As much as it pains me to admit it, there are some good augments against coworking spaces! A recent article in The Guardian presents the case for businesses using a private office instead.
“Free coffee, flexible membership, desk-swapping, networking events – these are just a few of the perks on offer at co-working spaces around the UK. Yet others would argue that it’s the traditional private office which offers the perks: control over your own space, confidentiality and the gravitas needed to impress clients. No wonder, then, that a small business might be putting some thought into whether to co-work or go private.”
Let’s look at each of these to see how a coworking space would deal with them.
Claim: Coworking spaces mix social and lifestyle factors into work and business and kind of take over.
Counterclaim: Well-planned coworking spaces will have a variety of rooms and areas available for focused, insulated working, away from the chat and table tennis.
Claim: Because coworking spaces are open in nature, it is very difficult to maintain client privacy, and are even in danger of infringing non-disclosure agreements.
Counterclaim: If a client is so sensitive to exposure that they aren’t prepared to meet in your coworking space’s private meeting room, then perhaps you should meet them at a neutral venue, virtually, or, even better, at their office.
Claim: Coworking spaces offer clients no control over what their office looks like, in terms of structure, storage and signage.
Counterclaim: A good coworking space will listen to its members and allow its design to be influenced by their needs. It will have multiple storage options too. And members will consider the space’s brand to be a platform for their own, not in competition with it.
Claim: Owning your own premises displays to the world that you are successful and confident in the long-term future of your own business.
Counterclaim: Membership in a coworking space displays to the world that you are forward-thinking, open, innovative, and place a high value on collaboration. These are more important for the future of a business than a building.
Claim: Coworking spaces can prove more expensive per month than the cost of hiring a single, private office space.
Counterclaim: The financial benefits of coworking for startups is huge, helping them to avoid
“the traditional startup costs (office furniture, internet and telephones), as well as the “hidden costs” that are often attached to private spaces such as utility bills, service charges or contributions to your landlord’s insurance policy.”
All office options have their strengths and challenges, and coworking spaces don’t have suit everyone. But it seems to me that many of the arguments made against coworking are answerable or based on a misunderstanding. Do you agree?