Organizations are looking towards flexible office space options, and the coworking concept. For instance, in less than a decade, WeWork has turned out to be the largest corporate occupier of commercial real estate in London, second in size only to the British government.
Co-working spaces are no longer just what they were perceived to be before; for digital nomads and startup entrepreneurs anymore.
More and more Fortune 500 companies like General Motors, GE, IBM and Microsoft all rent office space from WeWork. Here in Nairobi, Nairobi Garage is home to large organizations including Mastercard Foundation, Acumen, LC Waikiki, Carlsberg and many more.
In fact, big businesses now comprise 30 percent of Nairobi Garage’s monthly sales. Big companies can undoubtedly find more economical office space, but they flock in coworking spaces for something more intangible than square footage.
Coworking spaces, in fact, come with a myriad of advantages with some being, selling a culture of work far removed from the staid office environment of past decades. The emphasis is on community and work as fun.
If you’re an entrepreneur who’s just starting up or looking to expand into new markets, you may be trying to decide if joining the co-working revolution or taking a private office makes sense for you and your business. Certainly, advantages and disadvantages exist to choosing a co-working space over a traditional office. Here are several of them.
One of the attractions of a co-working space for many businesses is that they foster an environment conducive to socialising. Typically, you’ll find yourself surrounded by other entrepreneurs and their teams. This makes co-working spaces a hotbed for networking. In fact, a lot of our members have attested to accessing opportunities like investor introductions.
If you’re a larger company, you may need fewer networking opportunities yourself – however, your employees may benefit hugely from being in a environment where they can tap in to workshops and peer-learning from individuals outside your organisation.
Paying an additional expense for flexibility may be unnecessary or something your company can ill afford. As your company grows to include more than a half dozen employees, you may find that it makes more sense financially to get a private office rather than paying per desk, as you would in a coworking space.
When your team grows beyond a handful of people, it makes sense to evaluate whether moving to a private office makes better fiscal sense. A high-quality coworking space will often also offer you a choice of shared and private seating options. Many of our spaces at Nairobi Garage offer companies larger scale solutions which are priced to compensate for the economies of scale that come when you take up significant space.
If you’re a solo entrepreneur or part of a small team, co-working is likely the best choice for having a dedicated location for work. Yes, it’s more expensive than working from home or a coffee shop, but co-working spaces offer an environment that’s much more conducive to work.
Also, expenses like office furniture and renovations will be included in your rent, as will electricity, high-speed internet and other utilities. Another aspect of the attraction of co-working spaces is that they allow you to work in a professional environment without high up-front costs or long-term commitments.
Larger companies may find that coworking and serviced spaces do not bring down their monthly cost significantly from taking on a traditional lease. However, the need for flexible office space is something that traditional commercial spaces simply cannot offer.
One of the biggest potential disadvantages of establishing your team in a co-working space is the lack of control you have in presenting your business and brand to your clients. While spaces like WeWork and many others place a high premium on design and the creation of a trendy environment, their focus will be on their own brand, not yours.
One way you can get around this is to take up private office space within a coworking space. This way you can enjoy the flexibility and networking opportunities, but still remain with your own space to brand and lay out to your own desire. At Nairobi Garage, we offer our private office members the freedom to brand and even to select the quantity and type of furniture they want in their space.
When you rent your own space, you can put your company logo on the sign above the door, on the window, and in the street outside. When you interview a potential employee or invite a business partner to visit, he or she will enter a space that reflects your company values and culture. The environment won’t be muddled with the values and cultures of the coworking company and the other tenants.
At the end of the day whether you choose a private office or even a coworking space, it solely depends on you. However, evaluating your desire for ease of scalability, the impression you want to leave on clients and the kind of working environment you think would be best for your day-to-day tasks will be the key factors to decide on when choosing a flexible office space solution that fits your team.