In a recent blog post from the New York Times’ You’re the Boss section, Rebekah Campbell explains her daunting experience of finding a co-working space only to be let down a week after signing up with one of the spaces. “Why I Ditched My Co-Working Space” is a perfect example of what can go wrong when a young start-up chooses a space that is not right for them.
Campbell had recently founded Posse, a location-based shopping recommendation engine, and had moved to the city with a few members of her team. As they worked day after day in coffee shops and the lounge in their apartment building, the team realized they needed a place to really grow and solidify their start-up.
Co-Working spaces aim to provide a conducive work atmosphere for all sorts of business types, ranging from young start-ups to established businesses. It is an alternative to the standard office scene but Rebekah Campbell’s startup did not fall into this particular category, though, as not everyone is attracted to the new idea of co-working among other young companies. The negative points (which may not seem negative to all) brought up in her article do a good job of helping other startups decide if the co-working scene is right for them or not.
1. “People were there for the wrong reasons.”
Campbell had hopes to meet other entrepreneurial teams which her team could learn from, but instead felt as though her co-workers, “wanted the vibe of the scene more than its work.”
2. “Noise was a major problem.”
Campbell found that few people in the office respected the designated quiet areas. As a company in its early stages of life, Posse was looking for a quiet area to focus. This is not always the case in a co-working space, where a large variety of companies are thriving and excited to make connections.
3. “There were other distractions.”
Campbell did not find the “free coffee, pizza, shots of alcohol on Fridays, massages and so on,” to be a necessity while at work. Some companies are simply there to work, while others enjoy a little mental break here and there. It really depends on your style.
4. “It was impossible to build a culture.”
One of the main reasons people invest in co-working spaces is because they are looking for something more temporary and less of a commitment, it can be hard to establish familiarity if you are not guaranteed the same desk every day. Campbell’s company were having trouble finding a comfort zone in such an open area.
5. “We experienced unhealthy competition.”
Campbell explained, “My breaking point came when a competitor tried to entice one of our engineers with a more lucrative job offer.” Obviously this would be upsetting to a company just starting out, still building their team. On the other side, many tenants of co-working spaces are solo artists, open to new ideas and offers from other companies.
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,right? Co-working spaces are not necessarily meant for all types of businesses and people. It is simply one option for the rapidly growing community of young startups and entrepreneurs. The upside of this is that not all co-working spaces are the same. They can range from fast-paced and busy like the one Campbell talks about in her article or they can be more low-key, targeting a more quiet and conservative company trying to build their ideas in the comfort of a quiet office space.