The Ultimate Guide to Coworking Spaces and Professional Office Suites
Coworking has exploded in popularity over the last few years. Multitudes of small businesses and freelancers have moved from traditional offices to coworking spaces for reasons such as flexibility, convenience, and cost. We put together this comprehensive guide to help you decide whether a coworking space in NYC is right for you.
Your Questions about Coworking, Answered
What is a coworking space?
A coworking space is an office space environment with shared amenities and services provided by onsite management. Most coworking spaces offer private offices, team rooms, and open work environments. Amenities usually include access to conference rooms, lounge areas, and kitchens. Administrative services such as receptionist, mail handling, printing/copying, and IT support may be included as well.
What’s the difference between a coworking space and a professional office suite?
A professional office suite is a type of coworking space set in a traditional business atmosphere that offers companies more privacy than most typical coworking spaces. They’re more businessy. Sometimes referred to as executive suites or business centers, professional office suites in NYC have many of the same features and amenities as coworking spaces: fully furnished office spaces, on-site management, internet and phones, administrative services, etc. These offices are ideal for businesses such as attorneys, accountants, investment firms, and others who need private, professional office space with flexible or short-term lease commitments.
Who uses coworking spaces?
Coworking began in the late ‘90s as an office space solution for freelancers and small teams, but has morphed into a modern workspace concept that appeals to many companies of various types and sizes.
A coworking space might be ideal for freelancers, sole practitioners, and others who need to work independently, but want to avoid feeling isolated or distracted working from home or coffee shops. Coworking also offers more opportunities to strike up a conversation with like-minded business owners who would benefit from some much-needed social interaction. Plus, having a work community can create discipline and structure, two things that can be difficult to cultivate when working alone.
While freelancers and sole practitioners are drawn to coworking spaces because they’re an attractive alternative to working from the isolation and distractions of home, coworking is by no means restricted to freelancers and independents. In fact, according to data collected by the Global Workplace Association in 2017, 59% of all coworking workers were small businesses and mobile corporate users, and just 20% were freelancers. With the continued expansion of coworking offices over the past few years, it stands to reason that the gap has only widened further since then.
Today, a myriad of businesses work in coworking spaces and professional office suites. These include entrepreneurs, solo practitioners, consultants, attorneys, “Silicon Alley” technology startups, investment firms, architecture firms, web designers, fashion labels, advertisers, communications and public relations companies, brand management, creative agencies, companies who need temporary swing space, and almost any other type of business who needs office space. You name it, they’re there.
Where are coworking spaces located?
Every major city in America -- scratch that, in the world -- has coworking offices, and most have many options. Some coworking spaces cater to a specific industry, like fashion or law, while others have created spaces design specifically for women. As you might have guessed, New York City is a hotbed for coworking communities. The demand for coworking space in NYC is particularly high due to the sheer number of small businesses who don’t want to sign long-term leases and other companies who are rapidly expanding and need to increase headcount on their schedule.
Take a walk around most neighborhoods and you’ll likely pass a number of coworking spaces in NYC, whether you realize it or not. From prestigious Class A buildings in Midtown Manhattan and Hudson Yards to more eclectic downtown locations in the Flatiron District, Soho, and Hudson Square, you can bet there’s a coworking space in NYC that fits your needs.
Email us your ideal location and number of employees, and we’ll send you the best coworking options for your business.
9 Benefits of Coworking
Coworking offices offer more than just a space to plug in. Though the particular environments of coworking spaces in NYC vary somewhat, most offer similar services that bolster productivity and help keep your business chugging along.
1. Inclusive pricing
Don’t nickel-and-dime me, Bro. One thing many business owners love about coworking spaces is that most offer all-inclusive monthly pricing. That means electricity, cleaning, real estate taxes, utilities, as well as some a la carte amenities are included in the monthly price. Coffee is usually included, too, although you’ll still need to pop out if you want a Grande, Sugar-Free, Vanilla Latte with Oat Milk.
2. No long-term commitments
I’m not talking about your attorney’s burner phone; I’m talking about your lease term. Coworking spaces offer the most flexible lease terms for office space. Rather than signing a long-term lease with a landlord, coworking spaces offer short-term contracts. The contracts typically range from month-to-month office space rentals to annual rentals, and some coworking companies even allow daily or hourly rentals. Keep in mind that you should expect to pay a premium for shorter-term contracts; a one-year term is usually the most cost-effective.
3. Minimal startup costs
It doesn’t cost much to get started in a coworking space, at least compared to renting a traditional office space directly from a landlord where security deposits can be exorbitant if your company’s financial history isn’t stellar. By contrast, coworking spaces require lower security deposits, even for startups, most of the time just a month or two is paid in advance.
As I’m sure you understand by now, coworking spaces are prebuilt, meaning you won’t pay for construction, wiring, and many other startup costs associated with traditional leases. Speaking of leases, the leases for coworking spaces aren’t technically leases; they’re called License Agreements. A License Agreement is defined as a type of service agreement whereby a tenant is allowed to use an office in exchange for an occupancy fee. I can feel your eyes glazing over. The most important thing to know is that this type of agreement is very short and simple compared to traditional office leases in NYC that often require weeks of legal review and thousands of dollars.
4. They’re move-in ready
Whether you need 10 private offices or a 20-person team room, all coworking spaces come fully furnished with desks and chairs, enabling companies to have their businesses up-and-running quickly, often the next day. In addition, you won’t need to schedule internet service with an outside provider, like Verizon FiOS or Spectrum, as those services are provided by the coworking company. Nor will you spend precious time setting up an account with ConEdison for electricity or searching the internet for a reputable cleaning service. Just bring your computers, plug-in, and start working.
