Coworking spaces have so much going for them. Shared offices can provide immeasurable benefits to startups, small businesses, freelancers, and professionals of all stripes.
Community is a huge reason for this benefit. Freedom from the 9-5 corporate life is liberating, but can also be isolating. You’ll likely meet new challenges and unexpected stressors that those on the traditional path can’t relate to. In coworking spaces, you’ll find a community of professionals to advise you through all the hurdles of #startuplife (or #freelancerlife). Each of your fellow coworking members comes with their own experience, knowledge, and network within the community. That resource can the impetus you need to take your business to the next level.
The psychological benefits of coworking can’t be underestimated, either. It’s not just the support network: many people find working from home to be lonely, claustrophobic and unproductive. The freedom feels great at first. Who doesn’t want to work in their pajamas? But alongside the comfort of your couch comes many distractors. There’s always laundry to be done, or a dog begging for a walk, or snacks to be eaten at all hours. Even with the advent of communication tools like Slack, many entrepreneurs miss the buzz and camaraderie of being around coworkers. Instant messages just can’t replicate that if you thrive in social interaction. Joining a coworking space brings together the freedom of solopreneurship with the social benefits of working alongside other people.
The mental and social benefits of joining a coworking space are pretty clear. But let’s be real: when it comes to business decisions, cash is king. If working from home doesn’t work for you, you can either rent an office, or join a coworking space.
So when it comes to your budget, how does coworking stack up? The answer: it wins big time, for a multitude of reasons.
Real estate is the first, most basic reason that joining a coworking space is a smart budget choice. Office real estate usually operates on a dollar per square foot basis. For instance, according to this article from Offices.com, the average rental price in Charlotte’s central business district (Uptown) is $26.44/sq. Foot. Let’s say you have a team of four, and your budget is $1200/month. If you want your startup to be based in a hip spot, where you and your team can grab lattes, stroll around a park at lunch, and impress visiting clients, that budget will get you a grand total of…45.38 square feet. A cramped, uncomfortable office is a recipe for disaster.
In a coworking space, that $1,200 would get you a comfortably-sized private office, as well as communal space. You’ll likely have access to a kitchen, lounge areas, and varied workspaces like conference rooms, telephone booths, and stand-up desks. The financial benefit is even more drastic if you don’t require a private office, and can use a dedicated desk or hot desk membership (generally between $200-$400 per month).
Renting a traditional office comes with a surprising amount of fees on top of the baseline rent. You may have to pay brokerage fees or a deposit right off the bat, and will be locked into a lease (which includes penalties if you break it). Coworking spaces, in general, offer flexible lease terms and don’t require deposits.
If you’re in a busy area, parking can clean out your budget fast. You’ll either pay for parking deck passes, or push that expense onto your employees- not a great move, especially as a start-up trying to retain great talent. In general, coworking spaces will provide on-site parking for no extra fee.
In a traditional office rental, you’ll also be responsible for utilities: water, electric, heat, and internet are a significant chunk of change. You also can’t always predict the cost month by month, which can throw your budget out of whack. In a coworking space, your membership is a flat fee each month, and all utilities will be included. No need to fret about a heat wave or cold spell affecting your budget! You’ll have access to enterprise-level internet, without having to pay more for additional users; the coworking space management will ensure WiFi is up to snuff.
In a traditional office rental, depending on building management, you may have to pay out of pocket for janitorial services and repairs: at least $100/week to keep your workspace clean, and who knows how much if something requires a repair. You’ll also be responsible for any technology or appliances your team requires. A fridge, coffee maker, sound system, security system…the list goes on. In a coworking space (you guessed it) everything is included! Both cost and the burden of upkeep are off your shoulders, and are the responsibility of the coworking space management.
That’s the crux of it, really. Beyond the social and financial benefits of joining a coworking space, it makes everything simple for you. As a business owner, freelancer, or remote worker, you have plenty on your plate. As a member of a Charlotte coworking space, you don’t have to spend any time on office management, and can focus on what really matters.