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Office Space and The Sharing Economy

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The sharing economy is alive and well entering 2016. Mainstays like Uber and Airbnb are still thriving and continue to refresh their offerings to remain relevant. A recent PWC survey titled, “The Sharing Economy” uncovered that of consumers familiar with the sharing economy, over 80% say it makes life more convenient, efficient, and affordable. 43% say that owning feels like a burden and that sharing is less expensive. Consumers do have some valid concerns over the sharing economy however. Many times they perceive the sharing economy to be inconsistent and are much more likely to utilize companies when someone they trust recommends them.

From vehicles and homes to dresses and sports equipment, if there is a market, companies are creating platforms to share them. The sharing economy has emerged strongly in the office space market with concepts like coworking, desk and meeting space rental, and shared office space. How can you and your business take advantage of these shared spaces? What are the advantages and disadvantages?

Coworking – The concept of coworking isn’t necessarily new, but there has been a surge of new coworking spaces in recent years.  These spaces create an environment for professionals to come together and work in a shared space. Typically, a coworking space is similar to a common area with varying degrees of privacy. Users are able to plug in their laptops, access Wi-Fi, collaborate with other professionals, and create a sense of community, especially if they work from home the majority of the time. A coworking space can be an upgrade to a typical coffee shop where a noisy atmosphere and limited space for professionals is available. Coworking can be accessed on an as-needed basis, and for frequent users, memberships are available. While advantageous for the remote employee or frequent traveler, coworking space may not provide the ideal setting for employees who need privacy or a professional place to meet clients.

Desk and Meeting Space Rental –  Underutilized office and meeting space is available and begging to be used, often at a discounted rate. Companies like DaVinci and Liquidspace have created a sharing platform with an inventory of available meeting space, including daily desk rentals. Platform users input the dates and location where meeting space or office space is needed, and all locations with availability will populate. Users can book directly online with meeting space rates typically 50% less than hotel meeting space. The platforms make it easy to compare pricing and view photos of the space so users get exactly what they need. Any special technology or catering requests can be added to maximize the user’s experience. As previously discussed, platforms like these will likely require the recommendation of someone trustworthy before a user may feel comfortable trying them.

Shared Office Space/Executive Suites – The shared office space model typically functions as follows: An office business center operator subleases a floor or floors of a larger office building and rents out furnished offices to businesses seeking quick entry into office space. The business center offers a receptionist, IT services, phone and internet, furnished space, and a shared meeting room and break area. For businesses, this is an attractive option because all of the typical day to day functions of running an office are handled. From phone answering, to mail service, to cleaning and maintenance, the business center manages these aspects allowing the company renting to focus solely on what they do best. Users of executive suites can expect a consistent, professional environment. Executive suites and shared office space are advantageous to businesses because they share the cost of the overall space with the other tenants. This equates to lower overhead costs and other expenses associated with owning space. Executive suite lease terms can be short or long depending on the user’s needs.

The ideal candidate for each type of shared space is outlined below:

Coworking space: Ideal for the freelancer comfortable working in an open environment or for the remote employee who needs to get out of the house to think outside of the box.

Meeting/Office Space Rental: Ideal for the business that plans frequent meetings in a variety of cities where meeting space options may not be familiar.

Shared Office Space/Executive Suites: Ideal for a small to medium business that may not want to front the capital needed to own their own space. Also ideal for businesses that may want to test a new business market before committing fully to conventional space.

Preferred Office Network is the largest network in North America comprised of independent business center operators that offer coworking space, meeting space, and fully furnished offices. Preferred clients have access to this entire network of over 350 business center locations. Clients also have the exclusive benefit of a No-Term lease agreement, eliminating the need to sign a 3, 6, or 12 month contract. As business plans change, clients are free to add or remove offices as needed or vacate space without any questions. To learn more about becoming a Preferred Office Network client, contact us today for a free workplace strategy session with one of our knowledgeable Corporate Account Managers. 855-4-NOTERM or info@preferredofficenetwork.com.

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