A co-work office is a space used by multiple contractors, companies or both. The growth in contractors and entrepreneurs has led to an explosion in co-working office space to support them. These spaces have a number of organization styles to support a wide range of businesses.
Types of Co-Working Offices
Co-op office spaces are the most informal co-working space and usually accept anyone willing to pay the office rental amount. The co-op office space movement places emphasize on:
This open model makes co-op offices a great space to network with a wide range of companies and professionals.
Incubator offices rent space to new companies and entrepreneurs developing their business ideas. They are usually more selective than co-ops in their membership and aim to build a community of businesses and entrepreneurs around industries or regions. This exposes entrepreneurs and business owners to possible mentors, investors and partners targeted at their industry or region. Incubators are good spaces for businesses to connect with similar ventures and scale their market share following the start-up stage.
Business accelerators aim to help entrepreneurs launch a new business. They are usually quite selective in their membership with an extensive application process. Accelerators also have a set schedule for business development and graduation from the program. Accelerators provide the most business support though. Accelerator programs often hold class series for their members and set up events where members can pitch to investors and meet mentors.
Advantages of Co-Working Offices
Co-working offices reduce office space and equipment overhead for businesses by spreading it out amongst several businesses. Small businesses avoid long term leases, which allows them to easily expand. Co-working is also a great way to network with like minded entrepreneurs, professionals, investors and mentors.
Freelancers and entrepreneurs can also use co-working office spaces for social support. Co-working spaces provide a place to meet people who are in the same situation and engage in organized social events targeted to business owners. This helps to alleviate the sense of isolation that many freelancers and beginning entrepreneurs experience.
Draw Backs of Co-Working Offices
Co-working spaces have the same draw backs as any office. You are working in the same space as other people for a prolong period of time. You also have to plan on traveling between your home and the office space. If you do not want to plan your lunches, commute or listen to typing all day a co-working office may not be a great fit for you.
Co-working offices present some unique challenges too. Few co-working spaces provide computers and require members to bring their own computer equipment. You should also plan on not leaving your belongings at a co-working space since co-working offices often do not provide storage for their members.
Most co-working spaces offer open houses or a free trial day. Take advantage of these opportunities to visit the space and meet the people involved in the office. Remember that you will spend eight plus hours in this space so you should enjoy the office and the people.
Co-Working Office Spaces in British Columbia
There are a number of great co-working office spaces in British Columbia. Co-ops are the most common, but there are several accelerators and incubators as well. Start-ups and small businesses looking to join incubators or accelerators may want to look nationally as programs outside of BC might be a better match for your business.
Co-Working Space Lists
Focused on co-op office spaces in Canada and British Columbia.
Primarily lists incubators and accelerators with some co-ops listed as well.
List of co-working spaces in British Columbia by the BC Innovation Council. Most offices are in the Vancouver area.
Tech Resources in Canada | Accelerators and Incubators
Co-working offices are great environments to develop and build a new company. They provide opportunities for socializing and networking while reducing office overheads. They do come with some draw backs, so be sure to visit several offices to see which is the best fit for you.
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