The coworking space bible: definitions & options
There has been an acceleration in the number of coworking spaces and membership options over the past few years with a growing popularity of providers like WeWork, Knotel, The Hive, The Executive Centers and probably thousands more across the globe.
If you need a bit of clarity about this trending market of the coworking spaces and flexible office spaces, things should get really easier after reading this article. But first, let’s define what a flexible workspace is.
Flexible workspace definition
The concept of a flexible workspace is an office or place to work without commitment in duration or access type. The flexible workspace user shares that space with others, people from your company or other companies. You share space because you don’t need a desk or a meeting room with so many features at all times. Sharing helps you make savings. You can come when you want and access different kinds of space to do your job, from hot desks to meeting rooms or private office space.
A coworking space in one type of flexible workspace but there are many variations that you will discover in the next section. The ‘flexible workspace’ can be easily understood when you oppose it to what we call ‘conventional office’ spaces with long term lease, equipment, furniture and all sorts of hidden fees to manage this kind of office. The sharing economy principles applied to the office space results in what we call the flexible workspace market. Because people don’t need a desk at all times anymore, office space can be shared. Flexible and remote work trends saw a huge acceleration with the 2020 Covid crisis and the flexible workspace is one of the solutions resulting from those trends.
We will now go through the different types of flexible workspaces, offers and styles to help you compare the different coworking space options and facilitate your choice before you make your move into a coworking space or a flexible office space.
Types of flexible office spaces
There could be different ways to categorize flexible office spaces but the experience we acquired by analyzing our workspace partner network at FLYDESK has led us to categorize flexible office spaces in the following way:
The Coworking space is the best representation of a flexible workspace. The Coworking space is managed by an operator, where anyone, from individuals to organizations, can come to work without commitment: a day or longer, sometimes accesses are granted for a few minutes. The Coworking space includes various features, equipment and services that you should expect to find in a conventional office such as fast Internet, printing, coffee machine and a lot more… but the difference is that those benefits are included in a cheap membership. We differentiate the Coworking space category from the following ones described below by the fact it offers the most flexibility with at least a hot desk area, meeting rooms and private offices. The Coworking space is where you will find most startups, entrepreneurs and freelancers but there has been a recent trend with larger organizations also joining those spaces to attract younger talents.
The Serviced office is a flexible office space managed by an operator that provides all the management services and features that are shared between organizations to access a better experience than in a traditional office at much lower cost. At FLYDESK, we differentiate the Serviced office from the Coworking space in the sense that the Serviced office is better suited for teams than individuals because it does not include a hot desk or coworking area where individuals would come for a day or less. The Serviced office often requires a bit more commitment with dedicated office space.
The Shared office is a flexible workspace that you share with one or more organizations to reduce its costs by sharing the common areas like kitchen, pantry or the meeting rooms as well as some management services, equipment and features. It differs from the Serviced office as per our description above in the sense that the Shared office is not managed by an operator and lets the private hosts manage the workspace as they see fit. The shared office will be more suited for organizations that will need more privacy or control over the experience and features they need. This will require a bit more participation and self-discipline to maintain an effective working relationship. On FLYDESK, the Shared offices are proposed by private hosts who will own a space or have the authorization to share the space with sub-tenants. Because of their particularities, the shared offices are represented by a blue pin on the FLYDESK map and listing.
Private shared office
The private shared office is a conventional office space that a company designed to be shared among its team members. It is a new trend for larger organizations above 30 people that prefer to have their own workspace but still share the access between team members who will not always be in the office in order to reduce the office space cost. The private flexible office relies on a conventional office that companies need to design, equip and manage with tech applications for the team in order to maximize the seating occupancy. One of the challenges in choosing that option is the need to ensure that your space is either not too empty nor too crowded. That’s why companies need to anticipate the implementation of workspace and team management applications. FLYDESK has developed an App to enable companies to manage their shared workspace and have more visibility on the people’s working habits. To learn more about our solutions, please follow the link below.
