Understanding the nuances and differences between these two emerging workplace concepts.
For two very different concepts meant for corporations at two very different stages of growth and evolution, it is surprising how often the terms ‘managed office’ and ‘coworking space’ are interchanged. Not just by the general public and consumers of these products, but often by their promoters as well.
You may think that people call their products ‘coworking spaces’ to capitalize on the buzzword — but that can’t be it. The sheer number of advantages offered by managed offices for organizations at the relevant stage of growth actually make the ‘coworking’ concept ineffective.
So, we’ve decided to clear the air a little bit. Coworking spaces are meant exclusively for independent entrepreneurs (or aspiring entrepreneurs) and emerging corporations, allowing them to work in a manner that draws from the mutual strengths of all participants in a collaborative ecosystem. Managed offices are meant as options for small or mid-sized companies to operate in an effective environment, with top-of-the-line infrastructure and shared common spaces and infrastructure (such as conference rooms, networks, etc) to operate out of high-grade facilities. At best, the commonality between the two concepts is very functional — shared infrastructure and flexible lease terms.
But that’s where it stops. While coworking spaces are meant as temporary rest-houses on the way to concept establishment, managed offices offer the opportunity to scale in the same premises as required. Therefore, the minimum space and lease commitment in managed offices is typically far more structured than in coworking spaces, where one can rent a desk by the hour.
If a workplace doesn’t promote a high degree of collaboration between occupants, it cannot be a coworking space. Brad Neuberg, who came up with the coworking concept, has laid the rules for what defines a coworking ecosystem (or movement, as he calls it) — “the coworking movement espouses five core values: Community, Openness, Collaboration, Sustainability, and Accessibility.”
So, just a colorful office with hundreds of millennials and premium gourmet coffee on the brewing machine does not mean that the space you are walking into is part of the coworking revolution.