Find the right shared office space for you or your business.
The concept of shared office space, more commonly known as coworking space, allow owners of businesses of all sizes to access a number of businesses including accessing premium spaces for lower costs, operate a mobile business and engage with other business owners. The concept has been finding favour with business owners, remote workers, freelancers, entrepreneurs and even large companies.
This guide will take you through how to find the right coworking space for you as well as help you compare options that are available.
What type of coworking spaces are available?
There is a huge variety of coworking spaces in Australia. Some shared office spaces are designed to allow for collaboration between the different businesses coworking, while others maintain each business' privacy and individual space. Some coworking spaces are also limited to certain types of business. Here are some of the types of spaces you will find:
- Coworking space catering to freelancers, startups and growing companies. These coworking spaces cater to a broad range of individuals and businesses. Here you will find a mixture of hot desks and dedicated desks, private offices, large spaces for startups and companies and common breakout areas to encourage networking between everyone.
- Coworking space for one business type. This is becoming more common and involves the coworking space only catering to one type of business. These businesses are still usually startups. The idea is that members will collaborate or assist each other in the coworking community as they develop their own businesses. Typical examples of this are tech startup or fintech startup coworking hubs.
- Shared office spaces catering to professionals. These coworking spaces market themselves to those in professional industries such as lawyers, accountants or other financial roles. The office spaces have fewer breakout areas and offer services needed by people in those industries, such as reception services.
- Single-gender coworking spaces. Female-only coworking spaces have cropped up in various cities in Australia and usually cater to startups. These coworking spaces usually have a focus on communities and offer amenities and services tailored to women such as on-site daycare options.
How do memberships for shared office spaces work?
Memberships differ depending on the coworking space, but generally the following types will be available:
- Hot desks. This membership option will give you access to a desk in the coworking space as well as to certain amenities, such as Internet and food or tea and coffee. Coworking spaces usually offer other inclusions in this membership such as access to community events, ability to book meeting rooms and more. Keep in mind you won't have the same desk each day so you'll need to pack up all your belongings when you leave. Lockers are usually available.
- Dedicated desks. If you like to work with multiple screens or are working remotely, you might prefer a dedicated desk membership. This will guarantee you desk space where you can leave belongings on your desk, such as a monitor setup or keyboard and mouse. You will usually also get under-desk storage to keep your belongings secure.
- Private spaces or offices. Teams have the option of hiring private spaces or offices in coworking spaces. This is also an option for small- to medium-sized businesses, satellite teams or branch teams. These private setups can usually accommodate teams of four up to 100, depending on availability. You may get additional services with this membership option such as priority access to meeting rooms or discounted event room hire.
- Virtual memberships. Virtual memberships are becoming a more common feature of coworking hubs. These memberships give you access to the online community through platforms such as Slack, access to events, discounts to various software and services and some coworking spaces offer limited day passes as part of the membership.
- Weekender/after hours membership. This membership option is ideal for any freelancer or entrepreneur that is working on their project or startup outside of normal working hours. The membership package is usually discounted and will only give you access to a desk and the facilities before or after working hours or on the weekend. You'll usually get access to events the coworking space is hosting plus other perks, such as any discounts the members get access to.
- Community access. If you live too far from the coworking space or are happy working on your startup from home, you can still benefit from a coworking membership. Community access memberships give you access to events, networking with investors, pitches, discounts on software, day passes for support from other businesses and more.
- Global memberships. There are also coworking memberships tailored to regular travellers. These memberships are offered by either third-party companies or coworking spaces with a global network and give you access to various coworking hubs worldwide.
What amenities are available in coworking spaces?
Any of the following amenities can be available at the coworking space you choose. But before you book a desk or office, check what you need is offered:
- IT support
- Access to a community online and in-person
- Reception such as a business address and mail forwarding. This may include virtual office services, such as answering the phone for your business.
- Tea, coffee, beer, wine and food
- Bike storage
- Desk storage
How much do coworking spaces cost?
Generally, prices for coworking spaces range from $500 a month for a hot desk up to $2,000 a month for a private office. You can get a virtual membership or community access for around $50 a month.
Questions you might still have about coworking spaces
Do you have to be a tech business to be in a coworking space?
No, coworking spaces cater to a range of different business types. However, some coworking spaces are tailored to certain types of businesses or startups which can include tech companies.
Do coworking spaces only work for small businesses?
Large businesses or teams that are part of large businesses can also benefit from using a coworking space. Private spaces can cater up to 100 people or sometimes more and bespoke solutions are something available for companies.
What's the difference between a coworking space and an incubator?
A coworking space is a place for different businesses to come and work together in a shared space in exchange for a fee. An incubator is a program designed to help startups build out their business. It is usually designed by a company for startups within a specific vertical, such as healthtech or fintech, with the startups working alongside each other in a coworking setup.