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smb-tech-trendsIs your small business growing, but you’re not quite ready to move out of your home office and into leased space? Or maybe you need an office in another town where you have a number of customers and find it necessary to be in the area several or more days each month. And then there are your remote workers, some of whom may be hundreds of miles away from your office. Would they prefer to work among others to enjoy the camaraderie, conversation and spontaneous collaboration that occurs when you sit next to someone or meet in the hallway on your way to the coffee room?

If any of these apply to your situation, you might want to consider coworking or shared working arrangements for yourself or members of your remote team.  Plantronics is a member of NextSpace, a California-based coworking company with nine locations, and has seen how coworking provides employees with the opportunity to cost-effectively collaborate and informally network with others across a range of industries and markets.

According to Forbes contributor Lawton Ursrey in “What Coworking Can Really Do For You,”coworking spaces are growing, increasing by 400 percent in the past two years. In addition to the obvious savings in renting an office or providing your remote workers with services and even equipment that might be too costly for you to provide them, Ursrey points out other benefits coworking spaces provide.

For starters, he says, coworking can help you find other people who are facing the same challenges – especially those collaborationinvolved in starting a business. They provide a ‘built-in support system’ to offer advice and support. Plus, there is the networking potential in meeting others who may end up a partner, potential investor or someone to sit on your board.

Saving time is another advantage of coworking, since you have access to people who may be able to offer services you need, such as marketing or accounting, as well as point you to new resources, best practices, apps and more.

As you look for coworking spaces, consider the following tips from Dailyworth.com to find the right spot for your needs:

Location: If you plan to meet with clients or business associates at your coworking facility, since some offer meeting rooms, consider location and access to transportation and available parking.  If a space doesn’t offer meeting rooms, you’ll want to be in area near to restaurants or coffee shops where you can meet with others.

Privacy: When you need to have a private conversation or hold a video or web conference on your computer or mobile device, you’ll want privacy. While most coworking spaces have desks out in the open or cubicles, some offer booths or conference rooms for private conversations. Regardless of where you have your conference, you’ll want to use a headset for audio clarity.

Culture: Any office – yours or a coworking one – has its own culture. Some coworking spaces will be more collaborative than others. Some have assigned spaces, which you can decorate to make yourself feel more at home; others rotate desks. Some even let members bring their dogs. Take advantage of any open house events or a free day pass to get a feel for the environment and make sure it suits you.

If you are looking for convenience, community and collaboration, coworking might be the answer for your small business while you are growing.


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