How to decide between a coworking or a business centre?

coworking or business centre

How to decide between a coworking or a business centre?

Let's say you have a business in hand, you've weighed up all your options and you've decided that your best option is to set up in a shared office. Now you're left with the hardest decision: ¿coworking or business centre?

More than twenty years ago, "protocoworkings" appeared: hybrid work centers, strange, aimed at entrepreneurs whose ties were tight and who rebelled against cubicles and the typical image of the businessman. Even today, after all this time, some people still can't tell the difference between coworking and business centers.


Why use so many names for an office rental office? More than one will say... It's normal to feel confused. You may even think that you are being taken for a ride: "They are the same centres with a different name". But if you give us a few minutes of your time, we will show you the differences between one and the other so that you can make your decision. Because it's not all about four walls to work in.

Both centres share many similarities and yet are very different. Let's say that a coworking wears a plaid shirt and trainers and a business centresuit and shoes: both are for work, but each does it in a different way. Or, at least, that was the original idea.

What is a business centre?

The business centers arrived in Madrid 25 years ago, much earlier than the coworkings. These business centres in Madrid were conceived as large physical office spaces with small offices to be rented by companies and SMEs. The idea was to share certain basic services such as copying, maintenance, networks, cleaning, security or air conditioning, in order to reduce costs, unifying everything under a single invoice.

On the contrary, the coworking was born in 2008 as a result of necessity. The context of the economic crisis forced many to cut costs. In the midst of that precariousness, collaborative ideas between businesses gained momentum and these centres provided, in the best way possible, the collaborative exchanges that are so common today.

 coworking or business centre

Despite their different origins, the similarities between the two were evident from the start. Both a business centre and a coworking have a clear main objective: to reduce the costs of their rented space compared to an ordinary office. Both allow you to focus exclusively on business activity, without distractions about facilities, services or infrastructures. That is the main similarity; both offer offices, meeting rooms, training rooms... everything to facilitate the work of their tenants and members. They are also good places to work, but each in its own way. networkingbut each in its own way. While in the business center is (sometimes) a matter of necessity, in the coworking is part of their daily life, the basis of their existence.

As you can see, neither is a "simple rental office". They have much more to offer, but each focuses on different audiences. Business centres focus on companies with significant turnover, normally with their own infrastructure and with a certain amount of experience. They are the ones in suits, so to speak. Coworkings, on the other hand, are more modern and flexible spaces and, although their audiences have varied, they are generally aimed at entrepreneurs, freelancers, freelancers, start-ups... In other words, small companies and entrepreneurs without a strong business structure to support them because they are newly created or their turnover is not so high.

Despite their attempts to keep their distance, coworkings and business centres are becoming more and more similar. Business centres have long since left the four walls of an office. They have staged a headlong flight worthy of Jack himself in The Room in search of a new reality: collaborative reality.

So much so that, at present, coworkings and business centers fall into the same category of flexible work spaces, according to the employers' association of business spaces. Its president, Eduardo Salsamendi, told the EFE news agency that it is becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate between these two business models, since both offer collaborative and private spaces without distinction. Services that were traditionally linked to business centers, such as virtual offices in Madrid, virtual secretaries or company domiciliation in Madrid, are also offered in coworking centers.

Today, mixed models in which the two ideas are intertwined are often the norm. After all, it is not surprising that a sector that is growing at 20% per year is reinventing itself to attract more customers.

 coworking or business centre

At this point, we realise that the main difference is centred on networking needs. A company belonging to a business centerIn the case of coworking, the main attraction is thenetworking that exists, inherently, in the physical workspace. Start-ups, freelancers or freelancers can use the coworking network to develop their own agenda and support their business with a shared business structure. In a coworking coworking coworking is not a place where you live isolated from the rest of the world as if you were being held hostage in a shed. The reality is broader.

 coworking or business centre

The spaces in both are also organized differently. While, in business centers, companies have closed spaces and the logo on the door, in coworking spaces,corporateism is diluted between fixed positions in shared workspaces, rooms and offices in coworking. Corporate references are not necessary in a large common workspace, relaxed, inspiring and creative. An appearance far removed from the aseptic and impersonal business centers.

Now these lines are blurring. Coworkings o business centres have become two sides of the same coin. The need for more flexible structures and the dehumanisation of labour relations due to digitalisation have brought these shared office models to the same point. However, that point does not quite coincide.

Privacy and independence of clients is vital for a business centre. However, in a coworking This intimacy can be sacrificed in order to nurture community awareness and personal contact, with the aim of turning the space into a real family that collaborates and provides continuous feedback.

In short, we could reduce all the differences to one: the focus on use. Business centres were created as large spaces to bring companies together, in specific, well-communicated areas, to save costs and then, if necessary, to create a network of contacts of their own free will. Coworkings, on the other hand, were born with the purpose of creating networks that forge communities around the collaborative work of small entrepreneurs. In this way, they make up for the shortcomings of not being a large company.

Coworking or business centre? Neither is better or worse than the other, it all depends on the needs of the business. There is a choice: the traditional business centre or the new business and professional codes of coworkingspace.

Which one do you choose?

On the cover: image from the film Room


coworking or business centre

Diego Sanchez

Journalist and audiovisual communicator by training. Freelance journalist and editorial layout artist as a current profession. Always in search of creativity and with a shield of optimism.