Before You Sign

As a news startup, taking the leap to have shared office space does come with some potential advantages and some caveats.

Once you have an idea about the kind of space you want to rent, you have to consider privacy options, frequency and use of the space, amenities, and the office culture before signing on the dotted line with the building owner.

First, let’s address privacy. As a news start-up if you feel that you and your staff may require a substantial amount of privacy to prevent information being leaked out to your competitors or the public at large, you may want to consider a different kind of shared space option such as the business to business shared office space or executive suite option that provide private spaces.

Second, let’s address frequency/use of the space. As a start-up, you may not need to use your office space everyday. You and your staff may be happy to work from home or the coffee shop the majority of the time. If you are a small operation and need the space only to gather your staff for specific meetings and other projects, you may want to rent the shared space for a few days a week versus the whole week. This may also solve any privacy issues you could have as well if you only use the shared office space for specific kinds of activities that are not as private or confidential.

Third, let’s consider amenities. Identify the kind of equipment and resources you and your staff will need. What kind of desks does your staff require? What kind of Wi-Fi and Internet connections do you need? Do you need a telephone answering system or receptionist? Do you need access to printers/faxes? Will your staff need a place to eat and take breaks (refrigerators, microwaves, break room area)? What kind of storage will you need for files or other kind of materials? How many parking spots will you need for your staff and visitors? What hours will you need the space (early morning, late evening, 8-4, 9-5)?

Lastly, you have to consider office culture. If you are going to be in an office space where other entrepreneurs, freelancers or other independent workers are working alongside your staff, are there any issues or problems with how they work? Do they mind a quiet or noisy or talkative environment? Some shared office spaces will offer white noise buffers to help drown out the noise from other areas of an open office. It’s up to you to determine what may or may not work for your staff.

Make sure you test out the space before you sign any contract. Invite a few people from your staff to join you in the space for a day and see how the experience goes. This can provide you with a good understanding of whether this option will work or not for your business.