You’ve established your company and have been working from home. It’s been a few months and things are starting to look great! You’ve seen some sales and a couple of repeat customers. It’s time to take your brand to the next level.
Sure, working from home is awesome. You don’t have to worry about traffic and you minimize expenses while spending time with your family and pets during lunch break.
But working from home can have its disadvantages too. Having your kids and pets around can also be a distraction. The temptation to procrastinate is psychologically higher when we are at home. This could even cause you to miss out on goals for the quarter, no less.
Staying at home can also be limiting for both you and your business. As your business grows, you’ll need more space to house expanding operations and more people. Even the hippest and freshest disruptors in every industry have designated workspace where they meet to focus on and achieve company goals.
As an entrepreneur, renting out or leasing an office should be seen as an investment in your future. You are investing in a space to cultivate ideas and promote collaboration among your team.
In recent years, corporate businesses have increasingly shifted operations toward flexible office setups. This is where several employees from different companies work from the same property, often sharing common equipment, amenities, and utilities, as in the case of coworking or shared offices. It’s a great option to reduce cost while having access to a bigger and better environment than a team might have access to in a traditional setting.
An effective strategy, especially at the beginning, is to minimize budget while maximizing productivity. A common path for startups in recent years is to take advantage of the trend toward coworking memberships and access passes. These workspace solutions are ideal for small companies and can be a catalyst in accelerating their growth.
Even many major corporations have chosen flex space over leased offices. In September 2016 for example, HSBC moved 300 of its employees into a coworking space. Microsoft and IBM have also taken initiatives in moving their employees to shared workspace. Other companies have taken advantage of the opportunity to rent full dedicated suites within flexible workspace buildings where they can maintain private space but enjoy cost savings from shared utilities, onsite staff, on demand amenities, and other benefits.
Perhaps one of the biggest draws, if not the biggest, of a coworking space is the inherent opportunity for networking. Not only have you invested in a flexible space to develop your ideas and strategies, but you have several potential business partners to choose from. It’s not rare to share a table with a different company, in a different industry, looking to connect. This allows for an avenue for businesses to grow and evolve. Collaboration is key to evolving your business.
For example, let’s say you’re an online brand looking to expand your reach. In your space, you might find someone working with a logistics company, a useful partner to provide your customers with excellent last-mile delivery. A digital marketer might teach you a few tricks to increase conversion or a web designer might show you how to revamp your website. Soon, you’ll be taking your brand to new heights.
The idea is to keep costs down while gaining an avenue to boost growth, sales, and production. Moving certain parts of your organization to a flexible coworking workspace that will directly benefit from what they can offer is a good solution.
An example of this is your marketing team. Collaboration and networking are key in marketing. A coworking space makes their jobs a lot easier by having them work in the vicinity of potential sponsors or partners. However, your product team might need their own private office that will allow them creative freedom without having to worry about privacy and spilling trade secrets.
This district is known for its artistic and creative identity. With a focus on design and fashion, River North attracts not only creatives but is also home to numerous tech companies. Surrounded by galleries, ad agencies, designers, and writers, inspiration is just around the corner.
This district is also quite close to some of the residential areas in the greater Chicagoland area. Being close to downtown but just far enough to avoid the busy streets of the district, River North is the best of both worlds in terms of a relaxed and productive community.
Considered to be the central business district, The Loop is where major corporations reside. This is also where the Chicago Mercantile Exchange is found. Naturally, you’ll see busy people in suits and corporate outfits walking and rushing to their offices.
A great place to set up your headquarters for medium to large organizations, here you can find the hallmarks of an active business district. Mixing corporate aesthetics with wonderful public art, you’ll find an abundance of offices and coworking spaces to choose from to fit your style and work ethic.
With a more high-end vibe, West Loop is considered to be the city’s main shopping district. Finance and insurance are prominent industries in the district along with some of the biggest tech companies in the world like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google.
The West Loop district is an ideal location for small teams starting out. There are cost-effective workspaces found here that provide a modern feel with high-end amenities to discover. And due to the high volume of dining options, taking clients out to lunch is easy and convenient.
Wacker Drive runs along the side of The Loop and shares its bustling central business district vibe. A convenient location for an office, you’ll be able to avoid the crowds during rush hour while enjoying easy access to restaurants, stores, and other conveniences.
Several industries and sectors are growing in Chicago, leading to strong competition for space in the city.
The question is, what’s right for your business? Will you and your brand benefit from having a dedicated office? Or are shared office and coworking memberships more cost-effective and appropriate for your teams working model?
What are the latest Chicago office space rental rates? As of 2020, on average, it’s about $50 per square foot to rent an office space. A commercial 300 square foot office would cost you around $15,000 per month for the lease. Quite expensive. And that’s just space. You still need to shoulder the costs of utilities, such as electricity and water.
However, flexible workspaces boast substantially lower costs. For as low as $200, you could secure a spot at some of the best flexspaces in town. Not only do you not have to worry about equipment and utilities but you also get a good pipeline of business partners and clients to connect and network with.
Searching for the ideal office space for you and your company is like looking for your next apartment. It’s exciting and motivating. You can’t wait to settle down and get those creative juices flowing.
Things to consider are your needs and budget. What kind of office space are you looking for? Are you looking for a private office or suite where you have full control of its setup? Or a shared workspace where you have a healthy network of partners looking to collaborate.
You also have to consider maintenance. Owning an office, as opposed to renting or sharing a workspace, obligates you to consider maintenance as part of your budget. Remember, an office is an investment on your part. What would be good for your brand and team right now?
Speaking of your team, you should consider their individual spaces. Are you going to provide a dedicated desk for each person on your team? Each desk (and chair!) comes with its own costs as well. You’ll have to keep in mind the internet connection and cable set up, along with amenities and utilities to help you focus on what’s important.
A core requirement for every team is access to a meeting room, because this is usually where the big ideas and strategies are born. So consider the features of the conference room as well. What would you need? Obviously, a quiet space where private discussions can be kept private. A Smart TV for convenience, as well as a whiteboard for taking down ideas during your brainstorming sessions are also common requirements. Taking an inventory of all the resources your team needs in a productive workspace is the first step in finding it!