Sharing office space with other business owners isn’t a new concept, but the increased availability and variety of co-working spaces have more people considering it as an option — particularly when they can rent without long-term commitments.
Father to a four-month-old son, Steven Winner, a web developer, says working from home would be distracting and impossible. In a college T-shirt and khaki shorts, Winner works alone in a furnished private office in the Hollywood Regus center, virtually connected to his boss in New York. “I can have coffee, a receptionist, a kitchen,” Winner says. For this techie, the job is new and so is the flexibility — his company rents by the month. If business growth goes according to plan, his employer will hire a few co-workers for Winner and add desks. “This lets us keep our options open,” he says.
Just down the hall from Winner, Sandra Thomas, manager of a Canadian transportation logistics company, has been working from shared space for about six months. It has been a way for her employer to enter the market without major overhead. For Thomas, new to the area, working from an office suite has helped her integrate. “I’ll step into the kitchen area and talk to other people or sometimes if I keep the door open, people will peek in and say hi and ask what I do.”
Increasingly, the newer shared office space concepts are marketing their centers to entrepreneurs as places for collaboration where they can benefit from each other by socializing and sharing ideas. Some landlords even host networking and educational events, providing forums for users to increase their business opportunities.
Alex Patino, operations manager for quick prints, used to meet with clients in his company’s warehouse. Now, he and a creative director stretch out in a corner office in a Plantation co-working space. Patino recently attended a networking social sponsored by a new renter, a CPA. He wound up scoring her printing work. “Being here has been really good for business.”
Workplace columnist Cindy Krischer Goodman is CEO of BalanceGal, a national provider of news and advice on how to balance work and life. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit worklifebalancingact.com.