A Coworking Space Vs. A Traditional Office

A Coworking Space Vs. A Traditional Office

As the way we work evolves, many businesses, officials, and thought leaders are reconsidering whether we’re actually doing things the right way. The conclusion seems to be that we aren’t. 

Conversations about the collapse of traditional workplaces during Covid, ‘quiet quitting’, the ‘great resignation’, mental health, and work-life balance are rife right now. 

Luckily there’s an option that seems to have a lot of answers to the big questions being asked.

We’re talking about coworking, of course. 

We are all different, and we work more efficiently in different spaces and places. However, one thing applies to everyone: the workplace should enhance productivity and workflow. Maybe that’s why coworking offices are experiencing unprecedented popularity.

If you are trying to make the decision between using a coworking space or a traditional office, here is what you need to know: 

Traditional Office

The most conventional idea of a work environment is a traditional office. These spaces are built on the foundation of privacy, meaning that if you own or lease an office, it is for your use only. You are in charge of its set-up and a bonus is that you can choose the wallpaper!

Traditional offices usually have a number of employees using the space. The structure allows for a smooth workflow and integrated operations. In many cases, a business will occupy space and the terms for the rent and various expenses are agreed with the landlord. These offices are usually equipped with the necessary tech, facilities such as a kitchen, and features a small company may need. 

While traditional offices look great on paper, the classic brick and mortar space poses many challenges. These environments tend to be very corporate, often isolating and can involve long commutes for employees

Fortunately, there is an alternative:

Coworking Spaces

These offices are a fairly recent concept but they are becoming increasingly popular worldwide. They have an open-concept layout, meaning the coworking space is shared with anyone who is a member. These offices are great for freelancers, small companies, and entrepreneurs who want a more flexible work environment. They are ideal if you have nomadic tendencies and want to come and go as you please. 

Coworking spaces, such as Roamwork, have dedicated desks in communal areas as well as small rooms available to companies that want more of a community atmosphere. Ultimately you get the best of both worlds! 

One of the main differences with traditional offices is that individuals in coworking spaces do not all work for one company. Multiple businesses and individuals operate under one roof, so there is a wonderfully eclectic mix of people to work and socialise with.

Pro’s and Con’s

There are upsides and downsides to every decision you make. Ultimately there is no perfect choice … just the choice that will be perfect for you. If your business is large and has many employees, a traditional office space may be more suitable. BUT, if it is small, or if you are a freelancer, you may benefit from a coworking space like Roamwork. 

If you are sceptical, take a look at the pros and cons below: 

Cons of a traditional office

Pros of a coworking space

Fewer networking opportunities: It’s harder to meet individuals outside your industry, which can leave workers feeling stuck and anti-social if they do not get on with their immediate colleagues. 

Collaboration and networking: There are many opportunities to meet individuals you may not have encountered otherwise. This can lead to amazing collaborations between businesses and brands.

Commitment: When you lease a traditional office space, there is usually a long-term agreement which can be hard to terminate if things go wrong. Therefore, workers have less flexibility and more restrictions.

Varied workspace: Coworking spaces allow individuals to move around freely. 

Office management tasks: Running and managing an office may take focus away from projects. It can be hard work, and requires dedication and time. 

Amenities: Many coworking office spaces have new and improved amenities for their members. For instance, Roamwork has a bike lockup, a production studio, a lovely kitchen and a cafe. If you are a member of a coworking space then you do not need to worry about office management tasks as they are usually included in your fee. 

Upfront costs: When you lease a traditional office space, you will have to furnish and equip it. This may also include expensive investments such as building out amenities and meeting rooms.

Fewer personal expenses: Costs such as utilities, renovations and furniture are included in your membership fee. There are no high up-front costs or long-term commitments. You can pay month-to-month or choose a different plan, depending on the space and plan you choose.

Corporate atmosphere: Many traditional offices tend to lean towards a more corporate environment, which can be strict and even tense at times. There is less chance of connecting with people from other companies or industries and therefore fewer collaborations between companies and/or staff. 

Atmosphere: Many coworking spaces have a wonderful relaxed atmosphere that is less corporate and rigid. This is perfect if you have a personality that doesn’t mind some noise or that enjoys meeting new people. There are also great opportunities to collaborate with other members. 

Which is best for you?

After taking some time to consider the pros and cons, it may be beneficial to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Get educated on the topic and ask yourself important questions such as:

  • ‘Is this office space just for me?’
  • ‘Do I need a space that offers flexibility and ease?’
  • ‘Do I prioritise greater productivity and workflow?’
  • ‘Is socialising important for me?’
  • ‘Can I complete most of my work online, and can I have my meetings online?’

If you answered yes to these questions then coworking is definitely the solution for you. 

All that remains is to try it. Many coworking office spaces offer a trial, and at Roamwork we offer two free days to see if you like it. Why not give it a go?

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain!

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Roamwork is a serviced coworking space located in the heart of the trendy East City district in Cape Town.

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