Nowadays, thanks to the availability of modern technologies, a growing number of individuals decides to start their own economic activities. According to the information of the Central Statistical Office, around 300 thousand new companies are created every year; however, a significant part of them, as a result of high operating costs is discontinued. In such case, co-working may be a perfect solution.
For such new entrepreneurs, the lease of a typical office space may be non-cost effective. Several of them decides to work at home. While at the beginning it seems to be an advantageous solution, in the long run it triggers a lot of complications. Not everyone has got enough space at home to create an office, where it is easy to concentrate only on working. It is also difficult to provide an appropriate environment to meet the customers. Home-based work can also disturb the work-life balance and therefore the lease of office space by days or hours becomes more and more popular.
In Poland co-working started in 2013 and the first offices of that kind were located in Warsaw. A dynamic development of this sector made other regional towns offer office space in this form, which is also a reflection of a global co-working trend. We can observe a direct relation between the increase of entrepreneurship and the development of co-working, accompanied by an evolution in preferences and the needs of customers using this form of lease.
Co-working is a manner of office space lease addressed both to small companies that wish to reduce operating expenses, as well as those, whose nature of conducted business does not require a permanent office. Co-working offices are spaces, which host a few or more than ten individuals working at the same time. The entrepreneur decides on his own, whether he wants to lease a single work post or the entire office. The offices are provided with rest and refreshment facilities and they have got all necessary equipment needed at work.
The customers who decide to lease office space in the co-working formula appreciate the advantages of this solution, as sharing the office space is much more cost-effective than leasing an office on one’s own. Another advantage is that the users do not have to remember about several bills to be paid and their payment deadlines. The entrepreneurs are charged based on the actual working time or under a specific subscription and they deal with only one entity, which certainly is a very convenient solution.
Apart from the financial aspect, there are also other non-pecuniary benefits, like for instance networking. Co-working office is an incredibly varied environment, because it brings together people working in a great variety of sectors. It helps establish new contacts that allow generating measurable profits – in the same office one can meet both a talented graphic designer, as well as a software developer. Sharing an office with other business people gives the opportunity to start an interesting co-operation; it increases motivation and allows maintaining a non-routine approach to business. It should be emphasised that for individuals who prefer working on their own, to be able to focus entirely on their task, co-working ensures such possibility offering separate office modules. Adjustable office space provides the option for such kind of work. Co-working has become very popular and a constantly growing competition made companies offering co-working offices come up with increasingly flexible solutions and meet the requirements of customers providing a more extensive array of facilities. In several cases, it is not even necessary to sign a contract – the space and time are determined on an individual basis and the decision on the suspension of lease can be made a month in advance. If a customer decides to pay up-front for an extended period, he may count on additional bonuses, such as the possibility to use a conference room or a meeting room.
The majority of co-working offices provides also the service of a virtual office, which consists in rendering available the co-working office address to register one’s economic entity. The entrepreneur who starts his business may sign the contract with the co-working office and then use its address to register his company. The correspondence related to the company’s activities is directed to the co-working office, which is very convenient for those who stay outside their place of domicile or travel a lot.
But co-working is not only an excellent solution for business people – it is also a series of new possibilities for the owners of office buildings or post-industrial objects. The space of slightly older office buildings or tenement houses can embark on a completely new journey and the customers obtain the possibility to work in very convenient locations, on very flexible terms. The co-working lease allows the entrepreneurs to focus entirely on the development of their businesses and at the time the company gains the appropriate momentum, to switch to a serviced office.
Paulina Lis – Co-ordinator of Short-term Lease, NAI Estate Fellows