What is



Instead of going to an office, people go to a shared but independent space for work. Some coworking spaces may also include dedicated offices. Learn more.

Coworking is a style of work where individual workers or small groups working independently in a shared workspace. It provides an alternative to the traditional office environment, where people from one organization work side by side in a collaborative setting. With coworking, people from different offices or companies can all work in the same designated space without being on a direct team.

In a coworking space, individuals or businesses can rent or use desks, offices, and meeting rooms on a flexible basis, typically monthly or even daily, rather than committing to long-term leases. These spaces are designed to foster productivity, creativity, and collaboration while offering a sense of community. 

Here are some key characteristics and benefits of coworking:

  1. Shared workspace: Coworking spaces provide a shared working environment where professionals from various backgrounds and organizations can work independently. The workspace is equipped with amenities like desks, chairs, WiFi, meeting rooms, and communal areas.

  1. Flexibility: Coworking spaces offer flexible membership options. Workers or businesses can choose which arrangement best suits their needs. Members can often select between open seats, desks, or private offices, based on their preferences.
  1. Collaboration and networking: Do you need a second opinion on a deliverable? Coworking spaces let team members collaborate and network. Working with people from diverse industries and backgrounds, gives more opportunity for knowledge sharing, collaboration on projects, and potential business partnerships.
  1. Community and social interaction: Coworking comes with a built-in community! The structure allows for increased social interaction. Spaces like WeWork or Workhaus often organize networking events, workshops, and social activities to build connections and create a supportive work environment. Members can benefit from sharing experiences, expertise, and ideas with like-minded professionals. 
  1. Cost-effectiveness: Coworking can be a cost-effective option compared to traditional office space. Rather than setting up and maintaining a dedicated office (usually at a higher cost!), workers or businesses can pay a membership fee or rent for a coworking workspace. This cuts overhead costs, like office furniture, utilities, and maintenance.
  1. Flexibility to scale: Coworking spaces provide the flexibility to scale up or down as needed. You can (usually easily) adjust how many memberships or office spaces you hold based on changing requirements. This gives you agility and cost efficiency.
  1. Enhanced productivity: Coworking spaces are designed to promote productivity and focus. They offer a professional work environment with amenities that support productivity, such as quiet zones, meeting rooms for client interactions, and access to business services like printers and scanners.

Freelancers, remote or hybrid workers, startups, small businesses, and even some larger organizations are commonly adopting co-working models and co-working continues to increase in popularity.

It provides an alternative workspace that offers flexibility, community, and cost-effectiveness, catering to the evolving needs of modern work arrangements.

What are the Risks of Co-Working?

Coworking models offer numerous benefits, but there are downsides and challenges, too, that offices may face when adopting this approach. Some of the main downsides include:

  1. Lack of privacy: In a coworking space, individuals and teams work in a shared environment, which may lead to a lack of privacy. Make sure you keep confidential conversations quiet, as it can be easy for others to overhead your sensitive work discussions. This could potentially compromise your data security and confidentiality. 
  1. Distractions: Coworking spaces are dynamic and social by design. Great for networking, not always great for people who need quiet, distraction-free focus to stay efficient. Noise levels and frequent interactions may hinder concentration for certain tasks.
  1. Limited control over workspace design: In a traditional office setting, companies have full control over the layout, design, and infrastructure. In a coworking space, your organization has less influence over the overall environment. This can make it tough to cater to your workers’ specific needs.
  1. Lack of dedicated space: Big teams or those who need consistent collaboration, may find themselves with less dedicated space or privacy while coworking. The absence of private meeting rooms or offices may be a challenge to certain operations.
  1. Identity and branding: In a coworking space, businesses are part of a shared community. This can sometimes take away their unique identity and branding. It may be harder for employees and clients to associate a company with a specific brand identity.
  1. Competition for equipment: If your coworking space is busy, your team may be competing for amenities like meeting rooms, printers, or kitchen gear. This can lead to scheduling conflicts, resentment and lack of efficiency. 
  1. Cultural alignment: Coworking spaces often have a diverse community of individuals and businesses. This can be great for networking but may bring up challenges in terms of cultural alignment, work styles, and values, which are critical for maintaining a cohesive and productive team environment. 
  1. Security concerns: Sharing office space with individuals from different organizations raises potential security risks, both physical and digital. Companies need to put adequate measures in place to safeguard sensitive information and protect data and equipment. Your IP should always come first, no matter where you work.
  1. Membership costs: While coworking can be cost-effective for certain businesses, it might not always be the most budget-friendly option. This can be especially true for big teams. Monthly membership fees or rental costs may be higher compared to traditional office leases, especially if you’re in the downtown of a major city.

Overall, offices considering a coworking model need to think critically about their specific requirements and the potential downsides. It's essential to weigh the advantages of flexibility and community against the challenges of privacy, distractions, and customization to determine if coworking is the right fit for you.


World’s Most Popular Co-Working Spaces

Which spaces can you pick from if you’re interested in coworking? Here are a few popular options:

  • WeWork
  • IWG – (International Workplace Group)
  • Impact Hub
  • Workhaus
  • Second Home

These are just a few of myriad choices you can look at when considering coworking as an option for your distributed team.

Manage Your Global, Distributed Team with Borderless 

Managing a remote team can be a challenge. At Borderless, we are experts in international employment. If you’re looking at trying out a coworking structure to include remote, distributed workers, it can be beneficial to get an outside assessment of how it will impact your team.

We can help you understand the different work cultures around the world and be your safety net through your employees’ lifecycles, from the planning stage of onboarding, right through to retirement in 150+ countries. 

Book a demo today to find out how we can help.