Foundd Legal Blog | The Low Down on Co-Working Spaces and Co-Working Space Agreements

The Low Down on Co-Working Spaces and Co-Working Space Agreements


We love small businesses. We love creatives who pour their heart and soul into an idea, into a dream and work their arses off to make it a reality. Freelancers rock because they seize opportunities and make them their own and the whole entrepreneur vibe is something we back 100%. What we love even more? That awesome vibe is also on the rise! Nowadays there are more and more people running their own side business with plans to turn it into a living. More and more people are working remotely and making their own hours while connecting locally and globally with like minded, clever new business owners and startups. One small downside of running your own small business? Finding a place to work. Yes, we know, the home office is easy. Let’s get that straight right off the bat. It’s cozy. It’s convenient. It’s affordable. You can work in your underwear. But let’s face it. It can be distracting, uninspiring and creatively lonely sitting at home solo day in and day out. So the latest trend that’s been getting our creative and business juices flowing has been the Co-Working Space! It’s totally our jam. Stick with us for the low down on co-working spaces and co-working space agreements. We’ll give you lots to think about and even more to get excited about!

Prospect Studios Brisbane
@prospectstudios | Prospect Studios Brisbane

So What, Exactly, is a Co-Working Space? 

The definition is clear enough: A co-working space is a shared office space where individuals from different companies (often startups, freelancers and other entrepreneurs) go to work in order to make an office and all of its amenities more affordable through shared costs. It also makes for a bit more of a professional social atmosphere to surround yourself in as opposed to working alone. More and more entrepreneurs and startups are jumping on the co-working space bandwagon. The flexibility of not signing a long term lease, the ability to be amongst other professionals and the perks that can come along with this kind of work environment are all reasons they’ve been on the up and up over the last few years. Young professionals are keen to connect, be social and share ideas. Being productive goes hand in hand with being comfortable, enjoying the chance to collaborate and enjoy a cuppa in this exciting environment! 

Co-working spaces certainly can be convenient, but it isn’t as simple as finding one and just rocking up to start working like you might in a cafe or library. There are legal obligations that must be adhered to, similar to renting an office space of your own. Sure, having your own leased office space means you can come and go as you please and you can decorate the walls with all of the Kylie and Neighbours posters you’d like. Game of Thrones, too, if that’s more your jam. But the long term agreements and outpouring of cash can be a turn off for many new businesses and turn a dream into a financial nightmare. Co-working spaces can be the way to go if you’re looking for less of a commitment on top of the perks already mentioned. No need to sign a lease, with this bad boy you’re looking at a co-working space license agreement. Insert casual workspace happy dance here. ;)

WeWork Co-Working
@wework | WeWork Co-Working 

What is a Co-Working Space License Agreement?

A co-working space license agreement is an agreement between you and the co-working space owner. The agreement lays out the terms under which you can use the space, so if you were thinking about going in to work one Saturday to start a social mixer for ‘networking purposes’ you may have to find another venue! Check out some of the nitty gritty for co-working license agreements.

  • Use. This basically gives you the lowdown on what your usage of the space is like. Do you get access on evenings and weekends, too? Do you get a shared desk (hot desk) space or an office?
  • Rules and Conduct. These will touch on noise levels, alcohol and drug use, harassment and other inappropriate uses of the space. Good times.
  • Fees. Yup. These spaces will have some kind of membership fee or daily rate, and they change depending on what is included and what’s on offer!
  • Confidentiality. Depending on the space, some have a confidentiality clause so you don’t go blabbing about the amazing new invention you just overheard Sandy chatting about over tea.
  • Renewal and Termination. That should be straightforward. Continue the agreement or wrap it up and say your goodbyes. ‘Nuff said. 

A Few Things To Think About Before You Join A Co-working Space…

Budget

Look at how much money you have to put toward a membership. A kick arse space like The Coterie, which is ace for Brisbane based creatives and tech startups, will run you $110 to $480 a month depending on your needs (casual, desk, office, etc.) If you’re a fan of a workspace that also has a garden space, is dog friendly and has coffee and showers (who doesn’t like coffee and showers?) then somewhere like Prospect Studios may be how you roll. They have day rates and monthly rates that increase based on your needs. Keep in mind what amenities are included when you budget. If the space has free coffee and internet, you’ll be saving cash on takeaway and may be able to downgrade your at home internet. Play around with what you can afford.


Location

Do you want to be in the heart of the city? Are you more a leafy suburbs kind of person? Maybe you just want the commute to be as short and sweet as possible from your front door. Whatever the case may be, there are lots of options in and around metro areas all over Australia so do your homework and you’re bound to find the one for you!


Flexible Hours

Some spaces like The Cluster in Melbourne offer 24 hour access with any per week paid membership. But if you’re on a casual or day rate, chances are you’ll only have access during the regular joe work hours or based on what space is available and when.


Amenities

This is where it gets super fun to compare spaces. Who gives you free coffee and tea? How about free fruit? Internet? Printing services? A receptionist? Who has a garden? Showers to hit before you head out for a night on the town after a long day of co-working? Another cool little bonus is that some co-working spaces allow you to use their address as your business address if you don’t want to use your home for mailing and contact purposes. Whatever the case may be, make a list of what your ideal co-working space looks like in terms of amenities and start researching!

The Cluster Melbourne
@theclustermelbourne | The Cluster Melbourne

Community and Environment

One of the most amazing things about the whole co-working space concept is the vibe. These spaces all have their own feel based on design, furniture and amenities. Do you prefer a sleek, modern design or are you more about comfy couches and cuppa as you work? These spaces also have their own feel based on the type of professionals that come and go in the space day in and day out! Some spaces will push the more business professional vibe while others, though they are about working and entrepreneurship, can have more of a casual, hipster feel with more of a creative flair. What kind of environment makes you tick? What makes the most sense for your brand? What kind of people are you comfortable chatting to about your business ideas? Again, we’d totally suggest sitting down and making a list of all of the things that you love about a space that makes you feel productive, creative and inspired!  

Whatever gets your business juices flowing, we hope you find the co-working space that is absolutely perfect for you! If you have any questions about co-working spaces, license agreements and how your business might benefit, don’t hesitate to give us a shout! We’re always keen for a tête-à-tête. Maybe we’ll even bump into you at one of these fine co-working establishments...


FOUNDD LEGAL articles are intended to provide commentary and general information in an informal style. We love to keep you informed but our posts are not intended to be relied upon as legal advice. We advise you to seek legal counsel for up-to-the-minute advice and proper addressing of your queries and concerns.