Should You Use a Coworking Space or Lease a Commercial Space?

So you need to find an office space, but you can't decide whether you should lease a commercial office or try out coworking. Don't worry, we can help you out.

First of all...How big is your company?

Coworking spaces provide a shared environment for freelancers, entrepreneurs, and small businesses to work and collaborate. If you have a small business and you are not ready to shoulder the costs of a commercial lease, a coworking space is a great option. With coworking, you can rent individual desks or even whole offices on a short term basis. Most spaces include high speed wifi, office supplies, a copy room, kitchen, shared conference rooms and videoconferencing.

If your company is growing rapidly, you already have a cohesive brand identity, and especially if you have seed money to burn, you might be better off leasing a commercial office space. Coworking spaces are mainly for individuals and small businesses, so when a larger company joins the mix they can create tension and dominate the space. If you have a growing company and are set on coworking, make sure to look for a larger space so your group doesn't appear to take over.

If you are a freelancer or solo entrepreneur and, thus far, your job consists of you spending 8 hours per day occupying your local Starbucks, you should definitely consider a coworking space. Some spaces, such as Sandbox Suites in San Francisco, offer full and half day passes. This would be a good way to test the waters and see how you feel about a space. Each coworking space has it's own unique culture so take the time to find one that is right for you.

Are you trying to network?

Coworking spaces are often geared toward people who are doing a specific kind of work, which makes them perfect for meeting people in your field. Cheeky Little Monkey in Manhattan offers creative space for graphic designers, writers, and illustrators. While, NextSpace offices in San Francisco and San Jose are geared toward small startups, freelancers and entrepreneurs. With copious happy hours, events, and even conferences, coworking spaces offer ideal networking opportunities.

Do you want the perks of a start-up without having to work for one?

Enerspace in Palo Alto offers chill areas, event space, and showers. Altspace in Manhattan offers organic coffee, snacks, and a television lounge, and the Mill in Seattle offers a free 30 minute personal training session and discounts with Zipcar. These perks promote community and make office life more comfortable. If you are in the beginning stages of a start up, the perks of a coworking space will allow you to focus on the real work until you have the time and funding to build your own company culture.

So here's the deal:

If you have a growing business and a little funding you should look for a commercial lease. This will allow you to grow your company in the direction that you want and develop a culture that is specific to your brand. If signing a long-term lease sounds intimidating, start with a short term sublease and go from there. While moving can be a pain this first place will give you an idea of what to look for in the next.

If you are looking for a fun and creative environment to work with like-minded people, try out coworking. Each space has it's own culture, so if you look hard enough, I'm sure you'll find the one that's right for you!


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