The way we work has forever changed.
Co-working office space has become the fastest growing trend in commercial real estate. Also referred to as shared office space, co-working offers small businesses, entrepreneurs, and freelancers access to all the benefits of traditional office space (and more) without the cost of a lease. In fact, co-working spaces have recently caught the attention of larger corporations as well, who are expecting to trim down their office space and reduce expenditure, maintain agility and promote collaborative environments.
Yet despite the attraction of the shared office space business, co-working faces unique risks. By nature, these co-working companies typically allow access to an abundance of amenities not commonly found in regular office space (i.e. beer on tap, social activities, etc.). As a result, the emergence of co-working business operations brings the need for customized insurance solutions.
What Risks Do Co-Working Companies Face?
Here are some of the most common issues which arise for owners of shared-office spaces:
• Property Development/Construction: The build out of co-working spaces tends to be costly and extensive, ensuring each office is compliant with technological infrastructure as well as architectural plans. If something were to go wrong during a project, the financial loss could be devastating for a business that doesn’t carry adequate insurance. Whether it’s it is structural work or minor renovations, you MUST make sure the policy provides the right coverage.
• Data Breaches: Co-working spaces are known for convenience and amenities, one of them being free, reliable WiFi. Though, using a shared network creates other potential concerns. For example, hackers and cyber-criminals can access confidential information if proper security measures aren’t taken. Providing General Liability insurance is not enough, as Cyber exclusions do exist.
• Events: Co-working spaces often hold special events, classes, or conferences on their property. Depending on the situation, purchasing event coverage might be required. It might also be important to obtain liquor liability if there will be alcohol served on premises during the event.
• Equipment Theft: Computers, technology, appliances, office supplies, etc. These are all items or equipment in a co-working space that are utilized by its’ members. When you also factor in the constant flow of people in and out of the co-working spaces, there is also the potential for tools, supplies, or equipment to disappear.
There are no cookie-cutter solutions for a co-working insurance program.
So, whether you’re a business owner starting a new co-working venture, a business already managing multiple co-working offices or a real estate owner looking to convert a property, make sure you work with an experienced broker. Any questions, let’s talk.
Opinions expressed in this article are solely the author’s opinion, not intended to provide the reader with legal or any other professional advice. Should you need advice or opinion, consult with a qualified professional to address your specific needs.