Generally referred to as flexible workspaces, both co-working spaces and shared offices strive to promote efficiency and ensure employees’ comfort. Note that there are many models of the hybrid workforce and they come with varying modifications. Co-working spaces and shared office spaces are both already furnished, offering a range of amenities and a more professional space than a home office.

Have it in mind that the heightened interest in the hybrid working model is a direct result of the experiments that happened during the pandemic. From ensuring safe social distance to making employees feel comfortable in their own homes, the modifications of flexible workspaces all buttresses the progress of organizations in the future.

The differences between co-working and shared office spaces tend to vary based on the requirements and goals of the individuals and businesses leveraging these spaces, and how the space can see to the needs of its members. However, it is important to analyze each co-working and shared office space on an individual basis. Each one will differ in terms of what it can offer you and your business.

Pros and Cons of Co-Working Space

This workspace welcomes different people who just sit together and work. Note these members aren’t working on the same project and in some cases do not even work for the same company. Co-working more or less refers to space sharing between employees working independently and don’t have any connection with each other.

This space offers top-notch flexibility since there is no physical office, and you can do away with a long-term lease and major binding agreements. Aside from saving costs and lowering expenses, co-working spaces have many advantages over the traditional work mode.

Pros
  • It fosters collaboration and networking
  • You could learn from other workers
  • It offers top-notch flexibility
  • Perfect for remote or part-time workers
  • Also perfect for temporary projects at a new location
Cons
  • People who need to work on a project together might get distracted
  • You can’t predict who will be sharing space with you
  • It may get loud or uncomfortable
  • Lack of privacy
  • Heightened competition

Pros and Cons Shared Workspace

A shared workspace is a concept where a business or organization willingly shares some of its office space with others. This might involve sharing the kitchen or even having a common reception area within the same building. According to experts, this gives room for multiple businesses to share the cost of a service or system to ensure that general budget expenses are reduced.

Although this workspace might seem like a small step, but it plays a very important role in ensuring organizations stay free from additional business burdens and expenses. Also, have it in mind there are various types such as physical collaborative workspace, shared physical workspace, virtual collaborative workspace, and virtual shared workspace. Each shared workspace varies from the other, but the general concept remains the same.

Pros
  • It heightens business’ social connections with other organizations
  • It helps to grow productivity for employees
  • Helps to save cost
  • It shares the cost of services
  • It reduces the square footage for an office
Cons
  • There might be certain distractions
  • A good number of employees report feeling uncomfortable
  • The workspace can get cluttered sometimes
  • There could be a probability of competitors finding your strategies

Key Differences Between Co-working Spaces and Shared Offices

There is confusion surrounding the two terms as they are both similar in meaning. The industry that offers these work options is yet to set a standard definition for either. In addition, the English language hasn’t been able to differentiate office sharing vs. Co-working. However, below are key differences between these two flexible workspaces.

  1. Terms

Note that in a typical office-sharing arrangement, you are expected to sign a long-term agreement. Howbeit, with co-working, terms barely go beyond three months and some even allow you to rent on a month-by-month basis.

  1. Amenities

You have to understand that the amenities in an office-sharing arrangement are fairly limited. You might coordinate a catered lunch once in a while or an after-work happy hour every few months, but the primary objective for being there is to work. However, co-working spaces tend to be more than just places to work. They make available different amenities that make it easier to focus and get things done.

Have it in mind that services like streamlined billing, online conference room, facilities booking, access to various locations (in your city or across the country), onsite cleaning and maintenance, and even unlimited black-and-white printing offer professionals the freedom to work whenever and however they deem fit.

Although you can still enjoy these same amenities in an office-sharing arrangement, you’ll have to put in so much work to set them up and maintain them. In a co-working space, the space provider does all this for you.

  1. Flexibility

Flexibility remains one of the most notable differences between shared office spaces and co-working spaces. Note that in an ideal office-sharing lease, you may be expected to pay for the space whether you use it all or not.

If, for instance, you suddenly downsize your business from three offices to two, you’ll still be expected to pay for the third office even though it is not in use. Meanwhile, in a co-working space, you are offered the platform to expand or contract your workspace from one month to the next depending on your business needs.

  1. Cost

According to reports, office sharing can be quite costly when compared to co-working spaces. In an office sharing arrangement, you are paying for the privacy that comes with renting a separate office. You’re also paying for the consistency of having the same space day after day.

However, with co-working, you can work in one zone of the space on Monday and choose to sit in another zone on Tuesday. All these will depend on who else is working that day and what time you arrive.

  1. Privacy

Have it in mind that one of the key differences between shared office spaces vs. co-working is privacy. In shared offices, you will have walls and a door between you and other people in the space. However, in a co-working space, you will have access to private meeting rooms and phone booths, but you’ll spend a greater amount of your time in the communal space circled by others.

  1. Networking and Collaboration

For most modern businesses, new ideas are the driving force of their success. Howbeit, these ideas don’t happen or come in a vacuum. Most often, it takes exposure to new environments, new people, and new issues to open up the tap of creativity. In terms of new ideas and fostering creativity, co-working spaces lead the pack.

In a shared office, teams are more or less exposed to just one other business (the one from whom you lease or rent the space) and this minimizes their exposure to new ideas. Meanwhile, a vibrant co-working space ensures members have direct contact with other members from a wide variety of industries, niches, and specialties. Note that this heightens exposure to new ideas.

  1. Infrastructure

When sharing an office with another business, will need to consider infrastructure. Planning, arranging, sustaining, and paying for utilities — like gas, electricity, water, and internet — can take up a good percentage of your valuable time and capital. However, in a co-working space, you are only expected to pay rent, every other thing will be taken care of by someone else. You also won’t have to worry about repairs or maintenance.

  1. Furniture

When using shared office space, you will be expected to provide your own furniture — desks, chairs, printers, servers, and other vital equipment. In a co-working arrangement, all of these and more are provided for you. You only have to come with your laptop and any other thing you need for the day.

  1. Overhead

In a shared office space, you are tasked with the overhead that ensures that your business keeps running. Note that you have to budget for services like IT support, repairs, maintenance, and cleaning. All these can have a massive impact on your working capital. However, if you opt to rent from a co-working space, those expenses will be included in your cost, and this entails that your overhead drops to zero.

Conclusion

Another interesting fact about office sharing vs. co-working is that the two flexible workspaces can exist together in the same space. However, a major differentiating factor between both is the needs of your business and its growth stage. Owing to that, it is necessary to take these factors mentioned above into consideration for the best experience as well as the growth of your business.