5. Scaling up? No problem
Many companies are growing fast and can't be tied down to long-term lease contracts. In a coworking space, you’ll have the flexibility to expand and the comfort of knowing you can build your team without worrying about where you’ll fit.
6. Short-term office space rentals (swing space)
Coworking suites are often the best solution for a company that needs temporary space while they’re between offices. For example, your company is transitioning to a new office, and the contractor keeps saying, “Two more weeks.” To further complicate matters, your existing lease is about to expire and you have to get out pronto -- what are you going to do!?? Rent swing space!
Now this time, you just signed a lease renewal for the same office you’ve been in for 14 years. As a lease incentive, your landlord agreed to rip out that disgusting beige carpet, give the walls a fresh coat, and expand the corner office (You deserve it, Boss.), but your business can’t function with all that banging going on. What are you going to do!?? Rent swing space!
One more, your law firm is handling a large class action lawsuit, you need 15 private offices within 5 blocks of the New York County Courts, and you’ll need those offices for an unknown amount of time -- will the defendant settle out of court or is this case going to trial? Stay tuned. A swing space will provide a temporary place to work while everything shakes out.
There are a lot of reasons why a company might need to rent temporary office space, but you know what to do…
7. Amenities and staff
Unlike traditional office spaces, coworking spaces have on-site management, IT support, cleaning services, mail handling, and courteous receptionists to answer phones and greet guests -- all this is typically included in the cost of membership.
In addition to the workspace, coworking spaces have shared common areas on-site, like conference rooms, lounge areas, and kitchens, where members can meet with a client, relax with a colleague, and dine with your work spouse. Need to take a private call periodically? Coworking spaces often include access to soundproof phone booths. Many coworking spaces offer 24/7 access, so go ahead and burn the midnight oil.
8. The price is right
If you move into a coworking space, you can expect low startup costs and a lower security deposit. Plus, because coworking spaces are turn-key, you won’t be required to pay for many things you would in a traditional lease like furniture, utilities, taxes, and cleaning services. We can provide specific pricing for any coworking location in NYC or beyond, just send us an email with the number of people you need to accommodate, location where you’d like to be, and your ideal start-date. We’ll get back to you promptly and perhaps schedule a tour.
9. Expand your non-social network
It’s like “friending” but IRL. Entrepreneurs and small businesses are often drawn to coworking spaces for the opportunity to expand their network, develop new business opportunities, and simply make friends with like-minded people. Plus, coworking spaces in NYC attract individuals from many different professions with various skill sets (programmers, copywriters, designers, to name a few), so you’re surrounded by people to turn to if you need advice in another field. So, be social. It’s good for your mind and your business.
Most companies have a lot of work to do with fast-approaching deadlines, and are really busy throughout the day, so you won’t always have time for a watercooler chat with Hans about his new cryptocurrency for cats concept, Katze-Münze™. Luckily for you and Hans, many coworking spaces host periodic events. Some of these events are strictly social ones, like happy hours and holiday parties. But many coworking companies in NYC offer more specific types of events, perhaps a panel discussion with industry leaders, a demo day to share and receive feedback on your project, an accounting or social media seminar, leadership workshops, hackathons and launch parties. Sometimes there are even meet and greets with famous athletes, yoga and cooking classes (not together), and meditation Mondays. Find your bliss. Ommmmm.
Disadvantages of coworking
If coworking in NYC is really as fabulous as we’ve been blathering on about here, why doesn’t every company rent an office in a coworking space. Well, as with most things in life, there can be some drawbacks to coworking. If the drawbacks outweigh the benefits, a coworking space might not be a good fit for your business. What are the disadvantages of coworking spaces?
- Lack of privacy
- Price per square foot is high
- Unfavorable client perception
- Shortage of conference rooms
- Absence of company signage
- Inadequate elevator service
- Lots of potential distractions
- Clashing corporate cultures
- Continual turnover
- High Noise level
Keep in mind that not everything you may need is included in the price of a coworking membership. Many services come a la carte. Conference room time is usually charged on an hourly rate after your monthly allotment has been used. Printing tends to be by the page. Reception services also may vary. If you want the receptionist to answer the phone with your company name, that will likely cost more, too.
If any of these drawbacks to coworking spaces might adversely affect your business, you may prefer an office sublet in a traditional office environment.
Coworking is Here to Stay
It’s not just a fad. Research shows that the number of coworking spaces in the US nearly doubled every year between 2006 and 2015, and it’s continued to grow since. By 2017, there were roughly 4,000 coworking spaces in the US. This number is expected to increase to over 6,000 by the year 2022.
What explains this increase in popularity? It’s in part due to the fact that many people thrive in coworking environments. Research shows that those who work at coworking spaces are happier than those who work in more traditional office setups. The modern design and upbeat atmosphere can motivate workers and inspire productivity. Plus, since coworking spaces house members who work for a wide range of different industries, workers tend to be less competitive with one another, lessening internal politics.
Coworking is now an established business model that will continue to shape the future of the American labor market. If you think it could be a good fit for you and your company, coworking is definitely worth a look. Need help finding the right coworking space? We got you! Let us know where you’d like to be, how many people you need to accommodate, and your ideal start-date, and we’ll get back to you with some options.