You have probably heard the term ‘co-working’ more than a few times by now. Over the last decade, it has become a major corporate industry. Everybody from lone entrepreneurs to the biggest companies in the world are enjoying the benefits of flexible, no strings workspaces.
In Australia, smaller businesses are turning to shared offices, because they offer freedom. Freedom from the bonds of a long term lock in lease. Freedom from the need to sink money into setup and maintenance costs. Freedom to make a change when the time is right.
These are all tremendous assets for a modern company, so let’s take a closer look at the phenomenon of virtual offices and why they are so beneficial.
What Is Co-Working?
The concept of coworking is a simple one. Rather than isolating themselves in private offices, entrepreneurs and creative types are choosing to share work environments. While it might sound unconventional, there are many benefits. For one thing, the rates are low. In fact, facilities like the Servcorp offices in Adelaide offer some of the lowest prices around.
The corporate resources and all utility and maintenance costs are distributed across a large number of tenants, so the financial burden is shared too. Virtual offices also provide a lot more support than traditional ones, particularly for small teams. Imagine how much money you could save if problem-solving meant walking across a room and asking for advice.
Unlike incubators and accelerators, the terms are as you see them. Virtual providers do not take a stake in equity from high growth companies. They offer use of fully equipped suites on a ‘pay as you go’ basis. There are no contracts and no hidden fees. Some of the services require an additional hire fee, but there is no pressure for you to use them.
Is a Virtual Office Suitable for Your Business?
The Westpac House, in central Adelaide, is one of the finest virtual office facilities in the country. If you are looking to try co-working, it is a great place to start. The region has become a hotbed for small business ideas over the last decade, so there are plenty of opportunities for ambitious entrepreneurs.
There are no rules about who can use co-working spaces. They are open to businesses of all shapes and sizes. However, they do tend to fit smaller operations better, because it is easier for them to adapt to flexible working models. Larger enterprises, if they do go virtual, are usually expanding into new towns or investing in innovative ways to handle staff overflows.
For entrepreneurs who have yet to launch, virtual offices are a good choice, because they minimise overheads. It is more than possible to start and sustain a new company without a private workspace, as long as you have access to critical resources. Virtual facilities provide high-speed broadband, telephone lines, mailboxes, printing equipment, meeting rooms, and more.
Are There Any Downsides to Going Virtual?
If you have never used coworking spaces before, it is natural to have reservations. It is still a relatively new way to operate, and it is hard to break out of old notions of traditional offices and isolated workstations. The truth is that shared suites are not going to suit everybody. If you find it tough to stay productive around other people, they are not the best choice.
For creative types and those who love to network, however, there is no better environment. The important thing is that you do not have to work in the same way every day. Most providers offer a combination of collaborative and more private areas. You can have the best of both worlds; the chance to create and cooperate whenever you like, but also enjoy your own space.