Shared office spaces, also known as coworking spaces or simple ‘coworking’, are the latest trend in office spaces and virtual offices. Coworking, as defined by Wikipedia, is a style of work which involves a shared working environment, sometimes an office, yet independent activity. It’s becoming a great alternatives for freelancers, entrepreneurs, startups, and even microbusinesses who would most likely be working from home or at coffee shops if it weren’t for coworking spaces.
There are over 1100 coworking spaces worldwide, offering a range of services that are similar to executive suites and virtual office spaces. They are essentially office spaces with anything a professional or a small company would need, but without the large overhead of having to worry about paying for utilities, high rental fees, or maintenance problems. Coworking spaces are also great places for networking, exchanging resources, and meeting clients. They also allow the flexibility for someone to work at home from time to time, while also handling the mail, keeping a professional business address, and perhaps forwarding any messages that may come in while you’re away.
One of the biggest worries possible tenants have with coworking spaces is that the open space could actually make it more difficult to work because of the distractions. Coworking spaces get around that by offering private executive offices or private work spaces as well as the open plans and the individual desks. This makes it easier for those that need to be on the phone to do their work without distracting others and those that just need to get down to business can simply shut a door. At a coworking space, they can do this without losing the networking and the connectivity that happens at a typical office space.
Coworking, virtual office spaces, and executive office suites all fall into the realm of “alternative work space offerings.” There are many things driving this change for professionals: increase in technology, rise of online businesses, need for work/life balance, companies want to cut costs, people want to commute less or in a more environmentally-friendly way etc. Alternative work spaces may still be new to some, but they are the wave of the future as people crave more choice in when they work, where they work, and how they work. Allied Offices are part of this trend as much as a coworking space or a virtual office firm.
Traditionally office space vacancies are at 17.2 percent in the United States. They just aren’t as cool or as flexible as alternative office spaces. After all, work doesn’t typically get done “at work.” But, it might if we reinvent what it means to be at work.