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Everything you need to know about coworking

Coworking Terminology

There are a lot of terms for describing Coworking and people often use them interchangeably, so let's start off with some basics, to get us all talking the same language.

Coworking or Co-working

  • To hyphenate or not to hyphenate, that's... neither here nor there. Grammatically, hyphenated is correct, but more commonly the noble hypen is dropped.
  • Coworking is the generic, catch-all term for any use of office space where someone else is the headlease holder and you licence use of the space under a contract... see our article on Lease Versus Licence.
  • Coworking is what people say when they often mean "Serviced" or "Managed" offices or at places like WeWork.
  • Here at Rubberdesk we refer to Coworking Desks as desks that are rentable by the month in open plan offices amongst people
  • Coworking Desks tend to be permanent desks where you can leave your belongings at the end of the day, often with a cabinet you can store things in.
  • You'll bring your own devices, and leave them there overnight.
  • Coworking spaces bring a sense of permanence, without having to commit to a long tem rental agreement.
  • While Coworking desks tend to be rented by the month, most customers stay using them for years at a time, which does create great familiarity with "work mates" sharing an office.
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Hot Desking


  • While Coworking is rising in popularity, the opposite is true of Hot Desking, which, like a fad from the nineties has gone out of fashion.
  • Hot Desking provides no sense of permanence, as renters leave a clean desk at the end of each day.
  • Most Coworking Operators have dramatically reduced the numbers of Hot Desks available, to make room for a more reliable and manageable demand of permanent desks.
  • At Rubberdesk we offer very limited Hot Desk spaces. Purely based on demand.

Permanent Desks


  • Permanent Desks are just another way of saying Coworking desks that aren't Hot Desks.
  • Often in shared offices, you can leave your belongings, the desk is dedicated to you.
  • Available to be from month to month on a rolling basis.

Shared Offices


  • When a traditional business has spare office space, they can earn by renting out desks to other businesses by the month. These are shared offices.
  • Think of it like Airbnb for office space - where businesses earn from spare desk space instead of spare beds.
  • While Airbnb is a great analogy, there are a couple of key differences:
    • offices tend to be rented out for months and years at a time, and
    • every Host meets their Guest before they rent, to make sure they are a good fit for eachother.
  • Rubberdesk started out in a Shared Office with a Learning and Development Company, and we built it for traditional businesses sharing their spare office space.

Serviced or Managed Offices


  • Serviced Offices are private office spaces available to rent by the month, and without the leasehold agreement.
  • When you rent a Serviced Office, all the set up and installation is done for you - there's no refurbishment costs. It's a turnkey office solution that's just ready for you to go.
  • You'll take your devices, and you can furnish the space with your own furniture if you like, but this is often taken care of for you.
  • The same businesses that run Coworking Desk space provide Managed Offices, and this is where they tend to do most of their business.
  • The sweet spot for many operators is 3-5 desks in each private office, however the bigger players are now realising that large corporates want managed offices for teams of up to 100 staff.
  • Businesses such as Google, Amazon, DropBox and Microsoft all use Serviced and Managed Offices run by Coworking Operators.

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