Shared Workspaces: The Pros and Cons of Communal Offices

Communal offices offer an alternative to the traditional corporate environment. Know the shared workspace pros and cons before joining this workforce revolution.


Collaborative workspaces are popping up all over the country, including right here in Greenville County.

Commonly known as “shared workspaces” or “coworking spaces,” they provide office space to a variety of businesses and encourage a collaborative environment by allowing individuals from multiple industries to work side-by-side.

While shared workspaces cater more towards larger corporations, the open layouts of coworking spaces are ideal for freelancers and startups. You can rent these out on a monthly, weekly, or daily basis; they give businesses of all sizes a low-cost alternative to purchasing expensive private office space.

According to Coworking Resources, the popularity of collaborative workspaces in the U.S. has skyrocketed in the past decade, increasing from 160 documented spaces in 2008 to an estimated 18,900 spaces in 2018.

This boom in the industry could represent a shift in the modern workforce which includes a higher number of freelancers, startups, and entrepreneurs.

Shared workspaces are especially attractive to these groups because they are relatively inexpensive and give them the opportunity to exchange ideas with like-minded professionals—sort of like an ongoing networking event.

Nevertheless, bigger businesses are also starting to recognize the value of having flexible lease options and fully-serviced workspaces. According to a U.S. Flexible Office Report, 65 percent of enterprise companies plan to incorporate coworking into their portfolio offering by 2020.

But despite their popularity, shared workspaces also have some drawbacks.

While collaboration is one of the biggest attractions to communal work areas, you might not want to be bumping elbows with your competition if you are a new startup. In addition, shared workspaces can be noisy and distracting. This could be a problem if you need a quiet place to present to investors or have trouble focusing.

Before jumping on the communal office bandwagon, it is important to recognize these shared workspace pros and cons.


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