Debate: Do co-working spaces help or hinder digital companies?
Co-working spaces have become extremely popular over the last few years with a number of companies such as We Work, Interchange & At Work Hubs offering space around the country. The biggest uptake in the co-working spaces seem to be within the tech field with start-ups, freelance operations and small agencies all taking advantage of this opportunity.
But does it have its limitations? Will businesses looking to buy your services look at you in a different light to those who have their own offices, regardless of whether they are rented or owned?
As a curious outsider, who does not work in a co-working space, but within a business that does use the offering, I was intrigued and asked the following question:
Would you still work w/ a digital marketing professional/agency if they worked in a co-working space? #seo
— Daniel Bianchini (@danielbianchini) December 31, 2015
Firstly, I want to stress this is not me saying co-working spaces are bad. I actually prefer working in them! I am purely wondering if it has a negative impact on yours or your companies business.
So what was the response like on twitter?
Well, it started some very interesting conversation with those working agency or consultant side.
@danielbianchini got to start somewhere. It’s the output that matters
— Danny Denhard (@dannydenhard) December 31, 2015
Danny Denhard started the conversation by stating that you have “to start somewhere, it’s the output that matters”, which is exactly right. It should not matter where you are working as long as you are providing the very best work.
However, Stephen Kenwright made a very good point about procurement being the potential stumbling block, and not necessarily the digital marketing team. Being in an open office with other companies, you would need to ensure that sensitive data is very secure, especially when you are away from your desk and conversations about clients who are under NDAs should be held in closed meeting rooms.
— Stephen Kenwright (@stekenwright) December 31, 2015
Part of the answer to the vague question that I asked will be down to the potential client and the industry that they operate in. If you are working with clients within the financial services, they may find it difficult to work with a company that operates from a co-working space, due to nature of the data being shared and the need for security. However, there will be companies, and I mean a lot of companies, that do not really care where you are based, as long as you are providing the very best for them and producing results.
Danny continues by making another good point, that even if you are in shared offices such as Regus, We Work, Soho House or even Google Campus, you are all technically sharing internet regardless of your connection method.
So, does it affect the potential growth of a digital agency?
Not according to Pete Campbell, who has built his agency Kaizen Search from 1 – 6 people whilst operating within a co-working space.
— Pete Campbell (@petecampbell) December 31, 2015
Pete goes on to say that all you need is a “meeting room, secure/separate WiFi and codenames for NDA clients”. Although the codenames for clients under NDA could become quite tiresome it does seem to get around some of the issues with client confidentiality whilst working in a co-working space.
Alec Bertram also contributed to the conversation, stating that he also runs his business from a co-working space and that his clients love it. He goes on to say that he tells his clients stories about those brands that he works alongside within the co-working space.
— Alec Bertram (@KiwiAlec) December 31, 2015
In summary, the general consensus from those who were involved in the discussion is that it should not matter where you work from, as long as you produce results. There is an obvious need to ensure that all your data is secure and any confidential conversations are held in private, but this would be the case if you had your own office.
For me, there are still a few questions that would need answering before I decided on making the move, and these are just a couple:
- What impact on cost will it have?
- How flexible, is flexible?
- Will it affect team morale in a negative/positive way?
- What impact if any will it have on potential new work?
With that said, I would love to hear your thoughts on the use of co-working spaces for companies and what effect it is having for you. I would also love to hear from those working in-house, and whether the place of work has any bearing on your choice for a digital partner?
As always, leave a comment below or tweet me @danielbianchini to keep the debate going!
Image credit: WeWork Labs NYC
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