Coworking Space vs. Traditional Office Space - Which is Better?
The popularity of flexible and coworking office spaces is on the rise and continues to challenge traditional conceptions of what an office space should look like.
No business or employee approaches their work in exactly the same way, meaning that different office approaches are suited to different people and organisations. With this in mind, here are the advantages and disadvantages of each to help you decide which office type is the right choice for you.
Traditional Office Space
Working in a traditional office space comes with a number of advantages. Let's take a closer look at each of them in turn.
Traditional offices allow colleagues to form strong workplace bonds with one another, especially given the fact that they know who they'll be working with each day.
Employees are also able to work more directly with their supervisor or line manager, meaning that they build up a more positive and versatile relationship.
Employees will grow comfortable with their working environment and feel a sense of familiarity with their colleagues and workspace. This can help drive comfort and satisfaction in the workplace, potentially improving workflow and productivity.
Working in a traditional office space also provides employees with a consistent and stable routine, offering an element of structure that helps employees feel familiar and content with their work environment. As a result, workers will feel at home with their routine and know exactly what's expected of them each day.
Having your own private workspace means that you're completely in control. You can swap and change whatever you like without having to worry about anyone other than your employees.
You will have full control over your office environment, meaning that you can settle into the space on a long-term basis if you wish to do so. There will be no sudden surprises and you will be able to have that little bit more privacy by having your own personal desk and space as opposed to sharing a coworking space with others.
Although working in a traditional office space provides a variety of benefits, there are also several downsides.
Although forming workplace bonds and relationships is important, a traditional office space may still lack more varied networking opportunities and social interaction. This may lead to your business missing out on very exciting business opportunities.
As a result of working in the same office every day, employees may become too familiar with the environment they're working in. Without a change of scenery, this may lead employees to feel that they are doing too much of the same thing, leaving them feeling burnt out and run down. In turn, this can lead to a lack of motivation and unproductivity.
Long-term Contracts and Upward-Only Rent Reviews
Traditional offices involve leasing the office from a commercial landlord and typically require a long-term lease, tying businesses in for a minimum of three years. This means that businesses won't be able to come out of the contract or leave the office space until the contract ends.
Adding to that, many traditional offices are also subject to an 'upward-only' rent review, which sees the parties agree that the rent payable after a review will not be less than the rent payable before the review.
As a traditional lease is longer, this limits businesses in a variety of ways. There is less flexibility for business needs, meaning that there is less room for businesses to grow, blossom and drive creativity.
Finder's Fees, Additional Occupancy Fees and Dilapidation
If you've used an agent to find the office space, then you will usually be expected to pay them a 'finder's fee'. As well as paying rent, businesses will have to pay additional occupancy fees, examples of which include maintenance fees, property taxes and any interest on the balance owed.
Dilapidations are also worth mentioning. If businesses are bound to long-term contracts with a property or office, then they are likely to decorate and change things around whilst they are there. However, as the contract comes to an end, businesses are liable for changing the space back to how it was when they first moved in, which can prove to be a rather costly affair.
Flexible Offices and Coworking Space
The coworking phenomenon has taken the world by storm, and businesses and freelancers alike are taking the opportunity to experience work in a coworking office space for themselves.
There are many advantages to working in a serviced or coworking office environment, regardless of whether you are an employee, own a business or are self-employed. These include:
Atmosphere and Productivity
Working in a shared office space allows for flexible working with less routine and structure, which may in turn support productivity.
The decor within these spaces is often quirky, bright, colourful and filled with inspirational quotes, helping to motivate employees. Coworking spaces tend to offer a more relaxed atmosphere in comparison to traditional offices, meaning that employees feel less pressure and less stress.
Change of Scenery
The frequent change of people and scenery makes every day feel different, meaning that employees will never get bored and will always feel excited about the day ahead.
Networking and Social Interaction
Another advantage of working in a shared, flexible office is the endless supply of networking opportunities that it provides. Working alongside different professionals every day can help foster new business contacts and links within your industry, helping to create a valuable network of connections that could strengthen your business.
As coworking spaces provide a shared environment, they encourage social interaction and open communication. This can help you better identify business opportunities in a way that may not have been otherwise possible.
Flexibility and Cost-Effectiveness
Nearly all serviced offices offer readily available facilities that are included in the price, examples of which include reception areas, meeting areas, conference rooms, kitchen facilities and high-speed internet.
General office maintenance and bills are also included in the price, meaning that you won't have to organise or pay for any work that may need doing. This makes offices of this kind very cost-effective for business owners and freelancers.
Coworking spaces tend to be affordable and cater to every professional's needs. Many also offer flexible short-term and long-term contracts, allowing you to re-evaluate your office space as frequently as you may need to.
No Extra Fees
Unlike traditional offices, renting out a flexible office space comes with no hidden costs. As businesses will pay a fixed monthly price, this will cover everything from maintenance to tax.
As the office will also be serviced and fully furnished, businesses won't be required to make any changes, avoiding dilapidations in the process.
Many shared office spaces are easy to find, and businesses can either launch their own search or enlist professional help. As such, businesses in search of the ideal office space may not need to pay the aforementioned finder's fee.
Although there are numerous advantages to working in a coworking office space, they also have their downsides. A commonly cited example of this is:
Shared coworking spaces generally offer less routine and structure. Furthermore, working in these environments may also mean that employees have less direct contact with supervisors and managers, potentially paving the way for a lack of communication.
Adding to that, some people may find the social aspects of a shared office distracting, preventing them from taking full advantage of the constant change in social contacts.
Is Coworking the Right Choice for You?
Flexible offices are becoming a worthy adversary for traditional office space. However, whilst many businesses are attracted to the facilities and work environment that flexible spaces provide, a private office can still offer great benefits.
If you're looking to find the office space that's right for your business, start your search for the perfect coworking space today. Whether you're looking for something flexible or private, we provide the best advice for finding fantastic spaces across the world.