The Member club is an exclusive space managed by an operator who often offers networking opportunities, entertainment or sport facilities but also sometimes flexible workspace. Among the well known member clubs, you will find Soho House, the CORE club or the Wing club exclusive for women. The member clubs are restricted to a community of selected members. The selection process follows specific admission criteria such as the type of activity, skills, role or connections of the member. Many member clubs offer a luxury, premium or exclusive experience in order to stimulate interactions between members sharing the same interest.
If you could not find the right flexible workspace model for you with the options described above, you still have a few alternatives by working from home, public or community spaces like cafe, restaurant or hotel lobbies which are often comfortable for short term work. Let’s now see what are the different types of offers you can get when visiting those flexible workspaces.
Types of offers from coworking or flexible office spaces
Coworking or hot desk
The Coworking or Hot desk corresponds to the entry level offer from most coworking spaces allowing one person to use a temporary desk during business hours as well as common facilities and equipment like Internet, coffee, etc. You can book a hot desk in advance or try to get one on a first-come, first-served basis. Some coworking spaces offer you an access from a few minutes to longer term commitment but the hot desking rule is that you don’t get to keep your spot every day so you need take all of your belongings with you when they are done at the end of the day (as opposed to a dedicated desk). The hot desk or coworking memberships are often the cheapest options.
The Dedicated desk provides most of the benefits of a Hot desk in terms of desk access, facilities and equipment but with the advantage of keeping the same desk area for a longer duration than a day which usually grants you access to the space outside business hours. Some coworking spaces or serviced offices sometimes provide a higher standard of seating and desk space as you are commiting to a dedicated desk with a longer rent period of time and very often at slightly higher rate. Most dedicated desk offers would start from a month of commitment and this would be more convenient for people without a decent place to work from home or anywhere else.
The Private office has the exact same benefits of a Dedicated desk but with the privacy of being in an independent room separate from the rest of the workspace, allowing you to have one to many people in the office. This is the perfect solution for medium size teams from 3 to 30 people sharing a space in a private furnished room. The private offices proposed by Serviced office or Coworking space operators are a cheaper alternative to conventional offices requiring an entirely private and self-managed space. You find here the best of both worlds for small teams and startups, with shared facilities, equipment as well as the privacy of your own space for focused work.
The Meeting room is provided by most Coworking and Serviced office providers, allowing a group of people to meet for a short period of time, usually from 1 hour to longer. The meeting room often comes equipped with equipment like a TV screen or projector, whiteboard or sometimes video conference equipment but the larger and the more equipped the meeting room is, the more expensive it will be. This is the perfect solution for entrepreneurs or independent professionals like coaches, teachers, trainers or sales people who need to meet their client in a professional environment. The Meeting rooms from Coworking spaces are a great solution for companies interested in getting out of their office for a break out session, training or workshop with a team in a dynamic environment.
The Event space has all the benefits of a Meeting room with the difference that it usually fits a large group of people from 10 onwards. An Event space can also be an open area, as opposed to the closed Meeting room, and this allows to arrange a custom experience for large groups. Event spaces are ideal for town halls, product presentations, forums and talks and the price will vary depending on the number of attendees as well as amenities and services you might need such as prompters, lights, video equipment, catering or custom design.
The Virtual office is the cheapest solution proposed by Coworking or Serviced office operators but it does not grant you any access to a desk or a meeting room. The Virtual office only allows you to have a business address for legal and administrative purposes to receive mails or handle calls most notably. You might get extra services with Virtual office packages that can include company secretary or even accounting services. The Virtual office is very convenient for remote workers or people working from home but who need an official local address to conduct business in a country.
