Now that you know the basics of a coworking space, let’s dive into the types of coworking spaces. If you didn’t read the previous article, go ahead and read it now. It is quick and won’t take long.
When deciding what type of coworking space to build or join, there are several factors to consider. First, let’s go over the types of coworking spaces and what they include.
Finding what fits you, your team, your personality, and your budget is a great first step
Note: There are a ton of variations to the list below, however, these are the types I see most often.
The Future of Work in 11 Types of Coworking Spaces
- High End, Fancy, All Inclusive, Full-Service Coworking
Usually located downtown in larger cities, these have beautiful, professionally designed interiors. They have community managers on staff, usually offer snacks, and cater to established businesses or well-funded startups. These are the most expensive of all the types of coworking spaces.
The community in these spaces is sometimes divided by floor or type of membership. The culture depends on people going to the events and interacting with other coworkers in passing as you don’t see everyone everyday.
- Not sure what to call this yet. Balanced Coworking.
The majority of coworking spaces fall into this group. Balanced coworking spaces can be of any type, size, or location. The space is well put together, but might not be professionally designed. It might provide snacks as part of the monthly membership. Sometimes they have a community manager. They attract many different types and sizes of businesses, but most tenant groups are smaller than 10 people because larger groups can quickly outgrow the space.
These communities are not usually divided by more than 2 floors. Often, the entire office is on one floor. These are not going to be the largest spaces, but they can build a great culture because everyone is in the same area together. The events along with the proximity of coworkers drive the community and teams together and directly affect how everyone interacts.
These are some of the smallest spaces. They do the basics well — coffee, tea, WIFI, desks, etc. Often, the founder of the space is also a coworker who decided they wanted to build a community or work with other people while decreasing their office bills. Many coworking spaces start this way and then grow into something larger.
The vibe of these places is highly dependent on the founders, the events at the space, and the core group of coworkers. Most of these spaces have a tight knit group of people if they are done well. Workers can expect a quieter, but open and welcoming, space.
- Bare Bones
In general, this type of space might include coffee but often times it doesn’t. It is really just a place with WIFI, desks, and a space to work. Typically this is a quieter and cheaper option without a lot of frills or extras. Often, events only consist of meetups, community events, or gatherings run by fellow coworkers.
- Hotels (Added in 2018)
Until recently, the hotels I had researched with ‘coworking spaces’ were just using the term coworking as part of their marketing plan while offering only a more updated traditional business center or a better looking lobby workspace. That is the main reason that until now, I kept hotels off my list of coworking spaces. I wanted to wait until I was able to visit and experience a space that I felt lived up to the industry promise of coworking and the collaborative community that comes with it.
The space I visited was Nest, a coworking space located in the hotel Tryp by Wyndham, located in Dubai. I experienced a balanced to full-service coworking space with a consistent group of coworkers. The hotel amenities such as the pool, gym, and restaurants could be used as part of the membership while a friendly and helpful team of people managed the space and it’s operations. It is exactly what I hope for when I think about how hotels and coworking can work together.
There have been a few startups vying to grow coworking during the daytime hours in restaurants that are only open at night. I have not personally visited one, however, it seems like an interesting idea. One question I have is whether I could get into a consistent workflow and whether I would get to know other coworkers and if there would be a sense of community.
- Coffee Shops
If people don’t work at home, often they will end up in a coffee shop so I had to add this option here. One thing to mention is that I was actually able to visit a coworking space in Sacramento, California (The Trade Coffee & Coworking) that was half a coffee shop and half a coworking space. I had a nice day working out of the space. My full review is in the article above.
I have also worked out of Starbucks and other local coffee shops and have had good and bad experiences. I find having calls to be challenging, but meetings and reading are not a problem. The only people I tend to get to know are the baristas and not others who are doing the same thing. We are all just there to be plugged in. I also found myself spending more money at a coffee shops each day than I did in coworking spaces because coffee and pastries can add up during a full day of work.
- Coworking within a Business’s Extra Square Footage
This is not a new model, but I have been seeing more of it recently. Let’s say a business has an entire floor they are not using, they might bring in another one or two companies to fill the desks and pay for the space. I have also seen official coworking offices popping up in these types of spaces.
I have seen that when the space feels temporary, the coworkers don’t care as much or buy into the vision and growth of the community. This type of space can operate the same as many other spaces, or it can run like several completely separate offices.
I actually had an experience in Quebec City, Canada at Abri.co where I was able to work in a coworking space within a community of businesses. If you are intrigued, just check out that article. We were able to connect within the coworking space, and 9 other businesses shared a central area and terrace during the day where we could eat lunch, drink, chat, have meetings, etc. It was a unique experience that I have not seen before.
- Staples / Big Box Stores
I have friends who have worked in these coworking spaces in big box stores such as Staples in Massachusetts. Overall, they have enjoyed it. I imagine it helped to have a partnership with an existing and established coworking space with many locations. If anyone has experience here and would like to share it, please add some notes in the comments. I will definitely have to check one of these out myself when I get a chance.
- Replacing Business Centers in Apartment / Condominium Communities
I just saw an article about an apartment building in New York City converting their business center to a coworking space. I like the idea of creating a coworking space in a building of condos or apartments. Coliving and coworking are wonderful. Personally, I need enough distance and outdoor space to feel as though I have a separation between the two and that I’m not stuck in one place. However, I have had nothing but great experiences at these types of offices.
My experience coliving/coworking was in Syracuse, New York at CoWorks where I had a lovely time, met incredible people, and got some work done.
- Logistics Centers / Coworking in Storage Facilities (Added in 2019)
Coworking and shared workspaces do not typically have a lot of space for keeping products or tools that need to be used or shipped on a day to day basis. For companies that are shipping goods frequently, this integration can make it more efficient to operate and seems to be in alignment with how the logistics centers of larger companies operate. Business meetings, operations, and management duties can be done in a front office environment while shipping and receiving can be done in the back. By integrating shared workspaces and storage, even companies that need general storage for tools or other items being used frequently such as for tradesmen and tradeswomen can reduce costs and eliminate the need for a second external office.
In addition to the information here, there are more options and variations evolving and opening every day. Please share any other coworking types, names, or experiences that you’ve seen or any other helpful ways to differentiate coworking offices.