6 Common Misconceptions About Co-Working
With over 3,000 co-working spaces across the globe, it's hard to deny the co-working movement's explosion in popularity. According to Coworkrs Director of Sales & Partnerships Theodora Livadiotis, co-working's success is propelled by changes in the workforce but, more importantly, it's rapidly and constantly evolving as well, to the point where a lot can be lost in translation.
While speaking to us about the businesses currently thriving within the Coworkrs community, Theodora told us that many of them had significant initial misconceptions about co-working spaces that almost prevented them from considering it a viable option. So we decided to clear the air. While these may not apply to all co-working spaces, here are six misconceptions that Coworkrs and other top-tier co-working companies want to clear up.
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Co-working Isnt' Just for Solopreneurs and Early-Stage Startups
With the ongoing surge of the independent workforce, freelancers and small businesses are key drivers to co-working success. But the benefits don't only apply to these smaller, up-and-coming businesses.
“Enabling technologies and demand for work flexibility are becoming more prominent in businesses of all sizes,” Theo says. “The number of large organizations adopting alternative workplace practices is growing, and many find co-working spaces to be a fantastic option for local or satellite offices.”
If you do decide to make the switch, for example, you'll be joining the likes of Mozilla Firefox, Farmigo (office pictured) and, of course, Bisnow.
Not All Co-Working Spaces Are Created Equal
NYC is home to more than 50 co-working companies, filling up over 500k SF of office space in the Flatiron District alone. With so many options, it can be tempting to just pick one and assume you're going to get the same open office space with pale wood tables and white walls. But Theo conveys the distinction in size, layout, culture, finances, amenities, services, events, programs and terms.
"Some spaces are predominately private office suites, some offer only open co-working desk memberships, and some are a mix of both," she tells Bisnow. "Priorities and philosophies vary as well. Some focus on shared economy, some prioritize curating spatial needs and design, while others (in all honestly) don’t really have a clear vision."
Whether you’re considering co-working for long- or short-term, it’s important to determine what your needs are, and find where you best fit in.
You Aren't Confined to a Standard, Cookie-Cutter Office Suite
By offering flexible office space and lease terms, co-working companies provide tenants with fluidity without the exorbitant costs of moving. However, like any office space provider, co-working companies want to retain their members.
Theo tells Bisnow many of the top-tier space providers are already designing custom space for members, and that internal growth will continue to incentivize larger co-working companies towards progressive models designed to cater to scaling businesses.
At 60 Broad St, for example, Coworkrs is building an entire floor as “step-up space,” premiering larger offices for growing companies, which will feature an open/creative design, private conference rooms, better signage and stronger floor presence. Naturally, first preference for these spaces will be given to internal members.
Co-Working Prices Aren't At A "Premium"
Landlords typically require a five- to 10-year commitment for office leases in NYC. If you’re able to find shorter-term (two to three years), chances are high that any capital improvement costs will fall on the tenant (i.e. you). Security deposit requirements also vary, but Theo says six to 12 months is standard for companies younger than five years old unless proven profitable and creditworthy through financials, tax returns and any other confidential material an owner may request at their discretion. These types of upfront costs and stipulations can make it difficult for a startup to get off the ground.
Co-working, on the other hand, does not require you to hand over your life’s work. Coworkrs, for example, only asks for a month of security deposit.
You Won't Lose Your Company Culture or Identity
For companies that value their independence, in the right co-working space the inclusive amenities and services can prove to be a game changer for your culture. Relieving staff of added operational (and financial) constraints minimizes stress and distraction, thus creating a solid foundation to harness better culture and vibe.
A strong community will have events—such as potlucks, educational and well-being programs, happy hours—that bring people together, and also help you network, market and expand your business.
Theo clarifies that “although collaboration is always encouraged, to put it simply, your level of interaction with others is up to you.”
Co-Working Spaces Aren't In Competition With Landlords and Brokers
Co-working companies view building owners and commercial brokers as partners and friends—not competition, Theodora says.
"Co-working companies need owners and their buildings to operate. And by signing long-term leases for large blocks of space, they keep owners happy, while also accommodating the businesses that may not be a position to give landlords the commitment that they require."
The relationship with brokers is also twofold: co-working provides more office solutions, brokers bring them more business, co-working pays their fee.