What if I told you where we work directly affects how well we work? Studies show that people are 16% more productive and 24% more satisfied with their jobs while working in a suitable environment. And, for startups and small businesses, even the slightest increase in productivity is paramount.
Historically, entrepreneurs begin the uphill climb to a well-established business in coffee shops, basements, and living rooms. Both Google and Amazon were born out of garages, Bluebridge, my dorm room. However, spaces unconducive to “the grind” of modern entrepreneurs and free-lancers quickly begin to hinder productivity. But where does the startup that has outgrown a table at Starbucks or a cramped home office go?
In 2005, San Francisco entrepreneur Brad Neuberg opened a space he called the “Hat Factory” to provide a community workspace for independent and mobile workers. “Coworking” was the term he used to describe independent professionals working side-by-side in a common area. From there, different types of coworking spaces sprang up all over the country to provide a middle-ground for those with a lot to do and nowhere to go.
When it comes to shared office space, there are generally three options available. Based on your needs, you can determine whether an incubator, accelerator or traditional coworking space will provide the best possible experience and set you up for future success.
According to Amplify founder Paul Bricault, “An accelerator takes single-digit chunks of equity in externally developed ideas in return for small amounts of capital and mentorship. They’re generally truncated into a three to four month program at the end of which the start-ups ‘graduate.’”
CEO of AdVentures Brent Beshore says, “Incubators are rent-based and, oftentimes, offer complimentary or discounted services. You’ll work around other entrepreneurs, but not necessarily co-work with them. Incubators usually have a focus (biotech, for instance), which allows them to add more value in that particular niche. Capital, mentorship and influence will vary greatly, depending on the people associated.”
Traditional coworking spaces
Coworking spaces, like our initial space at Launch Fishers, charge a one up-front fee rent for the shared office space. In a coworking space, people and businesses work side-by-side, allowing for a community of peer mentorship. Coworking spaces are independent of outside investors and venture capitalists, but offer the freedom to network with others using the space.
3 ways coworking spaces help start-ups
Save money. Coworking spaces are an attractive option for those in the transition between working from home and renting commercial office space. Monthly rent for desk space is, on average, $195 per month per person. The average person needs 150 square feet of space within an office. A 200 square foot office, depending on location can be around $500 per month.
Improve productivity. In a Deskmag survey, 62% of interviewees stated that their standard of work had improved and 64% said they were were better able to get tasks completed on time since joining a coworking space.
- Expand your network. Coworking spaces provide an ecosystem for startups and entrepreneurs to live, grow and learn together. At Launch Fishers, other tech companies like AdProval, Foxio, Sticks n Leaves, Iconic Partners and Trabian offered their full support, and we were able to reciprocate.
3 tips on how to make the best use of a coworking space
Leverage other members. Coworking spaces offer a unique opportunity to share passions and be energized among those in the space. Deskmag found that 90% of people in the coworking environment felt more confident because of the shared community. Organize a weekly lunch to share updates, find partnerships and enjoy working alongside others.
Emphasize culture in your shared space. It can be easy to lose your identity as a company in a coworking space, so be intentional about creating culture, both within the space and your own company.
- Use the time to figure out what kind of workplace is best for you. Does your team prefer cubicles? Offices? Open spaces for collaboration? Coworking gives you the flexibility experiment to figure out what best suits you and your team.
Coworking spaces provide startups with many long-term benefits and are an attractive option for business owners looking for a “middle ground.” The Indianapolis area has several, including The Speak Easy, Indianapolis CoZ, Hinge Bureau and, of course, Launch Fishers.
What is one thing you would want out of a coworking space?