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The Pros and Cons of Working in a Shared Business Space

Scott Gerber
Scott Gerber

Sharing a business space with another startup can be great for the collaborative entrepreneur. But what about those who need a little more space and privacy, yet don't have an office of their own?

When making a big decision for your company, it's important to weigh both sides to determine the best outcome. That's why we asked a panel of successful entrepreneurs from the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) what they think about working in shared spaces. Here's what they had to say:

1. Pro: It's a Community Joining a co-working space is less expensive than a traditional office space, and you belong to a community of smart entrepreneurs who are going through similar challenges. This network of like-minded coworkers provides you with strategic partners to bounce ideas off of and who understand the unique challenges you face as a startup founder. - Doug Bend, Bend Law Group, PC

2. Con: It's Distracting

Sharing office space with startups is pretty awesome most of the time. However, it's really easy to get distracted and become unproductive. Determine the best environment for the task at hand. Shared office spaces are often great for collaborative work like team meetings, but they're not so good for heads-down work like coding or writing. - Tim Jahn, matchist

3. Pro: It Provides Support for Technical Challenges

We are sharing an office space with a great startup. One amazing benefit is that our tech director and their team have been able to swap insights into solving difficult challenges. It's nice to have a group of smart people with different perspectives in your space! - Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches

4. Pro: It Encourages Creativity

The environment afforded by shared office space is more conducive to creativity and innovation. Home offices can be isolating and restrictive to the creative juices. Use shared office space to bounce ideas off of other entrepreneurs. - Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

5. Pro: You Share Value and Save Money

You can make it work, but you have to keep your boundaries up and pair your team up with a startup that can mutually benefit from being with you. Rather than sharing simply to save money on space, it's a big plus if the two startups have mutual value or shared services they can offer each other. - Andy Karuza, Brandbuddee

6. Con: It's Hard to Define Your Culture

We've often shared space with other startups, and the biggest drawback involved culture. Sharing made it difficult to define our own culture because there was another team in our space that didn't necessarily subscribe to our culture. At times, it made our team feel self-conscious to celebrate a big win or to participate in a game. - Sarah Schupp, UniversityParent

7. Pro: It Yields Creativity, Innovation and Scrappiness

For me, there are only pros. This year, we formed the Fueled Collective, -- a co-working space in our offices -- so we could surround our team with the creative, innovative and scrappy mentality that only startups exude. - Rameet Chawla, Fueled

8. Pro: You Meet Great New Vendors

Sharing office space with other startups is cost-effective for two reasons: you have more affordable shared space, and you will likely meet new vendors with whom you can barter for services or products. When startups come together under one roof, there are opportunities to meet and network with experts in diverse fields. So, when that community is created, you'll likely benefit from early access, discounts and other promos. - Doreen Bloch, Poshly Inc.

9. Pro: You Get Connected Through Connections

Working with other startups is great because, more often than not, people in your workspace have connections to others who may be useful to you or your company. Whether you need a developer, graphic designer, engineer or potential talent, you can usually count on a safe and trusty recommendation from a fellow office mate. - Zach Cutler, Cutler Group

10. Pro: It Connects Like-Minded CEOs

CEOs/founders can often feel alone when shouldering the burden of their startup. Having other startups in the same space is a smart way to build relationships with people who understand and share the same responsibility. - Derek Flanzraich, Greatist

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Scott Gerber
Scott Gerber Member
Scott Gerber is the founder of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses. Gerber is also a serial entrepreneur, regular TV commentator and author of the book Never Get a “Real” Job.