The challenges WeWork has been facing lately has kept “coworking” as a hot topic through several news cycles. If the general public was not aware of the word months ago, they certainly are now. Most of the news has been focused less on how coworking has revolutionized the office market and more on WeWork's internal management and finances. Few articles have focused on defining just what coworking providers offer and how they are quickly growing in popularity.
Coworking Is Not Just for Individuals and Small Companies
While coworking spaces are superb choices if your headcount is low, most providers now can accommodate larger groups of 75 or more. There are many space configurations to choose from: you can get a dedicated space with an open design or more traditional configuration with individual offices. The number of people, of course, will affect your agreement with them. For instance, providers will ask for more notice if your headcount is large if you terminate your stay. Why the growing popularity of coworking providers? The answer is the varied offerings they have created – something for every sensibility and business need including events, dedicated offices, suites, AV studios and board rooms.
Coworking providers have realized that their spaces have to offer a sense of place – an environment that ensures employee happiness, productivity and retention, aligning with your brand and growth needs. They all offer various membership options that match your commitments and business need, whether you need an interim or long-term solution. For example, you may have mobile employees that only need to meet occasionally, or you may need to quickly establish an office presence in a market: you can find a provider to accommodate you. Coworking offers you great flexibility including daily and annual memberships and multiple locations including global.
Coworking Can Offer a Communal Experience
Many providers offer a shared experience: spaces and services that encourage members to mingle. Some offer support services meant for the betterment of the members ranging from guest speakers to marketing and office support. You can even find executive chefs and host dinner parties. There’s synergy realized when you have forums where you can share ideas and learn about new topics pertinent to running your business.
Increase of Coworking Providers
Through our commercial real estate office space platform, we have learned a great deal about coworking and why tenants looking for space are leaning towards them. Since the beginning of the year, we have witnessed a measurable increase in the number of coworking providers in the markets we cover: in four major markets – Boston, Washington D.C., Chicago, and Los Angeles – there are now 175 and growing daily.
At Truss, we have noticed that when our users search our free database of traditional and coworking space listings, they “favorite” coworking spaces over 50% of the time. This is significant – we have over 15,000 and growing users on our platform. Businesses are clearly open to coworking options despite WeWork’s headwinds.
All Sorts of Coworking Offering
Given all the options, we thought it would be helpful to describe some of the providers along with their unique offerings that are currently in our database. You can take a free tour of their spaces in our database – you don’t have to be in the market for a space. Do a search and take the 3D virtual tours to get a feel of how different coworking spaces are configured.
What Coworking Providers Are Out There?
Our Truss database now features over 175 coworking providers and the list is growing daily. Here is a few of them and what they offer:
- Regus (IWG) – They are in all the major global markets and have been around since 1989, making them one of the oldest providers. They have all sorts of space options to match your needs.
- WeWork – Many locations with lots of square footage, space and service options.
- Premier Workplaces – Focus on office moves, build-outs, IT and other services.
- Industrious – With multiple national locations, they offer hot desks, dedicated office suites and everything in between.
- Convene – With an emphasis on hospitality, they offer flexible space solutions, event space and dining spaces. They have a presence in several major US markets and London.
- Workbar – Offers several office and meeting room solutions in Boston and San Francisco. They have a “perks” program that includes access to a number of services such as legal advice and gymnasiums.
- Carr Workplaces – Offers several office configurations, cafes and business centers. They are in several major US markets.
- MakeOffices – Located in several US markets, they offer several office space options, meeting and event rooms, virtual offices if you only need space occasionally and turnkey offices.
If a provider appeals to you, consider visiting – many issue free 1-day passes. Make the most of it by asking for a tour and a description of their services. You can do a little homework before you go: most spell out their offerings on their websites and have photos of their common and dedicated space options.
Interested? Here’s What to Do
If you’re looking for space, it’s always good to engage a broker who can get the best deal for you. Sometimes, coworking spaces offer discounts that only brokers know about. Also, property owners are learning to compete with coworking providers, and you might just find a traditional direct office space that meets your requirements. Generally speaking, coworking providers offer great flexibility with regards to the length of your stay, move-ins, space configurations and services.
As opposed to signing a lease for a direct office space, you engage a coworking space by signing a service contract. While leases tend to be long and sometimes very complicated, these service contracts are straightforward: they describe the available services, your access to areas such as conference rooms and information about terminating the stay. Coworking can have a lot of perks. Much light has been made of the free wine and beer once offered by WeWork, but coworking providers are offering a number of very useful support services including guest reception and concierge services and other support services for your businesses.
Coworking Spaces for Every Need and Sensibility
Here’s a shortlist of some of the options you can choose from:
- Dedicated desks – A workstation that’s not shared with anyone else.
