Shared office working: the pros and cons

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By Becky Evans

Small businesses and start-ups often must choose between paying high office rental fees or try to maintain a business from home, with little room for progression although this is increasingly becoming a thing of the past as more and more businesses with unoccupied office space are splitting the bill by renting out unused space to those businesses with a smaller budget or  which only need small amounts of space.

With the prices of office spaces continuing to rise in the bigger cities – in London you’re looking at paying between £600 and £1,400 per person – the reality is that it is unrealistic for new and small businesses to grow at the same rate if they are paying these prices.

The idea of renting out spare office space is now a huge market and in 2018 you can find spare, affordable office space easier than you can find an affordable one-bedroom apartment in London. Here are some pros and cons of working in and renting shared offices.

THE PROS

There are so many pros to shared office working if you’re open-minded to the idea.

Networking…

Networking is an amazing way to grow and learn in business and as an entrepreneur yourself you could make some key connections whilst sharing workspace. Not only this, working alongside inspirational and motivated people can really give you and your business the boost it needs.

There is something for any budget…

One of the best things about sharing office space is that the price tag is considerably cheaper than renting an entire office to yourself. No matter your budget there is something for the modest and the ambitious entrepreneur. It’s also minimum hassle.

You can learn a lot…

Experiencing the daily running of a big, established business is a great way to learn and develop an idea of how you can progress and how you can build your business space when you can eventually afford to buy your very own office.

Social aspects…

Most start-ups and small businesses start at home in an office that offers limited social interaction daily. Working in a big office environment and sharing your space with new people offers great opportunities socially, to make friends and engage with others who you can bounce off. It is a lot more stimulating to work with people than to work alone and in turn, can provide you with the inspiration you need to take your business to the next level.

THE CONS

Let us start with the negatives because, to be honest, there are few.

Little or no say in the design or layout of the office…

For some, this will not be an issue and not deeply bothered by the layout or design of the office, however, for others, this could be a deal breaker. One of the most exciting parts of owning your own office is the ability to have complete control of design, structure and layout. If you are renting the spare office or desk space the design of that office would be out of your control and if you find it difficult to adapt to surroundings for optimum work performance, you may struggle with renting shared office space.

Working out of hours…

If you are looking to work twelve-hour days to get the most out of your business but your office is only open 8 am – 5 pm this could pose a problem. Not only this, but the structures of your working days could vary and if the office isn’t open at the weekend, but your business thrives on a Saturday and Sunday how will you work around that?

Minimal privacy and maximum distractions…

If you are renting space in an open plan office or hot-desking, it is going to be extremely difficult to maintain a lot of privacy. Also, renting space in a big office, full of people can be extremely distracting. Especially, if the office is a modern working office where the open plan, free-flowing and collaborative creativity is nurtured. You may find it difficult to get your head down or overcome the noise.

So now it is up to you to decide if shared office space and co-working is the right move for you. Ultimately every single business and the person behind the business is different in many ways and your needs, wants and outlook may be different to others. Making the jump to shared office space is a huge decision so make sure you carefully consider the pros and cons.

Image credit: https://cornerstoneofficesearch.com/