Ever wondered about the differences between shared offices and co-working spaces? Read on to find out more.
What is a shared office space?
A shared office space is typically a scenario where one business already leases premises that are too big for their needs. As such, they may sub-lease a certain portion of their building to a smaller business.
Typically, in this scenario, the original tenant shares most of the amenities such as toilets and kitchens with the new tenant, unless there are separate amenities available. Aside from that, each business has its own dedicated space to operate in.
Depending on the layout of the premises, if you move into a shared office space, you usually need to bring your own reception team and you need to keep your business operations in your own designated area unless you are sharing facilities such as printers or other amenities.
What is a co-working space?
A co-working space is completely different from a shared office space. In a shared office space, you’re really a guest of the original leaseholder. But in a co-working space, everybody is equal. Amenities are shared, meeting rooms can be booked and accessed easily and depending on the building, you may even be able to host events.
Co-working spaces are mostly open-plan, and you pay for the desk space you need. There is a heavy focus on networking and collaboration because you work alongside people in a range of different industries. You’re not obliged to collaborate, of course, but the option is there should you be able to identify valuable partnerships or opportunities.
In a co-working space, you can also have a shared reception and mail handling service, plus all of the office equipment you need.
The key differences between shared offices and co-working spaces
The table below gives you a snapshot of how a co-working space differs from a traditional office-sharing situation.
|Shared Offices||Co-Working Spaces|
|Access to designated space||YES||YES|
|Focus on networking and collaboration||NO||YES|
|Reduced rental expense||YES||YES|
|Access to event spaces||NO||YES|
The information above is generalised, of course. Every shared office scenario is a little different, so you may be able to find exceptional opportunities where you can access things like a reception team or access to event spaces.
In acknowledging that access to your own designated space and meeting rooms, and also reduced rental costs are common between both, let’s look at the differences.
Focus on collaboration and networking
In a shared office, there are usually only two businesses. Unless the office sharing is based on an existing partnership, you likely won’t have anything to do with your co-tenants in a business sense. On the flip side, co-working spaces are specifically designed to encourage collaboration between like-minded professionals.
Not everybody loves hotdesking, but it is beneficial for many small businesses. Let’s say you’re in a shared office space and you have two desks available. If you wanted to add another part-time staff member, you could only hotdesk between your two allocated desks. You can’t expect your co-tenant to give up desk space for you.
In a co-working environment, you have flexibility. For example, if you have 3 part-time staff members, you may be able to just pay for 2 desks and have people working alternate days. Also, you can scale up and down with the number of desks you pay for much more easily.
When you move into a shared office with an established business, it’s very unlikely they will allow their reception team to work for you. At least, not without an extra cost. In a co-working space, shared reception and mail-handling services are common. This means there is always someone there to screen calls, take messages and also greet your guests when they arrive. All without worrying about the added hassle and expense of employing someone directly for these jobs.
Access to event spaces
Again, this isn’t a definitive ‘no’ for shared offices. Depending on the size of the premises and facilities available, you may have access to larger rooms for hosting events. However, it’s not very common because there’s already an established business on the premises.
In a co-working space, you have access to meeting rooms of varying sizes, as well as conference and event-hosting services. For example, here at Urban Hub, we can even provide a team to set up your events exactly as you want them. So, choosing a professional co-working space gives you much greater scope to dazzle your clients and host events.
Finally, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a shared office that gives you access to catering. Whereas a co-working space such as Urban Hub has a licensed café on site, and catering can always be provided for meetings, conferences and even cocktail events that can be enjoyed on our beautiful outdoor terrace.
If you’d like to know more about joining a dynamic, collaborative co-working space in Wellington, contact Urban Hub today.