- Hot desks – You get a workstation assigned to you when you arrive.
- Dedicated/private office/suites – Built out spaces that are not shared with others at the provider.
- Dining rooms – Common areas for casual or formal dining.
- Meeting and event space – If you need to host an employee or client meeting, or you are staging an event for prospects or clients, you can be accommodated.
- Board rooms – If you have a board that meets during the course of the year, some providers have long tables and video conferencing.
- AV studios – If you need to record audio or video for internal or external distribution, some providers have professional studios and personnel to accommodate you.
- Team rooms – If you need an area to gather your employees for quick meetings, there are many to choose from.
- Nap rooms – Working long hours on projects and need a break? There are providers that offer rooms where you can snooze in privacy.
Considerations While You Are Looking
- Adding headcount to your original – Make sure the provider can accommodate your headcount should you decide to grow. You want the flexibility to take more space should you want to scale up your business. Conversely, you should also have the ability to give back space should you want to contact your business.
- Retain and attract talent – The space should be additive not an impediment to attracting and retaining your headcount. Make sure the space, amenities and location work well for your employees – this is critical during times of low unemployment when you are at risk of losing employees.
- Workplaces available globally – Some providers have locations in several countries. If you do business abroad, check to see what plans the providers have for permanent and interim solutions.
- Decentralized business can be accommodated – If your employers are primarily mobile workers, you might only need might only have to come together for an occasional face-to-face meeting – there are providers who have daily rates and space available when you need it especially on short notice.
- Consider how nimble the solution must be – If you need space only occasionally, consider how quickly you can move in and out. For example, if you need to be in a market for a brief amount of time, there are providers that can accommodate you.
- Greenery – If you like a touch of nature, you can find providers that include green walls and outdoor landscaping. Many people find biophilia to be soothing and meditative.
- Leisure spaces – Having areas that feature gaming equipment, grills and fire pits are common. Golf simulators, pool tables, foosball, batting cages, shuffleboard, movie theaters – whatever brings a welcome break and distraction to your employees can be found.
- Shared community or dedicated space – Consider how you work and how much privacy you need. Keep in mind that if you handle confidential materials such as HR or legal documents, you will need a private space and locked file drawers. You can open spaces with semi-private spaces for phone calls and meetings. Open design has come a long way since room with rows of desks.
- Furnishings – You can find any number of combinations of furniture, from traditional workstations to couches. Again, think about your brand and your way of working when making your selection.
- Pets welcome – This is a nice perk: check to see their policy. Keep in mind, some people may be allergic and frightened of your pet. There are also your pet’s needs to consider and the impact on your productivity.
- Flexible month-to-month plans – There’s a plan for every need and sensibility. If you have an infrequent need for space or a long-term solution, you can find a provider that will meet your needs.
- Executive chefs – Believe it or not, some providers have chefs on staff so you don’t have to leave the location for good food. Imagine throwing a dinner party for your staff and clients featuring fine wine and haute cuisine?
- Events/ speakers – Some providers have large spaces where you can stage an event. For example, if you value an education series, there are several providers that host guest speakers lecturing on topics that appeal to their members. Several have spaces to accommodate large audiences.
- Marketing services – If you need to promote your brand and expand your client base, there are providers that have marketing professionals on-site that can help you.
- Unlimited access (24/7 availability) – If you or your employees get inspiration at all hours of the day and night, you may consider a provider that can accommodate you. If you are working on an important project with a tight deadline, the last thing you want to do is to move your team to another space.
- Concierge services and receptionists – If you have a need for these services, there are providers who feature these service offerings. Think about the first impression prospective employees and clients have when they enter your space: will they be impressed with the professionalism conveyed by the reception area and the welcome they receive? Some also offer mailroom services.
How Much Does Coworking Cost?
All providers offer membership plans and you can certainly find one that matches your budget. A hot desk could cost as little as $200/month whereas a dedicated space could be twice that amount. There are also weekly and daily plans available as well. Before you start shopping, pull your budget together and see what you can afford. Yes, you might be enamored with private dining and a chef, but you should be honest with what your business needs. Identify the features will make you productive, happy and profitable. Again, check out what providers are in your area and visit their websites. When you’ve assembled your shortlist, schedule a tour and meeting with a manager who will explain the providers’ offerings. Take photos and notes so you can do an accurate side-by-side comparison. Spend a day working in the providers in your shortlist to make sure it’s the right fit – most of them will let you do so free of charge. Make a selection and start your coworking journey!
Want to start looking for coworking space today? Truss can help you search, compare, and lease office space all in one spot. If you’re looking for space in Chicago, LA, Washington D.C. or Boston, Truss technology and brokers can help you lease 60% faster and save an average of 19%. Click here to get started.