations offer events at which you can present your business to your officemates in a casual setting
- A social environment. You may think you’re too busy for Taco Tuesdays, or Thursday Happy Hour, but it’s great to forge social connections with like-minded business owners
What to consider as you shop.
As you shop around, be sure to cover these bases:
- Your workstyle. Do you thrive on a Starbucks-like din, or do you need near-meditative silence to focus? Make sure the space can accommodate your needs
- The must-haves. Every coworking space should offer:
- Mail and package delivery services
- Shared document printing, copying and scanning resources
- High-speed Wi-Fi access and telecommunications
- Conference spaces with computer-projection devices and phone pods
- Special services, which can include visiting speakers addressing small-business issues, group discounts on
business-focused goods, and even help in hiring temp employees
Managing costs and terms.
To get an idea of what you might spend in your region, consider this sampling of one-person membership costs at We Work: In real-estate obsessed New York, expect to pay anywhere from $300 a month for a floating or “hot” desk, to more than $800 for a dedicated one-person space in an open room. However, an hour or so to the southeast, Philadelphia entrepreneurs pay only $450 – almost half the cost – for a dedicated WeWork desk.1
In some states, including New York, special startup incubator programs offer great deals to fledgling companies. At the Thincubator in Utica, a part-time membership is only $100.1
Like any rental agreement you make, consider these four points before you commit:
- Placement. If you need a quiet space, or conversely if you know you and/or your team generates a lot of buzz, ask to be located appropriately
- Hours’ restrictions? If you’re often burning the 2 a.m. oil and the office closes at 7 p.m., keep on looking
- Conference rooms. Do you get access with your membership? If not, how much does it cost and how can you reserve space?
- Termination. If you need to end your contract, what’s the penalty?
Now that you know more about the coworking advantage, consider giving it a try. Start small. You can always graduate to a larger space later on.
Talk with a business banking specialist to get more insights on starting a new venture. Visit a branch or call an M&T Business Banking relationship manager at 1-800-724-6070.
This article is for informational purposes only. It is not designed or intended to provide financial, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice since such advice always requires consideration of individual circumstances. Please consult with the professionals of your choice to discuss your situation.