Over the last decade or so, we have seen a tremendous change in how people see the workplace as a concept which involves a lot of things – from the way employers treat them, to their own employee loyalties and the more mundane, day-to-day office things.
Coworking spaces have definitely been a part of this change, allowing tiny startups and one-person teams to enjoy the facilities and the amenities of a business space without having to actually rent out a space just for themselves.
And while coworking spaces can be fantastic, there comes a time when a company has to “upgrade” and start renting out its own space.
But, how do you know it is the right time?
Working out the finances
I have seen all kinds of coworking spaces, charging all kinds of rates and fees and featuring all kinds of various models for charging their renters. Many times, I have also noticed certain growing startups paying what they thought was a reasonable price for their half a dozen desks, when they could have easily have rented out a small office.
What I am trying to say is that you need to be careful about the perceived lower costs of coworking spaces. There comes a time when renting out a small office actually becomes cheaper. Sure, it may not be in the fancy neighbourhood your coworking space is in, but the privacy will be worth it.
Inevitable need for privacy
I am not a paranoid person and I know that people who use coworking spaces all adhere (more or less) to a certain code that “prevents” them from getting too nosey. That being said, there will come a time when your company will need the privacy of its own dedicated space.
For example, let’s say that you have just hired your first employee and you need to talk about a relatively sensitive subject pertaining one of your clients. You do not want to have to leave your workplace just to be able to do this in private.
It makes things inconvenient.
There are virtually innumerable situations in which you need the privacy that only your own small office will provide and they become an everyday occurrence from the moment your company stops being a one-person operation.
Building a company culture
I am a staunch believer that the company culture is something that you have to let develop on its own. I don’t believe in heavy HR and those overtly aggressive practices where everyone has to be best friends and whatnot.
Even if you agree with me and you like to let your company culture develop organically, you will still find it hard to do it in a space that you share with other companies. People will feel shy and constrained and it will be difficult to let the flow of the conversation and day-to-day interactions be as spontaneous as you will want them to be.
If you, on the other hand, happen to be one of those people who like to guide the building of their company culture, you will be in even more of a pickle in a coworking space. You will find it almost impossible to do anything meant to bring your people together as other people will be there and things will get awkward.
Sure, you may have some semblance of a company culture going on in a coworking space, but after a certain point, it gets stifled.
If you are serious about your company culture (and you should be, by the way), a coworking space will quickly shows its limitations in that respect.
In order for a company to really grow and develop, it has to do it in continuation and there has to be an overall sense of progress within it.
The move from coworking space to the company’s own offices can be the main point of a steady period of growth and development.
All of a sudden, your company is taking this huge new step and it begins to show in every aspect of your business. Everyone starts working harder, the ideas are everywhere, the focus is unprecedented. Sure, you may experience new challenges, but they are also the sign that your company is going somewhere and that you are actually growing.
The fact that you are moving up will also translate to your customer relationships, as you will reinforce their belief in you and inspire them to stick with you, a budding new company.
Perhaps the best way to describe this for all its beneficial effects is to imagine an opposite situation. You are apprehensive of making the move and you settled for your coworking space. Most people will start to think that you are afraid or that you do not believe in your company. If your employees get a wind of that, you are all but doomed.
Versatility in flexibility
If you asked me to give you just one signs that it’s time for you to exchange your coworking desk for an office, it would be the first time you start thinking about various what ifs. What if you suddenly landed a huge client and needed to take on three more people? What if you suddenly needed a place where you would entertain clients and potential partners without them seeing a dozen other companies sharing the same space?
In the end, it is all about flexibility. While a coworking space may seem really flexible to begin with, it does not give you the same freedom your own office does.
In the modern world of business, nothing is worse than not being flexible. Companies that stick with one way of doing things and that do not even have the option of changing up things are very likely to fail.
Coworking spaces are a great place for young companies to start their life. However, after a while, they become too small and it is time to move out.
Leslie runs Cube SEO, he has just sign a three year office lease and is loving building his own team and filling his own fridge, in his own office.