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Traditional vs. Shared Office Space: A Side-by-Side Comparison

Traditional vs. Shared Office Space: A Side-by-Side Comparison
May 14, 2018 gnuworld
shared office space versus traditional

Increasingly, entrepreneurs, freelancers and small business owners are opting for shared office space as an alternative to renting traditional offices.

The term “shared office space” includes serviced offices in a shared facility, as well as coworking spaces where multiple people work in an open-plan area – although typically with booths or other divisions available for when more privacy is needed.

Comparison of traditional and shared office space

Here we compare the main features of traditional and shared office space side by side.


Traditional office space

Shared office space at The Workspace

Set-up costs

Set-up costs typically include the costs of:

Installing cabling and setting up internet and phone access

Office furniture

Equipment like printers and scanners

Office décor, from carpeting to office plants, blinds and artwork

Kitchen facilities (or, at minimum, facilities for making coffee and tea)

Air conditioning, if it’s not already installed

Building security


Almost no set-up costs.

Office furniture, décor, equipment and infrastructure are already in place.

Bring your own laptop or PC, plug in and start work straight away.

Set-up time

It can take several weeks to finish setting up a traditional office space with the required infrastructure and equipment.

Shared office spaces are “ready-to-go” business solutions.

Lease terms

Commercial leases tend to be long-term leases with rigid terms because these suit the property owners.

You can expect to pay an upfront deposit, be tied in for anything from one to 10 years and be heavily penalised for terminating the lease prematurely.

Terms vary from three to 12 months for serviced offices – or pay to use a coworking space on a month-to-month basis.

This means you can easily scale up or down according to your business needs.

Operating costs

Operating costs include, but aren’t limited to, the costs of:

Monthly office rental

Front-house/ reception staff

Telephone and fibre internet use

Electricity, water and rates

Office cleaning

Coffee and tea for staff


Courier services, if relevant.

Most operating costs are included in your monthly rate.

Business-specific items like stationery, as well as certain business services that are available on a pay-as-you-go basis, are exceptions.

Support for different company sizes

Conventional offices are available for rent in a wide range of sizes, suitable for companies with small, medium, large or very large numbers of staff.

Most serviced offices are ideal for individuals or small teams of up to six people.

Coworking spaces are designed with individuals in mind.


Lease terms will specify the responsibilities of each party. Typically, property owners retain responsibility for the building structure and basic amenities, like plumbing.

You’ll be responsible for office cleaning services and maintenance and repairs of office equipment, furniture and IT infrastructure.

You’ll be responsible only for maintaining equipment you bring with you, like personal laptops and computers.

The shared office space provider carries the cost of cleaning and maintenance of office services, equipment and amenities.

Meeting rooms and boardrooms

If you need dedicated meeting spaces, you’ll have to pay for an office that includes them – and furnish and decorate them as required.

The extra square metres will add a fixed amount to the monthly rent you pay.

Access to on-site meeting rooms is included in the monthly rate.

All members also have access, by arrangement, to professionally decorated boardrooms.


Typically, securing and paying for nearby parking is your responsibility.

A limited number of secure parking bays may or may not be offered as part of a traditional office rental, sometimes at a significant extra cost.

Free parking is provided.

Shared office space at The Workspace

At The Workspace, we offer affordable, fully serviced offices and coworking, and all our clients have access to meeting rooms, boardrooms and a range of business services.

For more information or to book a tour of one of our branches, call us on 087 059 7777 or contact us online.

Contact us now

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