Social media managers and the small teams working at startups and small agencies face many logistical challenges, and finding a suitable workspace can be top among them. We’ve already talked about the pros and cons of working from home for community and social media managers, but sometimes that just won’t cut it. You need a space to work in.
Since renting office space is an expensive commitment, many small teams have turned to a trend called co-working — short-term renting of seats in complexes that serve as homes for a large, rotating roster of small business or self-employed clients. Now this concept is evolving into new forms.
We spoke with Justin Stewart, one of the co-founders of Industrious Office, a new co-working space opening in Chicago this summer. Stewart says the space is now taking applications for offices at its website. The new space is what he calls a “hive office” — a compromise between an executive office suite and a co-working space aimed to negate the downsides of both for collaborating social teams and others.
Most open-floored co-working spaces offer a sense of community, and the bustle of the surroundings can be stimulative to creativity, but on the flip side, they can be distracting. Business digital magazine Quartz recently published an article aggregating studies that showed totally open work spaces can actually lead to distractions and other negative effects on productivity. The alternative is generally renting an executive office suite, but this is very expensive, and these locations are rarely very inspiring.
Industrious Office’s hive layout partitions an open working space with glass windows, walls, and doors. You get the energy and the privacy at the same time. Of this, Stewart said, “Hive offices allow for privacy, but yet not isolation… a common concern people have with co-working is it’s hard to really come up with serious brainstorming sessions without feelings others could take your ideas. Digital teams need their privacy to actually get work done.”
The space could serve an exploding number of social media startups in the Chicago area. “Chicago as far as I see is it the silicon valley of the Midwest,” says Stewart. “Chicago is not up and coming because it’s already arrived. I’m just excited to be part of this movement.”
Though the space is not dedicated strictly to social teams, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s important — especially in marketing — to be plugged into your surroundings and to know what other types of firms are doing. “We find having a variety of talented industries in the space can bode well for a productive vast ecosystem unlike anything out there,” Stewart says.
The space your team works in is important. Tools like Sprout Social let you assign and manage social media tasks in the cloud, but for many types of social media teams, this works best in tandem with a live office culture. Weigh the options carefully when choosing how and where your team should work — co-working, renting office space, virtual offices, and hive offices like Industrious Office are all viable options for someone. Just make sure the one you pick is viable for you.
[Image credit: Rendering from Industrious Office]
Samuel Axon: Samuel is the Editorial Director supervising Sprout Social's editorial and web content projects. He has years of experience in blogging and social media, having previously worked as an editor at social media and technology news sites Mashable and Engadget. He also helped build the white label web content management system Crowd Fusion from the ground up.