How to transition from coworking to your own office

Brendan Suh


The first time I entered a coworking space, I felt like a kid in a candy shop.

Beautiful furniture. Well-watered plants. Kombucha on tap? Yes please.

But after a few weeks, hot desks don’t hit the same. Communal works spaces turn claustrophobic.

All teams get to the point where they outgrow the nest of coworking space and want to spread their wings to find their new home. After all, you can only fight your coworking community so many times for precious phone booth access.

No more WeWork glass offices, crammed in like zoo habitats - I want open pastures to roam!

But, how do I find an office space?

Fear not, fellow adventurer, for we've got the map to guide you on this journey.

The Coworking Journey

Coworking spaces have been our reliable companions in the world of work. They've provided us with flexibility, air conditioning, and, of course, over-sweetened kombucha. But like any journey, this one too must evolve. Here's how you'll know it's time to make your move:

1. The Space Squeeze

When your business starts playing sardines with space, it's time to break free. Those noisy neighbors getting to you, the elbowing for shared desk space, the glares at people talking too loud on their standup calls - all signs of your maturation process.

2. Hush-Hush Meetings

When confidential conversations or brainstorming sessions that rival a flock of seagulls demand discretion, it's time to lock the doors. You can only sneak into shared conference rooms , whisper at picnic benches, and call each other from crammed phone booths so many times. At best, this is an inconvenience - constantly having to worry about volume or comfort of shared working time. At worst, this stifles creativity. Brainstorming with in-person logistics on your mind is like trying to pat your head and rub your stomach at the same time. Nearly impossible.

3. Identity Crisis

If you're dreaming of a workspace that's uniquely yours, complete with your logo on every wall, a custom escape is in order. While this might be trivial to some, what usually isn’t is culture. As your team grows, you may want to have a space of your own to decorate and brand in a way that establishes a culture of confidence and empowerment. Even when you’re rolling 10 deep at your local San Francisco WeWork, it might not be the same when the office doesn’t feel like yours.

The Art of Escaping Coworking

Now, let's talk about your options for your grand escape:

1. Traditional Office Lease

Yes, you could go full adult and lease a traditional office. You get all the space you want, total control over every dimension of it, but also all the responsibility – think long-term leases, utility bills, and office furniture shopping sprees.

Post-COVID, fewer and fewer companies of all sizes are opting for traditional office leases. As teams navigate the future of hybrid work, many want more flexible and short-term leasing options, which traditional leases often don’t provide. Plus, it can be a pain to curate, purchase, and set up all the furniture and other amenities needed for an office. What if you want something plug and play?

2. Sub-Leases

If you have office space commitment issues, consider sub-leasing from a business that has already made the move. It's like inheriting an office space without the drama of a long-term commitment.

There are many types of sub-leases: long-term vs. short-term, furnished vs. unfurnished. The optionality of office space subleases is becoming increasingly attractive to teams. Office subleases are typically much shorter in duration compared to a traditional lease. This can be a perfect option for quickly growing teams who might be at risk of outgrowing their space withing a year or two. But what if you want the space for longer? Usually, sublessors can work with landlords to create a traditional lease or extend a sublease for another year or two.

Subleasing office space comes in many shapes and forms, all of which exist on Tandem. We have spaces that are furnished and month-to-month, as well as longer-term, fully-open subleases. If you’re interested in exploring more of them, check out subleases in San Francisco here.

3. Shared Office Space

If you’re looking for plug and play, turnkey office space that is flexible but still offers you space of your own, a shared workspace is perfect for you.

More and more companies are shifting to shared or split office space post-COVID as teams adopt hybrid working norms. Sharing workspace has become attractive because it can lower office rent by 30-50%, maintain a private office feeling, and bring back a socially fulfilling work experience through a filled office.

When it comes to sharing, there are many types. Some teams choose to divide a space by days of the week (e.g., I take Tuesday Thursday, you take Monday Wednesday Friday), while others split 50 / 50 every day of the week. We’ve seen all types work at Tandem, so it’s really up to what is right for you and your team.

Sharing office space can feel logistically complex and daunting, but that’s where we come in. We have hundreds of shared office spaces for you to choose from and we can handle all of the legal documentation.

If you’re interested in this, check out the shared workspaces we have available in San Francisco.

Time to Take Action, Goldilocks

So, dear coworker, as you embark on your office journey, remember that there are multiple routes to your destination. Traditional office leases, sub-leases, and shared office spaces all offer their own unique perks. But if you're looking for a partner in this transition, Tandem is here to make it smooth and budget-friendly. We specialize in sub-leases and shared office spaces that tick all the boxes for your growing business.

Transitioning offices can be more than just moving, it can be an adventure. The office is a space for collaboration and connection - an opportunity to build culture and bring your company’s identity to life! Wherever you go on your office space journey, we’re always here to help at Tandem - even if it isn’t with us.

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