(BPT) – Working from home seems like a professional dream for many, but sometimes your home isn’t the optimum place to do business. Perhaps you’ve outgrown your home office or your startup requires a more professional atmosphere for client meetings. Maybe you crave the kind of personal interaction that’s hard to achieve when you work alone, or you just want a change of scenery during the day.
When working from home isn’t right for you, there’s now an alternative to renting an office of your own – and taking on all the overhead that comes with it. Office sharing (also known as “co-working”) gives small businesses and entrepreneurs a cost-effective way to have all the amenities of their own office space, including, conference rooms, workspace and access to printing and copying, without incurring the costs of having their own office.
The concept that started in the tech industry has expanded well beyond it, with professionals of diverse disciplines now sharing workspaces.
“There are people who want more stimulation than sitting at home and being very productive working in your pajamas all day,” University of Michigan business professor Gretchen Spreitzer told Realty Today.
Typically, shared workspaces provide professionals with their desks – where they can set up their own laptops – access to secure WiFi networks, printing and copying services, private meeting rooms, and support staff such as a receptionist or office assistant. Some workspaces also offer lunch or break room facilities and other amenities.
Staples and Workbar are the newest entrants into the growing shared workspace industry. Workbar at Staples is currently in three Staples locations in the Boston suburbs of Danvers, Norwood and Brighton. Workbar at Staples focuses on serving small businesses with 2,500-3,500 square feet of custom-designed facilities that feature a mix of high-end workspaces, conference rooms, private rooms, printers, natural light, WiFi that is fast and secure, and complimentary coffee and tea.
“Small business owners are discovering that collaborative, convenient environments can make their workdays more productive and enjoyable,” says Peter Scala, executive vice president of merchandising at Staples. “The new Workbar at Staples locations, within our stores, provide professionals with the creative space, office essentials and support they need to run their business or launch a new idea.”
In addition to cost advantages, shared workspaces can also foster creativity, enhance work satisfaction, and generate networking opportunities, especially for small businesses and startups. A survey by Deskmag.com found most people sharing workspaces (70 percent) are very happy with the setup. Survey respondents said they were more motivated (85 percent), had better interaction with others (88 percent), and worked in teams more often (57 percent). Joining a shared workspace also resulted in feeling more organized at work and more relaxed at home (60 percent), and higher earnings (42 percent).