These are two terms which we regularly come across in the business centre industry. In this article we’re going to go over both of these concepts and see what they mean for the modern day entrepreneur.
An idea put forward by Brad Neuberg in 2005, coworking allows people from different or similar professions to work, share ideas and collaborate together in a fun, energetic and flexible office setting. It’s not just about renting a workspace, it’s about the innovation, learning and support gained from and in turn provided back to the community.
Favoured by IT startups and freelancers, coworking areas can range from casual spaces equipped with couches and coffee tables to areas of intensely scheduled projects and assignments. In addition to fueling creativity, signing up for a coworking space allows you to separate work from home while maintaining a good work/home balance.
Set up in high-grade office space, resources and amenities in coworking areas are usually shared, which results in lower payments. For example, if you’re travelling to New York, you can let out a coworking space for as little as USD.30 per day. In Melbourne, it can start at AUD.35 per day while in Sydney its even more economical at AUD.140 per week.
A community manager or facilitator is an additional feature of the space and they typically work to drive interactions and communication between the members. Regular networking events allow professionals to mingle with one another and find oppourtunities to grow their business.
The main drawback of opting for a coworking space is a lack of privacy. There are no partitions shielding your laptop from your neighbor, so it’s not the best option if you’re working on something that’s meant to be restricted. The desk or space provided isn’t fixed and changes regularly.
A lockable storage space is usually not provided which means that you have to bring and take back your work with you. Coworking spaces can also be noisy which can lead to distractions.
The cost is also an important consideration, aside from the facility charges you will also be paying for the commute to and from the centre which can be a significant factor for any startup.
A serviced office is an office space or building which is maintained by an onsite centre management company. They take care of the day to day operations, IT and administrative issues so that you can simply come in and concentrate on your work.
The space is fully furnished and is usually let out in the form of individual rooms or suites which can accommodate a specific number of individuals. As compared to traditional offices, a serviced space offers more flexibility and will allow you to increase or decrease the area leased according to your requirements.
Serviced facilities are common in prime business cities. Singapore and Hong Kong are an excellent example of this and are currently experiencing an increase in both supply and demand for serviced space.
Many organisations prefer to lease these spaces as they have very little set up costs. Resources such as scanners, printers, faxes, photocopiers, teleconferencing and AV equipment are commonly shared among the clients. Individual offices are private and can be locked up at the end of the day.
A professional reception caters to all clients in the centre and also manages their mail and calls. Many facilities such as administrative support, secretarial services, IT backup, meeting rooms and pantry are readily available on a “pay-per-use” basis which results in considerable cost saving.
As opposed to a coworking area, spaces assigned in a serviced office do not change. You’ll have more privacy and there won’t be as many distractions as there are in a coworking space. Clients are free to mingle with one another but there’s no community manager or facilitator to initiate interactions.
Serviced offices have a corporate look and feel but they usually don’t allow companies to extend their brand to the facility. It’s also possible that the shared areas, services or equipment might not be available when you need them. For small organisations and new startups the costs of the shared facility might outweigh the benefits over time.
Despite some of their negative aspects many businesses have benefited from using serviced offices or coworking spaces. If you would like to find out which services are available in your area you can start here.