The search for office space is about finding the perfect home for your business, your employees, and your clients. It is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Some companies operate best in a location fitted out to exacting specifications with specialized equipment while others just need a seat and an internet connection. The first step in finding your company’s perfect home is understanding your needs and the various options available out there.
Shared office space environments are one of the options available and in many cases, they offer the ideal space for a company to thrive in. Simply stated, they offer the most amenities, the most features, and the most flexibility. With an office or desk in most shared office environments, you don’t just get a place to work; you get a professional onsite staff for you and your guests’ needs, amenities like coffee and snacks to keep you going, onsite meeting rooms and presentation equipment, networking opportunities, high-end technology, and much much more.
For many companies working in most industries, this combination of amenities and features equals the perfect office solution. And while it’s important to acknowledge what works about an office solution, it’s critical to understand what may not work - whether for you, your employees, your clients, or even your shared office space neighbors. And since a shared office solution is so flexible and configurable to suit individual needs, it’s easier to address the industries and company types that are not good fits rather than try to list all that are good fits.
High Traffic Needs
In a shared office space environment, there are personal spaces (e.g., your office) and there are common areas (e.g., reception, lounges, restrooms, etc.). Common areas provide great opportunities for networking, refueling, and getting away for a bit, but if your business’ needs require use of these spaces to an extent that is disruptive to your fellow members or causes problems for your clients, then you may be hurting your business by housing it in this environment.
Here are some examples of company types that may be unsuccessful because of high-traffic needs:
Recruiting / Talent Agencies
Recruiters and talent agencies that schedule their applicants tend to be very successful in shared office space locations due to the onsite staff, nicely appointed waiting areas, and always-ready coffee. But if those same agencies regularly conduct open calls or need to host people at unpredictable or off hours, they then be limited in such a space. It’s important to keep in mind that such locations often have building security that requires tenants to provide guests’ names in order for them to access the floor.
Certain Fields of Law
Lawyers and legal firms is another example of a company type that can be highly successful in a shared office space in most, but not all, circumstances. Fields of law that tend to have large groups of people visiting at the same time, needing to spend longer periods of time waiting in reception areas are the ones that are not always ideal fits for this type of arrangement. Immigration lawyers are one example of this as they often have entire extended families accompanying their clients.
For some company types, there’s just no getting around the need for things like specialized equipment or configurations. And the truth is that most shared office space providers are not able to accommodate such needs.
Here are some examples of company types that may be unsuccessful because of specialized needs:
While there are some medical based companies or practices that can be successful operating out of a shared workspace provider, the majority will face limitations that will hinder their success. Besides the more apparent limitations of not being able to conduct medical procedures or properly manage hazardous materials, there is the concern of being able to keep your clients’ information 100% confidential in adherence of HIPAA regulations. You may have your own private office at such a location where you can maintain an adequate level of confidentiality for your clients, but it is still an active environment without support staff specially trained to handle your clients while they are in the space.
Miscellaneous Retailers and Service Providers
Depending on what you sell and how or the service you provide, you may find a shared workspace does not work for you.
Some examples include:
- Photographers who need to store large amounts of lighting and camera equipment in office
- Jewelers who require large floor safes and special security
- Massage therapists who need massage tables and a completely serene environment at all times
- Construction companies with special equipment
- Music companies with soundboards, mixers, and stereo equipment or ones conducting music lessons
- Fashion companies with racks and product displays
- Any company that sells or deals with animals
Choosing the right home for your business is a big decision that could impact your ability to be successful. The good thing is that the people who operate shared office space locations understand their industry and what types of companies are likely to be the most successful. So, if you are ever unsure about whether this is the right type of environment for you, definitely reach out to discuss your needs. They are in the business of supporting a wide range of businesses, so if you are unlikely to thrive there, they will let you know to protect not only their current members but also your best interests.
What's next? Here are helpful questions to ask the sales manager when touring a coworking/shared office space.