Co-working space or Flexible workspace as you called it basically has taken the front line of every commercial real estate articles and news in every major or even minor city worldwide. The percentage of flexible workspace has also began to increase dramatically in overall office space availability in many cities, especially in Asia.
It has not only attracted the likes of freelancers, entrepreneurs ,startups and MNCs. Now it has also attracted big investments from Venture capital funds and huge sovereign funds etc.
Enough has been said about the multiple advantages and pros of using a co-working space.
Let’s discuss the real downsides of working in a co-working space.
1. Branding and Customisation
You will not be able to have your own branding for your own company and team inside your co-working space. With very limited options for customisation, it’s a tough task to build your team culture and DNA within a shared workspace environment.
2. No Privacy
Most people or interested parties will get very impressed by professionally taken visuals of each co-working space online. But does the actual workspace reflect the real picture? In reality, working in a cluttered work space with all kinds of commotion means productivity is sure to go down. Even a private cabin won’t do much good, unless it is fitted with walls with strong sound absorption. Unfortunately such features are rare as sound proofing is known to be costly. Sensitive information is also bound to be compromised in this setting, which means confidentiality and data loss are at high risk of being violated.
3. Expensive per square foot
By comparing on a per square foot basis, renting a co-working desk could be as expensive as 5 times that of a traditional workspace. And this cost could be still going on its way up. However we need to bear in mind that bulk of that cost typically goes to outfitting that space. Co-working generally works for small businesses and teams. But when your team goes beyond 10 persons or more, then traditional workspace should be seriously considered.
4. ’Close’ competition
With various businesses under one roof in the same co-working space, it will be inevitable that competitors may end up next to each other! This could result in some undesirable outcomes and even worse ugly incidents. Such as resulting in data and information leak or even worse loss of business to that competitor.
This ranks as one of the biggest downside working in a co-working space. Even though every co-working space has their own house rules, especially governing noise control. Unfortunately not everyone abides by it and hence when in a crowded co-working space , everyone starts speaking, whole entire place will turn into mayhem , resulting a drastic drop in your productivity.
6. Diminished Productivity
With the presence of crowd, noise and distractions, workers in co-working space will face a drop in their productivity. In fact some of the common remarks we often get , some co-working spaces are even well known as food markets due to extreme over crowding and noise. One of the reasons why many remote workers or freelancers choose to work in co-working spaces is to improve the productivity. However in reality the opposite could the truth.
7. Insufficient facilities
This is a very significant problem caused by over-crowding. Due to the mandate of pursuing for more sales and new members sign up, many times, the co-working space runs into an issue where all facilities , i.e meeting room, board rooms and discussion areas became over-booked. Even when it’s required to book the facilities for your team in advance, it’s getting increasingly tougher to secure usage due to extreme high demand. As such this leads to not just a drop in productivity but also frustration.
8. Technical Infrastructure
Most co-working spaces are marketed to boast of some of the most advanced technological infrastructure and features. But not all of them have that. To work outside of a well-connected corporate office, you likely require some high-tech equipment, hardware, and software to do your job right. While some advanced or “High end “ co-working spaces are equipped with all the latest state of the art technology, many still lag behind at the expense of their members. Do not be too overly surprised to learn that the high-speed internet connection at a co-working space isn’t as fast as advertised. In the event of a downtime, will there be a qualified IT professional to assist in all forms of troubleshooting ? It’s a well known fact that businesses can lose a lot of money during period of IT infrastructure or servers going down. Businesses that rely heavily on such , should conduct proper due diligence before committing to any spaces.
8. High Cost, Low Return
While the marketing material for a new co-working space may highlight the countless benefits offered to its members, it’s important to remember that co-working spaces are ventures created to derive great profit from it. Membership fees vary largely on the locations you are in, type of services provided as well as the type of workspace, i.e hot desk, private desk or private office. However very often, the high cost of membership doesn’t turn out to be worth the low return that you receive for your commitment and loyalty, as they will probably give the space to someone else who’s willing to pay a higher fee when your lease is up.
Having highlighted some of the downside of using co-working space, there are of course many benefits in using them, such as lease flexibility and costs savings from not having to outfit office etc. The most important thing is to understand co-working space may not be suitable for everyone or every type of business. If you are going to use a co-working space, mutual understanding among members in a co-working space is very important , so as to ensure that working in one is a pleasant affair, so that many inconvenience and disadvantages can be overcome more easily.
Not sure which type of workspace suit you and your team more? Or even which co-working space will suit you , given with so many options in the market. Let us know today , on how we can best help you to obtain your dream workspace.