3 reasons you should work from a co-working facility
When I started my business a few years ago, I wanted to start lean, so like many service-based small businesses, I started it from my living room. Working from home, and not having to commute or get dressed for the office every day was great, but about a year in, I hired my first employee and decided I needed a place for Launch to call home. I searched all over Austin, a city with seemingly endless options for office space, narrowing my search down to several of the more popular co-working spaces. In the end, I decided on making WeWork our HQ – and here’s why.
WeWork was able to offer better amenities than my home office, coffee shop, or some other co-working spaces. Working from home was convenient, but I found myself needing the separation between my personal living space and work environment. It was a big jump (and expense) when I was first getting started, but I was paying for sanity and a productive environment where people can collaborate, share ideas, and grow a business, all while having access to dozens of perks and amenities.
Conference room bookings through an app, and private phone booths for taking phone and video were a step up from the unprofessional coffee shop meetings I had grown familiar with. In all fairness, Austin is very receptive to small businesses, and taking a meeting at a coffee shop (or a bar) wasn’t all that strange.
As a millennial, I’ve grown accustomed to the fixed fee, all-inclusive, subscription model. WeWork offered exactly that. A fixed monthly fee that included all the coffee, tea, cold brew, beer, and kombucha I could drink. My private office also includes utilities, insurance, taxes, daily office cleanings, basic office furniture, and printer/scanner access in a secured environment. Every member with a private office in WeWork receives a keycard for 24/7 security access and a fixed number of credits each month that can be used to book conference rooms or visit other WeWork offices.
That’s probably my favorite member perk: visiting other WeWorks. Meeting other entrepreneurs and having access to an office space or conference room while on the road has been great. Since I have clients all over the nation, I could easily book a conference room in San Francisco or Boston for a face-to-face client meeting, or pop in while on the road for a quiet place to work.
If you are familiar with commercial office leases, you’re probably aware that most require a three- to five-year commitment and a large security deposit to lease. This might make sense for larger teams, but if you’re growing, this leaves very little flexibility. Who know how much space you will need in three years? I’ve had clients sign for large spaces they thought they’d “grow into,” and I’ve had smaller teams cramming in spaces they quickly outgrew. With just one-month notice, I now can easily downsize or upgrade office size, never having to worry about breaking my lease or losing my security deposit.
What small business owner just starting out on their own wants to worry about utilities, insurance, taxes, and paying for business internet? WeWork covers all this for you in an already built-out, fully furnished space with a fixed known monthly expense to plug into your cash-flow forecast. Speaking of cash-flow, WeWork also lets you pay your rent with a credit card at no additional monthly charge, allowing you to further delay your cash outflow while racking up rewards points.
Another great perk at WeWork is the network of members you have access to through their app or at your membership space. Co-working has helped me foster some of my best relationships with other business owners and entrepreneurs, many experiencing or having already overcome the same growing pains.
Surrounding myself with other business owners provides me with a network of support to seek advice as we continue to grow. It has even helped me find new clients. Some of my favorite clients and referrals have come from business owners with neighboring offices. WeWork also hosts several events on a monthly basis, from happy hours to giveaways. They even allow you to host your own events, should you choose to make sure of a conference room or the common area.
While WeWork checks the box for us now, there may be a point at six or eight employees when we need to revisit the traditional office model. It’s also possible that we go completely distributed, with team members in multiple time zones, using the WeWork network as our infrastructure.
The amenities that WeWork offers allows us to attract talent we otherwise might not have access to, at a fixed monthly price. Their flexibility takes the stress out of forecasting headcount and investing in a build-out, while locked into a long-term lease commitment. The people I’ve met and the relationships I’ve built have made co-working one of the best decisions I have made for my business.
To sign up for a tour of WeWork, check out my page here.