This question has come up several times lately - do we move our twelve person office into a shared workspace? For five or so employees it’s a no-brainer, but for more than ten and growing, further investigation is required to come to a sensible conclusion.
As with most things, there are pros and cons to both. Obvious pros - specifically for us, it makes sense being closer to our ecosystem of technology startup clients; and for startups and other more established companies alike; networking, partnerships, flexibility, funding, the list goes on. Obvious cons - lack of space, lack of privacy, distraction. But let’s dig a little deeper.
We recently moved our Sydney office to one of the main shared workspaces the Hub. I had a chat to one of Sydney counterparts to see what he thought. The main takeaway from our chat was convenience/ ability to network - many of the startups he was working with were located in the same space, and others heard he was there so came to chat with him, allowing him to easily foster new connections. He even managed to facilitate placing a Director into a startup in the same building.
Downsides, walking around whilst talking on the phone which he tended to do often is no longer an option, for fear of disturbing others. Another downside, a client he was working with was once sitting next to their direct competition in the market and heard their entire sales pitch. The client moved offices the following day.
I got chatting to a Rome2Rio Founder at an event recently and he explained that original co-working space Inspire9 was one of the main hubs of the startup ecosystem 7-8 years ago, and support network it created was the reason a lot of startups in during that time succeeded and became what they are today, like Culture Amp for example. Another advantage, the buzz that manifests with so many creative and driven individuals under the same roof can be impossible to replicate in a small office, where when a few people are absent or in meetings, can become pretty flat. But when your work requires constant human interaction in the form of stand ups and phone calls, would sharing an office space really be a feasible option to accommodate all of that chatter?
My brother works for video creation startup Biteable who are based in hip shared workspace The Commons (Collingwood). I popped over for a peep to aid my investigations further. Initial thoughts, WOW, so much greenery. Secondary thoughts, WOW so many people. He escorted me through all the living creatures, green and otherwise, until we reached a door surrounded by glass windows. He opened it, welcoming me into Biteables’ own little cordoned off area. Hurrah! You can have separate rooms within shared workspaces, now we’re talking..
So what next for our office dilemma? We will bide our time as we hunt for some more #curious #mindful Lakers to join the Mitchellake Melbourne team but who knows, if we can get a private space big enough, maybe in time we will join the cohort.. :)