What is the Difference Between Coworking & Shared Office Space?

As business owners, we need to know what the different types of workplaces are. This will ensure that your employees and the business as a whole, runs smoothly. Knowing what kind of office space to rent will help you optimize it to your needs and the goals of the business.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at both shared office space and a coworking space. A lot of people tend to confuse one for each other, and that’s pretty understandable. In summary, the differences between shared and coworking spaces will vary depending on the business’ requirements and goals.

Because each space varies quite a bit, it is important to properly analyze each one. Let’s explore their differences, similarities, the benefits each one brings, and more. We’re also going to provide examples of each that you can find in Austin, TX. So, if you’re looking for space in Austin, then read on to find out more.

What is a Shared Office Space?

Shared offices are large workspaces that are rented out for numerous people. It is designed to support small companies. It is when multiple businesses share a commercial office. The term “shared office space” is commonly used when a tenant of a privately leased office rents out the free space to another business. This way, both parties will benefit from splitting the bills, costs, and rent of the space.

The terms for the rent and expenses are agreed upon by the involved parties that will share the office space. Most often than not, the tenant host will already have the amenities the incoming business may need. This can include things such as the internet, telephone lines, furniture, etc.

Shared spaces are equipped with the necessary tech, perks, and features that a small company may need. We will look at these features in detail in the next section.

Shared workspaces differ from coworking spaces in the resources and amenities they offer to the tenants. Another huge difference between the two is their target market. Shared offices tend to be geared towards established, small businesses while coworking spaces cater to solo entrepreneurs, freelancers, and startup businesses.

Shared Office Space – Features

Now you know what shared space is, let’s look at the various features it offers that differs it from a coworking space.

Large Space

Because they target small, established businesses, they tend to have larger spaces compared to a coworking space.

Plenty of Amenities Offered

Due to its inherent large space, they have plenty of traditional office amenities on offer to help the professional workers run their company daily. Some of the amenities they may have can include a dedicated kitchen, reception services, meeting rooms, conference room, and a wide collection of office equipment to help with the operations.

Traditional Office Layout and Design

They tend to have a more professional office layout and design compared to coworking spaces. A business can rent out their private rooms for the employees and companies are segregated into their own rooms and spaces instead of mixing together.

The overall design is more conventional, reminiscent of a traditional office building. So if you’re looking for that kind of company culture then a shared workspace may be for you. They are also great for a growing startup that needs a place to bring clients.

Shared Office Space – The Benefits

There are plenty of benefits provided to your company. However, just like anything in life, there will be pros and cons to consider. We’ve compiled some of our thoughts and opinions on the benefits and cons that a shared office space can bring to the table.

Pros

Ready to use

One of the main pros of shared office spaces is that it is very convenient to move in. Most of them already have the amenities you need, all you have to do is move in. You can get back to work as soon as possible.

Keep costs low

Keeping expenses as low as possible is crucial for every level of business, especially so for startups. You you can keep your overhead costs low while still having access to traditional office space and amenities. Since you don't need conference rooms everyday you are able to only pay on an as needed basis.

Freedom and Flexibility

When renting out shared office spaces, you are free from the responsibilities and commitments long term leases that is associated with commercial offices. Most agreements are quite flexible, they can offer you to pay rent every month.

Cons

The Layout and Design

Most shared office spaces are buildings that are divided into large sections for each company renting. This can mean that the layout and design of the space may be too practical, and sometimes dull, for some people.

Lack of Customization Options

Due to the practical layout and design, you don’t really get many options to really customize your space to your liking.

Examples of Shared Office Spaces in Austin, TX

Here are some examples of shared office spaces you can find in Austin, Texas.

Regus Business Suites

Industrious

Vessel Coworking

What is a Coworking Space?

Now, on the other hand, we have coworking spaces. The differences between coworking spaces and shared office spaces have been quite blurred overtime. However, coworking spaces still have unique features that make them differ and stand out.

A coworking space is an office space that is geared for individual freelancers and entrepreneurs to rent. The space provided is generally smaller compared to shared office spaces. One of the main things that differ coworking spaces from traditional offices or even shared offices is that the individuals that use the space together aren’t all working for one company.

Think of coworking spaces as spaces for individual freelancers, working on their own projects, and sometimes collaborating with each other. This is why most coworking spaces are large open rooms instead of individual rooms, it promotes collaboration and community building between the freelancers.

In recent years, coworking has seen a meteoric rise. According to statistics, available coworking spaces are expected to double by 2024 which will surpass 40,000 spaces. The United States is home to the largest coworking space market in the world, boasting 3,700 coworking spaces across the country.

Coworking Space – Features

Let’s look at the features that coworking spaces provide. If you think any of these features suit your freelance career, then we highly recommend checking out coworking spaces.

Community Oriented

Coworking spaces are most commonly known for their excellent global community. The focus is to expand your network of contacts, which is crucial for any freelancer or startup entrepreneurs. You’ll be amongst dozens of people and meet new contacts on almost a daily basis. They frequently have networking events for all the members to get to know one another better.

Flexibility and Customization

Compared to shared offices, coworking spaces are flexible in nature. This is their main selling point and advantage. Small businesses and even individuals can rent their own dedicated desks, workstations, or hot desks on a daily basis. However, a lot of coworking spaces offer reduced rates if tenants sign up for a fixed term; this is usually around three to six months.

Significantly Lower Prices

Because the overall space is fairly small, and you only have to rent a portion of the space for work, the costs are very minimal. Especially when you consider that you get access to various amenities and equipment while surrounded by hard-working, and driven people.

Highly Customizable

Because the space is fairly open and flexible with its design, coworking spaces tend to be more customization friendly compared to the shared office spaces. You’ll be able to really personalize your space and even collaborate with your fellow tenants to spruce up the overall design.

Coworking Space – The Benefits

Here we’re going to look at some of the pros and cons of renting in a coworking space that you should consider.

Pros

Very Affordable

A coworking space is significantly more affordable than leasing your own commercial office. This is especially important if you’re a solo freelancer or a small startup business. Every saved penny counts. Whether you need a short term membership or a long term they got you covered.

Plenty of Amenities Provided

Most, if not all, coworking spaces will be equipped with all the amenities you will need to help you work efficiently every day. These amenities can include a stable internet connection, meeting areas, a small kitchenette for snacks, various office equipment, and more.

A Great Sense of Community

One of the main selling points of coworking spaces is their sense of community and acceptance. You’ll be able to form long-lasting bonds with the people in your coworking space. Coworking spaces are heavily designed to promote collaborative and creative works.

Highly Customizable

Most coworking spaces are very customizable. You can work with your fellow tenants to enhance the overall space and optimize it for both efficiency and style. We know that no one enjoys working in a dreary environment.

Cons

Fairly Limited Space

Coworking spaces are designed for individuals, this is why it has less space compared to shared office spaces. If you’re a freelancer who needs a larger space, renting into a coworking space may not be ideal.

Examples of Co-Working Spaces in Austin, TX

Here are some of our top favorite working spaces here in Austin, TX.

Wework

Link Coworking

Techspace

Conclusion

There you have it, now you know the main differences, features, and benefits of shared office and coworking spaces. We hope that you’ve learned something new about these workplaces. We wish you good luck in your business or freelance ventures.

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