What is Coworking? Everything You Need To Know
Coworking is a style of work that has been growing over the years, replacing our traditional notion of office and work. This rise in popularity has also led to several questions for businesses who are potentially considering a coworking space and are keen on making an informed decision. What is coworking all about? What benefits does it bring for contemporary businesses? Who is coworking for? In order to help you make a better decision, we have assembled a comprehensive coworking primer that hopes to answer all potential questions you may have about coworking.
1. What is coworking in the first place?
Despite its rising popularity, many who have heard of coworking are still unsure of what it exactly means. Simply put, coworking is a style of work that involves sharing a physical space which houses a community of like-minded people and encourages collaboration. A coworking space can be shared by solopreneurs, freelancers, small- and medium-sized companies. Interestingly, larger companies have recently shown great interest in coworking spaces and have made a transition from a traditional office to a coworking space – case in point.
Check out our previous article to get a better gist of what coworking is all about and why it is so popular.
2. Types Of Coworking Spaces
There are more and more coworking spaces available in the market, with different coworking spaces suited for different groups. Not all coworking spaces are created for the same purpose – some cater to a professional crowd, while others have a more quirky and creative vibe. Hence, not all coworking spaces will be the right fit for you and your business. You have to know the various types of coworking spaces and then carefully identify the type that matches your business style, brand and way of work. You can find out more about the different types of coworking spaces here.
3. Coworking Space Vs Serviced Office
Beyond “what is coworking?”, a frequently asked question is what exactly differentiates a coworking space from a serviced office. While both these office types are generally classified as flexible office space, there are a few differences that you should be aware of. Learn more about the fundamental differences between these two types of flexible office space in this article.
4. Office Space Types
There are generally three choices of offices in a coworking space. These are the ones that you would most often find in coworking spaces:
4.1. Hot Desking/Flexi Desking
Often the most affordable option available, a flexible desk grants you access to all the available office desks in what is called the hotdesking area. As a hot desk user, you have access to all the available amenities in the coworking space, such as the pantry, printing and photocopy services, meeting rooms, and so on. Hot desk users love the flexibility to be able to drop into the office any day of the week. They love choosing different types of seats to fit their style of work. Working on a couch or by the window is perfect for a change in scenery (and a resulting boost in productivity!). The adjacent cafe is ideal for social meetings or working lunches – and for those moments where a quiet place is needed to hold important meetings, Skype booths or meeting rooms are available for use. The hot desk option is popular with solopreneurs, freelancers and consultants who do not need a desktop computer and file cabinets. Hotdesking works on a ‘first come first serve’ basis, so you do have to make an effort to come early if you want to snag your favourite seat.
4.2. Dedicated / Permanent Desk
The second type of office option in a coworking space is the dedicated desk. Similar to having a flexible desk, you will have access to most of the amenities available in the coworking space. The difference lies in having your own personal desk at a fixed location. As the name suggests, the desk is dedicated to a single user. This option is more popular among those who like having a physical “go-to” familiar space where they can store their computer screens, files and stationery for example. Many like the fixed desk option because they want a degree of privacy and security. Dedicated desks areas are generally quieter and some offer secured access. Even better, some coworking space operators grant dedicated desk users access to the hot desks as well, which means that you are not at all constrained by the single fixed desk that you have!
4.3. Private Offices
The third option is by far the most popular work option in a coworking space. Private offices within a coworking space cater to businesses of any size, from a one-person office to small- and medium-sized companies. Businesses choose the private office option because they prioritise a certain degree of privacy and security in their workspace. They also like branding their private office to retain their sense of identity, while having opportunities for collaboration within the coworking space. Growing businesses like the flexibility of lease in coworking space. Their private offices come with relatively short leases compared to traditional offices. When their businesses scale up, their private office space can also scale up relatively quickly and inexpensively.
The very nature of coworking allows for possibilities that are not always feasible in more conventional workspaces. There are numerous monetary, time, and business benefits which come with leasing a coworking space. Some important benefits that coworking spaces provide are the access to a diverse community and the reduced CapEx on your part due to shared amenities. Check out our article that extensively discussed six benefits of coworking that you might have not known about!
6. Leasing Terms
You can rent a coworking space from as short as one day to a few years. This is one of the reasons why coworking spaces are also called as flexible spaces. Most businesses lease a coworking space for a period of 6 months to 1 year. Small- and medium-sized businesses with more employees usually lease for a much longer period so that they avoid all the challenges associated with frequently changing offices. The longer a lease term you sign, the more negotiation leverage you have and the more rental you will save.
7. Cost Of Renting
The cost to rent a coworking space is dependent on a variety of factors such as office type, size, location, amenities, and even the duration of your lease. But perhaps the most important thing you have to note here is that most coworking operators (at least in Singapore) will quote you what is called an “Asking Price”. This is not the final price and it is in fact negotiable. You would be surprised as to how many businesses are not aware of this basic yet critical point. So the key takeaway here is to always negotiate on the “Asking Price”.
8. Select the Right Space
With so many coworking spaces in Singapore mushrooming… it gets harder and harder to choose the right one. Even after visiting 3, 5 or *gulp* even 10 coworking spaces, it’s easy to get stuck in analysis paralysis. Many businesses make the mistake of filtering on “price” first. We suggest thinking of what you will need first and then selecting the spaces that best suit your needs. Price is negotiable. The walls of your office, not so much.
Here are 5 more things you should consider when findings your coworking space: clearly-defined work and breakout areas, the presence of an inspiring coworking community, workplace interior design, location, and the ease of scaling your space up (or down).
9. Finalizing the Coworking Space
Now you have all that you need to start picking the right coworking space. The next step is to search or ask for a match that fits your requirement. Shortlist the top and most relevant options and schedule a visit to your future office!
There are a few things you should “test” during your visit, such as the lighting at various spots, the comfort and location of desks and chairs, and the reliability of their WiFi. This step is really important because you may not notice every detail in a single visit and end up finalising an office space where you encounter future issues. Here is more handy information on the best ways to test a coworking space.
Ready to explore the new way of working?
We make it especially easy for you to search or find a match for coworking spaces in Singapore. Simply tell us what you’re looking for and our GorillaSearch smart engine will recommend you the top options that best match your needs. You can also browse hundreds of verified listings and get a real feel of the space through 360° panoramas and high definition photos on GorillaSpace.
Still unsure whether coworking is the right fit for you? Can’t find a coworking space that suits your specific needs? Get in touch with our industry experts here at GorillaSpace by calling us at+65 8817 9170 or drop us a message at [email protected].