Coworking spaces seem to be the new black for freelancers, remote workers, independent professionals, as well as startups. Having said that, it is not for everyone. If you’re still on the fence about sharing a space with random people, here are some of the pros and cons on operating a startup in a coworking environment.
Benefits of Coworking Spaces
Cost effective office facilities
Who doesn’t love top notch office facilities? It is even better when you get to pay lesser than you would have to if you’re in your own office space.
Said Andrea Lewis, Managing Director at Ad Hoc Global, a UX agency: “Coworking spaces eliminate many of the one-off or set-up costs like phone lines, broadband, and, in some cases, a receptionist. Using shared services, we can bundle these costs within the overall coworking fee.”
Cultivates entrepreneurial spirit
Startups can be a lonely journey. To be able to connect with like-minded people would really charge up your positive chakra. According to Harvard Business Review, people do thrive in coworking space.
According to Deskmag’s Global Coworking Survey, an overwhelming 90% of coworkers said they got a self-confidence boost, likely due to the fact that many spaces are filled with supportive communities that enable creative collaboration.
Networking made easy
Since you’ll be meeting people from different background, the chances of having future collaborations with other startups is high. You might get to hire freelancers to outsource your work to or bump into a lawyer to ask for quick legal advice.
Roadblocks at work can be overwhelming sometimes. You need an amount of time and energy to figure out solutions or come up with ideas. Hence, to be in a collaborative environment is great for suggestions or practical quick fix, when you need one.
Dodd Caldwell, Founder of Loft Resumes and MoonClerk shared, “Sometimes that’s just tapping someone outside of your team on the shoulder and asking their opinion. Other times, it may be a 15-minute whiteboarding session with a developer on another startup.”
Drawbacks of Coworking Spaces
Distractions from the peers
Though it’s good for collaborations, sometimes we can get carried away with multiple conversations.
Tim Jahn of Matchist shared : “Sharing an office space with startups is pretty awesome most of the time. However, it’s really easy to get distracted and become unproductive… often great for collaborative work like team meetings, but they’re not so good for heads-down work like coding or writing.
Meanwhile, Ashley Mady of Brandberry said : “It’s great for collaboration, but very loud for calls. You’ll often find yourself asking your team to whisper while you’re on the phone.”
Competitors in the same room
It is possible that you’ll find yourself in direct competition with someone sharing your co-working space, which can be a bit uncomfortable.
Scott Hinson, Lab director at Pecan Street Inc. shares that the challenge will be to keep proprietary projects a secret. “We just have to be conscious of who can’t be around whom (when scheduling work).”
Membership fee can be pricey
Though we did mention that it’s cost effective, it can also be pricey especially for entrepreneurs who are bootstrapping their startup or just starting out. On top of the monthly payments, the upfront cash such as the deposit may cost you a bomb too.
Conclusion: Before you strike out on your own and sign up for a coworking space membership, do consider things that will affect you and your team, as well as your business. Here are some of the best coworking spaces in Asia that we’ve come across recently.
WORK Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam)
With a food or drink purchase, you can sit all day, or you can opt for a membership in the comfy area upstairs.
Hubud (Ubud, Bali, Indonesia)
As Bali’s first coworking space, it is surrounded by nature and has a view of the rice paddy fields. It’s worth the international trip to Ubud just to check out.
The CO. Bangsar (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
Situated in a prime location, it is a self-contained ecosystem of digital nomads of all stripes, who eat, drink, work and relax together.
BeacHub ( Koh Phangan, Thailand)
Sitting right on the beachfront of Koh Phangan island, with a surfer-vibe, ocean breeze and gourmet organic food – Definitely as much of a spiritual space as it is a working one.
Blix Spaces (Melbourne, Australia)
Blix has cultivated the right working environment to make co-workers feel professional yet relaxed. The stunning architecture is sure to impress your clients too.
The Hub (Singapore)
Housing Singapore’s largest community of entrepreneurs, creatives and techies, The Hub is located in the heart of Singapore’s museum, arts and design precinct. Besides being a coworking space, it also offers mentorship, incubation, workshops, events, networking and corporate innovation labs.
Ministry of New (Mumbai, India)
It is a design-inspired space that believes in good functional European design that’s fused with Indian elements.
OOOSH (Kowloon, Hong Kong)
This co-working space connects business and tech talents all over Hong Kong and nurtures startups to grow from the ground up.
Tip: Do take note that all co-working spaces differ in prices and offerings, so be sure to vet them out before you sign up.