Style attributes for flexible office spaces
At FLYDESK, you have a very specific way to define the style of the workspaces offered by our partners in order to facilitate the choice among the thousands of options available on the market. Each style attribute has its own benefits in order to create a work environment as close as possible to your values, habits and preferences. We have created 4 style attributes to categorize and certify coworking spaces and flexible workspaces:
the Inspiring workspace category is very well-suited for startups and small businesses that thrive in a dynamic and inspiring atmosphere in order to boost creativity and productivity. Inspiring coworking spaces are created to stimulate interactions between members to help businesses grow faster. They sometimes come with nice little perks such as free drinks or beers, social events, gym or yoga classes.
The Premium workspace category is more adapted to companies paying particular attention to the quality of the furniture, equipment and service in a sophisticated and comfortable environment giving a feeling of luxury or uniqueness. Those Premium or luxury coworking spaces offer exclusive features, concierge services and unique networking opportunities to conduct business with high standards. Premium workspaces are usually more expensive than Inspiring spaces but they will be the ideal location to host client meetings and experience work with utmost style and comfort.
The Business workspace category is great for small to larger businesses who want to be focused and find the right balance between cost, space and equipment efficiency. Not too fancy nor too artistic, business workspaces are built with the right balance and efficiency to get the job done. You will find the most useful features to do work in a serious environment that will also testify of your professionalism when hosting client meetings. Business workspaces will be cheaper than Premium spaces but more serious than Inspiring spaces with more a neutral atmosphere.
The Theme or Niche style is well suited for workspaces dedicated to a particular topic, industry, role or interest. More coworking spaces are trying to differentiate themselves and picking one Niche allows them to have a more coherent approach to get tenants. Indeed, all the features and services are designed to better serve that specific population. To give you a few examples, you can find coworking spaces specialized on the Fintech or the Blockchain vertical like Bitwork in Hong Kong. Theme workplaces more suited for artistic projects offer equipment and studios specialized on video or photography like the Hive Studio in Singapore or Hong Kong or like D.Work in Hong Kong for fashion and design. More Niche workspaces are appearing like the Wing in the United States created for women but there are many original options created every day to tailor a work environment unique for its members.
Source of flexible office spaces
This will be our last category to help you choose the right coworking space or shared office space and this has to do with the reliability of the operator or source giving you access to their workspace. At FLYDESK, we have created 3 specific sources providing flexible workspace options:
Operator / FLYDESK certified
Many flexible workspaces are managed by operators like WeWork, TheHive, Spaces, Regus, The Executive Centers… At FLYDESK, we have built our certification for the best and most reliable partners globally in order to facilitate your choice. We verify and certify our partner workspaces based on strict criteria to define their style attribute. That allows our members to trust any new place they will book in advance based on our qualification method. FLYDESK certified workspaces are symbolized by a black pin on our workspace map & listing.
With flexible and remote work trends accelerated with the Covid health crisis, some tenants consider to share or sublet their workspace to reduce their rent costs and share equipment or utility bills. Please read this article focused on office sublease to help you get started. FLYDESK has created an option for any Private host to offer their shared office space on our platform to find tenants. FLYDESK certified workspaces are symbolized by a black pin on our workspace map & listing. FLYDESK certified workspaces are symbolized by a blue pin on our workspace map & listing.
This our last option for flexible work arrangements and the cheapest as it includes public spaces, cafes or hotel lobbies to sit temporarily to work. It is a great alternative if you often work from home as it gives you a chance to see other people without ruining yourself. There is a recent trend with hotels converting their facilities into flexible office spaces. It has been a great way for hotels to find new sources of revenue especially with the tourism industry being drastically impacted by the Coronavirus crisis.
We have covered here most of the definition of flexible and shared office space to help you understand the difference between all the options available. But as each category still offers plenty of choice, please review our article giving you advice on the key criteria to choose a coworking space or shared office. FLYDESK’s mission is to help entrepreneurs and businesses find the best flexible workspace option to reduce costs and maximize performance and loyalty from employees, get in touch with us to discuss about your flexible office transformation.