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28.04.2018 Back to Blog articles

Let's Get One Thing Straight: Serviced Office Spaces Are Not Coworking Spaces

How to know if a coworking space is the real deal, or best avoided!

Here's the thing... There's proper shared office space, and then there's rentable office areas that are actually something else altogether different. Telling the difference between the two isn't that hard; just don't part with a penny of your desk sharing budget, folks, until you've read this article. We wouldn't want you to get all fired up about legging it from the back bedroom office (at last!), excited about making the switch to being a business professional all set to work each day in a coworking environment, only to find that, once you get there, it's not all it was cracked up to be and you're still sat on your own!

First things first. Just because available office space is part of a 'serviced office', that doesn't make it the kind of cool and on-trend desk sharing environment that's massively popular right now. Creating a successful environment for start-ups and freelancers takes a bit more than arranging half-a-dozen desks in a big room, planting phones and mouse mats on them, and then setting up a shared printer near the bin and the Lord Sugar life-size cardboard cut-out by the door. Great shared office space is primarily about community. Yes, of course, you need wires, sockets, furniture, Wi-Fi and all the rest of it, but a working environment that prides itself on its utility aspect, rather than its community vibe, isn't what young (and indeed not so young) professionals want these days. Au contraire!

So, if you've got serviced office space available, and you've perhaps neglected to pay much attention to the community aspect, think again. It'll pay off. A community means regular attendance, which means regular income. It also translates to a growing client- base year on year, as the word spreads about just what a great place your shared facility is: a must-attend contemporary set-up where professionals from all types of industries can work, chat, network, swap stories, collaborate, learn from each other, forge new friendships and business alliances, and grow as people not 'just' as business people.

So, if you're mulling over reinventing yourself from a serviced office space provider to a coworking space provider, increase your prospects of success by putting yourself in your potential customers' shoes. Think like a user, not a provider. Users would look forward to heading each day to a place that's welcoming; inclusive (not exclusive or elitist in any way); modern; and where there's a strong sense of community, but not to the point where it amounts to a kind of drop-in centre for a bunch of old mates only really interested in chatting, hanging out and looking cool. There's work to be done, after all; so the site needs to be a productive environment primarily, whilst still being stylish and contemporary, with a positive and fresh feel.

Also, however much young creatives always claim not to care about money and materialism, the truth is that EVERYONE cares about money. That means you need to get your pricing right. Look to strike a balance between setting membership fees/desk sharing rates at a profit-making (or, at least, breaking even) level, whilst still making them affordable to your average start-up business person, who'll be keen to keep a tight control on costs.

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