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Shared workspaces (also known as shared office spaces, shared working spaces, or coworking spaces) have developed a reputation for increasing productivity, improving employee wellness, and cultivating creativity. But people tend to use the two terms interchangeably, usually as the preferred alternatives to the flat and uninspired corporate environment.

While both setups create similar benefits for small businesses, satellite offices, entrepreneurs, and remote workers, the two work environments differ in a few key areas.


What are shared workspaces?


Think of shared workspaces as a common office, physical or virtual, where employees of the same company can work closely together.

Physical shared workspaces usually come with traditional amenities, such as fax machines, printers, furniture, and computer equipment. Virtual shared workspaces are online tools (conference technology, communication apps like Gmail and Slack), that allow users to collaborate through the Internet. Both physical and virtual shared workspaces are actively used as a group, or in turns (similar to a timeshare).

Shared office spaces tend to be larger, more private options for brands that want a space exclusively for their business.

Shared workspaces just one example of agile real estate, a new approach to office space solutions. Learn more in our guide here.

What is a coworking space?


  • In comparison, coworking spaces are more open layouts for startups, small businesses, and freelancers.
  • Coworking spaces can take up entire floors, allowing businesses and individuals to share tables and common lounge areas, as well as amenities like espresso bars.
  • Coworking spaces are ideal for startups and entrepreneurs seeking a more cost-effective, community-centric alternative to a traditional or home office.


What’s the difference between coworking and shared office space?


Coworking spaces are for entrepreneurs, freelancers, and businesses looking for more affordable office solutions, or just want an environment that encourages creativity and collaboration.

Shared office spaces are for large businesses, enterprises, or established corporations that need all the traditional perks of an office (such as printing and copying services, meeting rooms, large spaces), but with greater flexibility in setup and costs compared to corporate office suites. As a company continues to grow, the office can change to meet the needs of a client.


Benefits of shared office space


Flexible Schedules, Higher Employee Engagement


Shared office spaces are flexible. Instead of following the traditional 9-5 schedule, you are free to enter your office space at any time. In a survey, researchers found that “64 percent of respondents said that remote working flexibility has had a positive or extremely positive impact on employee engagement, while 30 percent were neutral and only 6 percent said that it has a negative effect.” At the same time, 77 percent of the ‘positive or extremely positive’ respondents fall into the very low category of employee turnover (0-5 percent).

Happier, More Productive Teams


Home life or other circumstances can make it difficult to operate on a traditional work schedule. This can lead to feelings of stress, which in turn leads to negative physical and emotional effects. Productivity decreases with increased fatigue, and increased fatigue leads to less happy and healthy employees. In shared office spaces, 70 percent of employees reported that they felt healthier than they did in a traditional office setting.

More Opportunities For Creativity, Collaboration


Shared office spaces encourage greater creativity in a collaborative space. Employees are able to share their thoughts, speak their minds, and collaborate with people they may not have had access to in a corporate office. Employees are exposed to coworkers with different skill sets, pushing them to think outside the box. And with more color and artwork built into the architecture and design, shared workspaces tend to bring out our inner creativity and personality.

How much does a shared office space cost?

Since multiple people can split the cost of a shared office space, they tend to be a fraction of the usual cost of a traditional office space. But shared office spaces can also vary greatly in price, depending on the space itself. Office suites tend to be on the premium end, as they offer a private space for large teams, and can even include amenities such as dedicated kitchens, conference rooms, and bathrooms. Novel Coworking’s plans for office suites begin at $2,999 per month.

On the other end are coworking memberships, which tend to be the most affordable option. This option allows members to sit in the public coworking lounge and work at any available table, phone booth, or couch. The only catch is there is no private room (unless you reserve a conference room), which may be something to consider if you need to have confidential team meetings. Novel Coworking’s own prices start at just $179 per month!

For a more balanced plan (and our most popular), private offices have space for companies with 1 to 20 people. Private offices can have multiple desks, or they can be shared in turns, with each person using the office on specific days. Novel Coworking offers private offices starting at $299 per month.

Shared workspaces near you


Which is right for you: shared workspace or coworking? As the shared spaces gain more traction, coworking and shared workspaces are no longer limited to major metro areas. Businesses and entrepreneurs from any industry can find their next shared office space in a nearby city.

While Novel Coworking has multiple locations in Chicago and Houston, they also have a presence in cities not known for coworking, such as Indianapolis and the newly opened Minneapolis location. To see a full list of Novel Coworking locations, check out our full map here.

If you find yourself tired and distracted during your work hours—or are feeling less creative than you’d like to be—check out shared workspaces like Novel Coworking for yourself and your employees.