July 29, 2015

How to Determine if Shared Office Space is Right for You

Small companies and startups face an important challenge as they grow. When and how to move up and move out of a home office environment and into a professional office space. Leasing a building is extremely expensive, and the up-front costs alone can be a deterrent for many companies.The solution lies somewhere in the middle: shared office space where several businesses work under one roof. Shared offices limit costs, they do not require a long-term lease commitment and offer a professional home base to work from as the company continues to grow.So just how do you determine if shared space is right for you?

Questions To Ask When Considering Shared Office Space

Not all shared offices and co-working spaces are created equal. Before you hop online and join up, be sure to take the time to closely examine your potential choices. Along the way, keep these questions in mind:

  • Who Will You Share Space With? Be aware that the businesses in a shared office can rotate in and out quickly, but many spaces draw certain types of businesses or cater to specific industries. You may also want to determine if you will be working alongside potential competitors.
  • What is the Vibe of the Office? Be sure to take a tour (or even two) of the space before committing. Go during mid-morning or mid-afternoon hours when business is churning to get a feel not only for the other members, but for the vibe and pace of the office.
  • Does the Office Project The Right Image? Would you be proud to invite your clients in for a meeting at your office? If the answer is no, or you are hesitant, that particular space may not be right for you.
  • What are the Pricing Plans? Many shared offices provide different levels of membership. With some, you do not receive an assigned office or desk. In many arrangments, the more you pay the more privacy you can assure yourself and your team and the more access to amenities you have. Be sure you are clear about the terms of membership. Will you be on a month-to-month plan or will you be signing a longer-term agreement?
  • What Amenities Do You Require? You can typically expect a refrigerator, coffee, water, copy machines, etc. Be sure to get a written list of the amenities and if you don’t see one that is important to you, ask about it. Always consider parking in this list, as well, especially for your clients.
  • Is Dedicated Private Space Available? It’s not always practical to have confidential phone calls or meetings in a shared office space. Always ask about access to enclosed offices or conference rooms if and when you need them.

Final Thoughts to Consider

Shared offices and co-working spaces can be extremely quiet and mellow one day and extremely chaotic the next. If you aren’t sure you and your team can focus amid distractions from other companies, a shared space may not be right for you.However, these arrangements also offer unprecedented opportunities to network and build partnerships with other growing firms. There are pros and cons, so it is important to know your priorities and weigh both the benefits and the drawbacks before determining whether or not a shared office space is right for you.If you are CEO of a startup or small business in Pittsburgh and you are considering shared office space in the North Hills, contact the professional commercial real estate brokers at ACRES today. Together we can assess the needs of your company to help you determine the best next step for your team.

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