Both shared office space and coworking spaces are great alternatives to costly real estate leases and the traditional office set-ups.
They are also good alternatives to working at home, where distractions are numerous, and a sense of professionalism is lacking or even different from working from a café.
But before we get to choose between coworking and shared offices, first, let’s get to understand the differences.
According to Wikipedia Co-working is a modern work style that involves a self-directed, collaborative, flexible and voluntary work style that is based on mutual trust and the sharing of common core values between its participants while Shared Workspace is differs from coworking in that they usually cater to and house more established businesses. They often provide more traditional amenities to meet the needs of their clientele.
So, what are the key differences between these two workstyles:
Home to different businesses in different stages
Coworking spaces are often home to freelancers, some of whom are just getting their name out and are not tied to any specific business or industry. The benefits to a coworking space are that they afford start-ups with an opportunity to stay lean in an inexpensive avenue for community and collaboration, as well as a lively and dynamic atmosphere that inspires productivity.
On the other hand, Shared Workspaces as mentioned earlier cater for more established businesses the companies provide.
Most coworking spaces offer a variety of services including clean desks, access to WiFi, 24/7 space access, coffee, conference facilities and admin services. You may pay a little more for supplies and other services. Coworking spaces are social places with community break rooms, long conference tables, and a community of entrepreneurial peers. These places can help you get your name “out there” if you’re trying to grow your business and if you make the right social connections.
On the other hand, Shared office spaces can offer all the amenities and services of a traditional office to meet your needs and the expectations of your clients. These are will include access to reliable high-speed Wi-Fi, fax machines, copy machines, and high-tech audio-visual equipment. They also have top-of-the-line office furniture and décor that is quite impressive.
Coworking spaces usually lease to members for a period of 3-to-6 months whereas a furnished office spaces such as executive suites usually licence for a period of 12 months.
It is obvious that through the nature of the two a serviced office is the more expensive, since one has to pay for full-time access for an office space, and for the “all inclusive” experience of a serviced office.
Coworking spaces also vary in price. Some spaces focus on offering economy options, while others offer a more “elite” feel. What you pay for coworking will also depend on your needs. Coworking is without a doubt the more financially flexible option.
Options such as by-the-hour and day-rates are common. Even for longer term rentals, it is usually easy to change your plan or leave completely if your financial circumstances change.
Coworking spaces mostly lack privacy which proves difficult especially if your business relies on client confidentiality another reason could be competition for resources such as meeting rooms or breakout spaces can be fierce
Coworking spaces come with different packages that make it easy and affordable to different business in different business stages. For example, at Nairobi Garage, the co-working concept offers packages like the Club Space which is priced at Ksh 4500+VAT, there is the Flexi and Fixed packages that go for Ksh 20,000 and Ksh 25,000 respectively. On the other hand, a shared office spaces concept lack product package concept. And of any that have the concept, the packages such as executive suites might be quite pricey.
So ultimately, the decision between a shared office space and a coworking space is a highly personal one that depends upon the industry you’re in, the type of work you do, and your own personality as it relates to productivity.
Choosing an office space highly relies on several things as highlighted iin this article. It is advisable that you spend your time considering what you and your team need and researching the options available for you
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