Coworking spaces offer the same amenities as traditional offices, plus many more. The major difference is the flexibility, since there is no need to sign a long-term lease. You can welcome a new customer to a reserved conference room in a different co-working space with modern decor in the lobby and a Keurig coffee maker in the kitchen. The typical co-working operation consists of an open work area with multiple workstations, individual offices and conference rooms with furniture and basic office equipment provided.
Bklyn Commons, LLC filed a class action lawsuit against Bklyn Commons, a co-working space in Brooklyn, New York. Owners and operators of co-working spaces must protect their own employees from unlawful harassment by users of the space. They must also adopt policies and procedures on how complaints or concerns of harassment or discrimination by employees and users will be addressed. In addition to power backup and air conditioning, coworking spaces also offer refreshments, WiFi, lockers, printers, a coffee shop and music.
When considering whether to use a co-working space, it's important to do a cost-benefit analysis that compares the costs of working together with the costs of a 2- to 4-year lease of traditional office space with the costs of furniture and utilities. These class action lawsuits highlight the litigation risk for owners and operators of co-working spaces. For more traditional companies, sharing a co-working space with other companies may require new policies to protect confidential information or additional training for leaders used to managing workers who are seated right outside their office. It's also important to visit the co-working space in person at different times of the day to assess the environment for yourself.
Co-working spaces are becoming increasingly popular among freelancers, entrepreneurs and companies with remote workers or that need temporary workspaces. They offer flexibility, options and instant bookings that are becoming an expectation. Co-working spaces are like Uber's version of renting office space for professionals who work remotely. To limit risk, it's essential for owners or operators of co-working spaces, or companies that use them, to establish basic rules of etiquette in the workspace from the start.
The community aspects of co-working spaces are often similar to those of an office, since people work very close to each other and often share resources. If you're sure of a location and are planning to establish a permanent residence, renting office space isn't a bad decision.