Alternative Working Spaces: What’s the Difference and Which is Right for You
Our series of Work IQ surveys have shown that modern workers not only want to work with more flexibility, but that they increasingly want the freedom to take their work to alternative locations. As a result, the workplace has been and is undergoing an important shift, one that is fueled by individual workers’ reliance on technology and their desire for greater control over their time, as well as employers’ need to reduce overhead costs.
More and more companies today are embracing this new modern worker by supporting work-from-home or non-traditional options that increase employees’ flexibility as well as their productivity. When the employee is in the office, he or she is there for relationship and team building, working in groups, collaboration, and face-to-face communication with others, not independent work that can otherwise be done at alternative locations.
The demands of the modern worker are changing – and that’s changing traditional office space. This growing desire to break with convention is leading to a rapidly growing number of virtual offices, co-working spaces, and other alternative office spaces. So what do all of these options mean, what do they provide, and most importantly, which of them is right for you?
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular options for alternative spaces and what each has to offer:
Virtual Offices: Virtual Offices, arguably the most comprehensive of the options out there today, are not really virtual at all. Businesses and individuals who need to not only maintain a professional office space, but need amenities like meeting spaces, live receptionists and mail services, are increasingly turning to virtual offices to meet their business needs. By utilizing the services of a virtual office, both established and growing businesses are able to maintain a professional presence at a fraction of the cost of rent and additional employee expenses. Although called “virtual offices”, this type of business often includes full-time dedicated executive office space, as well as fully-furnished office space available by the hour, day, or week
Co-working Spaces: Co-working spaces have become something of a buzzword word in recent months. While they lack the additional services of a virtual office, they are affordable, they’re often used by creative professionals and entrepreneurs, and they often give you a chance to work in a space much nicer than anything you could afford on your own. Those only needing space for a month, week, or even just a day, and those wanting to work in a more communal environment may use co-working spaces.
Shared Workspaces: Shared Workspaces are just that – companies that share their workspaces with outside employees. These businesses offer private office space, workstations, or desk rentals, all within their already established office space. In addition to the reasonable rent rates, shared workspaces usually come with additional bonuses that co-working spaces don’t offer, like conference rooms, a shared kitchen or break room, and a shared reception area. Copy and mail services as well as a shared receptionist are often available for an additional cost.
Business Incubators: One of the more unique options available, business incubators were created to help start-ups specializing in technology, service, and light manufacturing. The spaces are often shared with as many as 20 other start-ups, and companies typically join for an incubation period that lasts several years. Because of the unique and creative environment, the competition is stiff and you must apply for admission. Start-ups who are accepted are offered a very affordable rent and the opportunity to be given hands-on management assistance, financing assistance, networking opportunities, and access to business services, all designed to give companies in their infancy a chance for lasting success.
So whether you’re an entrepreneur looking to carry minimal costs, a company in need of professional services with a limited budget, or a start-up looking to create long-term success, thinking outside the box with your office space not only offers you a variety of alternatives, it gives you efficiency and value.
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