Listen, coworking is great for some people. Many entrepreneurs, freelancers, and creatives benefit from the open air, collaborative environment and many coworking spaces have a ton of perks. We see you “Beer Friday.”
However, there are a few downsides to coworking that should be considered before you sign up for that desk:
- No privacy. When you get down to brass tacks, coworking doesn’t fit businesses that have information to protect. If you are a software developer with intellectual property or in an industry where you have a database full of your client’s personal information, coworking is an open area even if you have an office with windows, puts you at risk. Even if you spring for an office, in a traditional coworking space the walls are typically glass.
- Distractions. Distractions are everywhere whether you work from home or in a corporate office. There just happens to be more distractions that come along with working around countless individuals. We’ve all had a chatty neighbor, or been annoyed by business meetings happening in a common space and don’t get us started on the fact that there is no place to go to get deep work done, can all contribute to an environment where it can be hard to focus, much less produce.
- Expense. The price per square foot of renting a coworking space can be high compared to the price of a small office. You might be surprised that there are flexible lease options that allow you to shut the door in your zip code. The key is not to get caught up in the hype, but to really analyze the needs of your small business.
- Cubicles for days. While coworking is a hot, of the moment trend, really what you’re doing is sitting in a cube farm, although a significantly better-dressed cube farm, with amenities that may or may not help your brand. Lack of privacy, distraction, and unneeded expense can lead to decrease in employee satisfaction and hurt productivity, so you have to ask yourself if the rooftop bar is serving the needs of your business.
Our advice, find the best of both worlds. Private office space for your team to do deep work, with great communal space for your collaborative needs and bring your own beer. Ultimately, your space has to serve your bottom line and your mission. Does it?