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Co-working Spaces: The Capitalist Commune

William Gadea 11.23.2011

At IdeaRocket we’re in a time of change and expansion, so we’ve been evaluating office rental options. We considered the traditional route of contacting a broker and signing a 12-month lease for an office space of our own, but it quickly became apparent that co-working spaces, a growing trend in commercial real estate, would be a better option.

Co-working spaces come in different strengths: at their most informal they provide shared desk space and wifi access. This is a good solution for some solopreneurs and freelancers who prefer not to work at home, but the downsides are distractions and a lack of privacy. However, co-working spaces also provide private spaces that have distinct advantages for young, growing companies. To wit:

Limited commitment. While most office spaces demand a 12-month lease, co-working spaces usually offer month-by-month options.

Flexibility to re-size. For many young companies, 12 months is an eternity. Co-working spaces allow you to easily upsize or downsize as your employee roster changes.

Fewer related expenses. Rent isn’t the only expense related to changing offices. You also have to worry about furnishings, coffee machines, fax machines, printers, etc. Co-working spaces usually provide these services, so you don’t have to worry about them. And of course, you don’t have to pay a broker’s fee.

Better amenities. At WeWork where we finally landed, we have access to facilities such as recording booths, screening rooms, meditation rooms, phone booths, and of course, conference rooms. There is even a pool table on our floor, and a roof terrace that will be welcome in the summer. Obviously, we wouldn’t be able to enjoy such goodies if they weren’t shared with others.

Networking possibilities. If you’re a company that markets to other companies like we do, or if you rely on other organizations for legal, financial, or marketing assistance, co-working spaces are a great way to meet business partners. WeWork in particular provides social and networking opportunities.

Superior Value. When we did the research, regular offices in even out-of-the-way NYC locations such as Long Island City couldn’t match the price of the co-working space we finally chose at Fifth Avenue and 34th Street, the geographical heart of Manhattan.

Are there downsides? Of course we have somewhat less privacy than we would in a private office, and security is probably inferior to an unshared space, but I would expect co-working spaces to continue to grow; the proposition they offer start-ups is hard to beat. Here is a site that links to many co-working options.

William Gadea

William Gadea is the Creative Director and Founder of IdeaRocket.

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