In recent years, there’s been a decided shift in the business scenario. There are more and more start-ups and self-employed people: freelancers, designers, consultants. When once they worked from home or out of coffee shops, they are now leaning towards an exciting concept: a shared office space. This is usually set up in a business centre and consists of a large table with chairs around it, which different people can occupy at different times. They may use the same dedicated space every day or just come in and take any space that’s free.
There’s something very exciting about the idea. You don’t know who you’ll be rubbing shoulders with. But you soon become friends with your neighbours. It’s networking on a very personal level and is sometimes more successful than a formal ‘networking club’. Glancing at your neighbour’s work, you ask questions. One thing leads to another and very soon you are trading contacts.
One person has a problem; someone has the solution or knows someone who can help. An entrepreneur next to you piques your interest and before you know it, you become collaborators. It’s not surprising to see total strangers becoming friends or business partners by just sharing the same working space.
The concept of a shared office space is catching on around the world. There are fewer private offices or closed cabins nowadays. The era of ‘suits’ is on the decline. People are finding open office spaces far more inviting.
Besides offering exciting networking opportunities, shared office spaces have many other benefits specially for small start-ups and self-employed individuals. Overheads are low. You are in a well-furnished and equipped office which has the essentials you need: wifi access, IT infrastructure, reliable technology and technical support. You don’t have to use your stretched resources to pay for all this.One important benefit is the flexibility of a short lease. Start-ups and small businesses are testing the waters. There’s a degree of uncertainty involved in just getting the business going, so flexible terms are a big attraction. You can lease space by the hour, for a few days or even longer. You can extend your stay depending on how your business is going or keep the work down to a few hours and pay accordingly.
One question often asked about shared office spaces is: isn’t it distracting to have other people working on different projects right next to you? Surprisingly, not many people who use a shared office space complain of this. On the contrary, seeing others at work can be inspiring. The energy around the table is palpable. You feel you, too, can achieve your goals.
Adaptable, streamlined, designed to meet the needs of modern businesses, shared office spaces are becoming the preferred way to work. The low overheads make it a viable proposition for small start-ups, freelancers and individual consultants. Far from being distracting, people have found that working in close proximity to each other is actually fun. You make friends. Business opportunities come your way from quite unexpected sources. Going to work every day becomes exciting because you don’t know who you will be interacting with. You get more work done and save a lot of money, too. The business centre finds it a profitable proposition. A shared office space becomes a win-win situation.