This guest post about the benefits of a coworking space for small businesses, comes from Eric Goldschein. To submit your own guest blog, first read the guidelines here.
In many ways, coworking spaces were made for small businesses. In the startup stage, flexibility and affordable amenities can be invaluable to productivity.
Originally, coworking spaces were mostly seen as a way for freelancers and remote workers to fight isolation. Now coworking spaces touch many types of business—national coworking companies are worth billions, and boutique spaces offer unique and distinguished offices that inspire entrepreneurs and scaling businesses alike. Many coworking companies offer private office spaces as well, giving you the benefits of your own space without long-term contracts.
Here are seven ways—not all of them obvious—that small businesses benefit from using a coworking space.
1. Instant Scalability.
When small business owners seek office space, it’s incredibly rare for them to find something affordable that is also short-term. Most commercial leases are in the three-to-five year range—and that’s a commitment that many startups aren’t in a position to make.
Coworking spaces, on the other hand, offer businesses the ability to scale up (or down) as needed, without breaking expensive long-term leases. While the square foot price of most flexible office space isn’t cheap, their ability to work with you on a short-term, month-to-month basis (plus their menu of additional services on offer) makes them and other coworking spaces an attractive alternative to traditional office spaces and their burdensome contracts.
Early on, when profits and expenses are in flux, you’ll want an office space agreement that can adjust alongside your cash flow.
2. Get a Better Value in a Coworking Space.
As mentioned above, you would probably get a better deal square foot-wise on a long-term deal than with a coworking membership.
Where coworking spaces provide value, however, is in their access to amenities that would otherwise require you to make large capital investments. Built into the cost of many coworking space memberships is access to little things—such as coffee, beer, and office supplies—and more costly items, including printers, online platforms, phone services, and other utilities.
Additionally, if you want to expand your operations to other cities and markets, hiring workers that operate out of a coworking space is much easier and less expensive than opening a new office.
3. Boost Small Business Productivity.
If you’ve previously been operating your small business out of your home office, or your local coffee shop, get ready for perhaps the most exciting coworking perk of all: It’s very likely that moving to a coworking space is going to increase your productivity.
According to the Harvard Business Review, people belong to coworking spaces “report levels of thriving that approach an average of 6 on a 7-point scale.” HBR’s research shows that people feel more in control of their job, see their work as more meaningful, and feel a part of a larger community when they work from a coworking space.
How specifically does productivity increase? It varies from person to person, but Officevibe’s infographic on the topic shows that 70% of people feel healthier when working from a coworking space, 64% are better able to complete tasks on time, and 68% feel more focused. Plus, one famous Harvard study found that physical proximity to those you work with makes your collaborations more impactful, which means bringing your team together in the same space can lead to additional productivity.
From “Does Collocation Inform the Impact of Collaboration?” via Harvard University
4. Improve Work-Life Balance.
Work-life balance is hugely important to workers in today’s increasingly connected, “always-on” mentality. That balance often gets out of wack when you work where you live. Coworking spaces allow solo-entrepreneurs and teams to create a separation between home and work life. As a result, 60% of workers report feeling more relaxed at home since they started coworking.
5. Access Beautiful, Inspiring Spaces.
Again, you may be happy to work out of your home or your nearby Starbucks. But a rising number of boutique coworking spaces in unique, historic buildings across the country are offering businesses the ability to afford to work in an incredible space.
Unique spaces may be particularly beneficial to small businesses, which seek to differentiate themselves from competition. An inspiring coworking space3 can both impress customers and attract new talent.
6. More Networking Opportunities.
Whether working from home or working from your private office space one drawback isolation. Filled with other small businesses and entrepreneurs, a coworking space gives you more access to new ideas.
Coworking spaces draw businesses across a variety of industries and niches together in one room or floor. And, many of those businesses are peers and contributors to the local community and economy.
You’ll surely meet new people, exchange ideas, and possibly collaborate on projects together.
7. On-site, On-demand Talent.
It’s becoming increasingly common for a small business to draw on the talents of freelancers . Many small businesses use freelancers to write copy, design logos, file their taxes, and more. In local coworking spaces, you’ll be able to more quickly source and employ your fellow coworkers. It may be as simple as looking over to the next desk to find someone who can help.
Small businesses can gain a lot from operating out of a coworking space. Their increased productivity, healthiness, and efficiency, as a result, may help them to eventually rent offices of their own. That is, if they even want to do that.
At some point, coworking may become the norm for any small business that needs office space. But for right now, we’re at the beginning of a long road.
About the author
Eric Goldschein is a staff writer at Fundera, a marketplace for small business financial solutions. He covers entrepreneurship, small business trends, finance, and marketing.