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Shared Work SpaceEntrepreneurs, especially those bootstrapping their own business and trying to squeeze 11 cents out of every dime, know the struggle of choosing how to best spend their company money. Sometimes, when every penny counts, some entrepreneurs choose to work from home; others with busy families, messy houses, or other inhospitable work environments might contemplate whether or not the additional monthly office payment will be a worthwhile investment.

One solution that is becoming more popular for startups is a Shared Office Space, which offer a lot of flexibility and can be rented out on a daily, weekly, or monthly plan, and can allow you to maximize your productivity.

Point and Counterpoint: The Shared Working Space

Human Interaction

For some, creativity is a communal affair, and with all of the analytical heavy lifting that a startup requires, often the solo entrepreneur desperately needs someone to help creatively tackle the company’s obstacles. Having dedicated, like-minded individuals to consult can often be the difference between a good idea and a great one. If nothing else, entrepreneurship can often be an extrovert’s game. For some, it helps just to feed off the energy in the room, even when on a coding binge or a strategy session.

Counterpoint: Nothing’s worse than someone tapping on your shoulder to “brainstorm” while you’re “wired in” or embroiled in number crunching. Let’s face it, you get a rowdy team in the table next door, and you’re going to need noise-cancelling headphones. Sometimes, entrepreneurship is a game of focus–it’s important to minimize distractions.

White Boards Galore

Shared workspaces are usually designed with businesses in mind. As such, you may have access to certain amenities that you don’t have in your living room office. Most shared workspaces come equipped with whiteboards, printers and scanners, conference rooms and swivel chairs! This can be a more impressive place to bring prospective clients than the loveseat of your living room.

Counterpoint: Despite the amenities, you don’t always have control over your environment. One Utah entrepreneur lamented that the previous day’s whiteboard was always erased the next morning. Others have remarked that working in a room that is either too hot or too cold can really downgrade productivity. Having amenities is only useful when the environment is conducive to your work necessities and habits.

Cost: Not Much But Still A Lot

Depending on your location and the swankiness of the shared workspace, costs can be relatively reasonable and offer a lot of flexibility (Somewhere in the ballpark of $250-$500 per month). Most workspaces won’t lock you into a contract so you can test drive the atmosphere for a month or so before committing to being there full time. Many workspaces will offer different plans to best accommodate your startup.

Counterpoint: There’s enough overhead in each company to justify saving every penny. Many motivated boot-strappers are able to stay focused at home, at Starbucks, or on campus and allow themselves to allocate valuable funds elsewhere.

Interested in getting a shared workspace, but not yet committed to taking the plunge? Talk it over with your part-time CFO and do a little math: Does $350 + Collaborative Community = Maximized Productivity? Few things are as valuable as increased productivity in the early stages of your business. Find what works for you.

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