How to Make a Business Case for Coworking: 5 Tips to Help You Prepare

According to a recent McKinsey study, “58 percent of employed respondents—which, extrapolated from the representative sample, is equivalent to 92 million people from a cross section of jobs and employment types—report having the option to work from home for all or part of the week.” It looks like working from home is an option that’s here to stay for many employees, but after two years of this routine, some folks may be looking for a change in scenery. The desire to work in a new environment may especially be the case for those who live in small New York City apartments or who share an apartment with other remote workers.

Of course, there’s the option of finding a café or bookstore to work out of, but that’s not entirely secure and leaves you vulnerable to too many factors. That’s why coworking is a reliable, modern approach to remote working. It offers a firm boundary between work and personal time; stable high-speed internet; a dedicated workspace; colleagues and community; and space for meetings and calls—without the drawbacks of the typical office—commuting; office politics; and the lack of control over your own schedule.

A coworking space offers the best of both worlds: an intentionally designed office space with all the tools you need at your fingertips and a network of colleagues to engage with. There are over 5 million coworkers worldwide, and if you’re interested in being one too, you may need to make the business case to your employer to see if a stipend is available to cover some of the expenses. This is not a small ask, so we’ve provided some steps to help you present the case.


5 Tips to Help You Pitch a Coworking Stipend or Budget to Your Employer

(1) Determine What You Need from Your Work Environment

Look at what’s missing. Do you have enough space in your apartment? Do you need a dedicated space outside your home? Occasional space for meetings? A private space for heads-down work? If you’re an extrovert, do you need to be around people? If you’re an introvert, do you need to flee your family?

(2) Get Clear About What You Need

Once you’ve identified what’s missing, you’re ready to articulate how a coworking space will fill those gaps. Here are some common needs and how a coworking space can help:

  • Need clear boundaries between work time and family time. “A dedicated coworking space allows me to have a clear separation between work and home. When I work outside the home, I am more efficient, productive, and happy. That makes me a better employee and a happier person.”
  • Need social interactions and engagement. “With a network of colleagues, a coworking space will help me be more engaged and creative.”
  • Need access to proper technology and tools. “Like many New Yorkers, I don’t have a separate room for my office, and the noises and distractions of city life interfere with my work. I will be much better off in a coworking space, with a desk of my own, booths for Zoom calls, and access to space for in-person meetings.”
Make The Business Case for Coworking

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(3) Make the Business Case, Including the Costs and Benefits of Coworking

The key to making a compelling economic argument depends on three factors: financial cost, opportunity cost, productivity, and quality-of-life.

For example, at Brooklyn Creative League, memberships to work at a desk start at $250 and office memberships start at $1200, coworking is an affordable alternative to conventional offices and work from home.

You will need to quantify that working at a coworking space will help you be more productive. Here’s a simple formula: Take your annual salary and divide it by 2000. This will give you a rough estimate of your hourly pay. (If you make $100,000, your hourly pay is $50/hr.) Once you’ve calculated your hourly pay, you can make the case: If a coworking space costs $500/mo, I need to increase my productivity by 10 hours per month to break even. If you are saving two hours per day by avoiding the opportunity cost of commuting time, you’re gaining an extra ten hours per week of efficiency–a 4x return on investment. (For professionals who bill by the hour–architects, lawyers, engineers, consultants–a few extra billable hours will cover the expense in quick order.)

(4) Frame the Ask

Here are a few guidelines for making the ask. First, be gracious. Start by showing that you appreciate your job, your employer’s consideration, and the opportunities afforded you. Second, remember that employers are trying to figure this out, too, so make it clear that you want to work with them to find a solution that works for them. Finally, take the initiative. Employers love it when employees come to them with solutions, not problems. If you make a good case, you may very well have given your employer a solution to your challenges–you may have given them a solution for the company’s challenges.

(5) Make the Ask

Download our email template for making the ask. It’s easily customizable for you to use either as an email template or as talking points for your conversation. Just make it your own! We recommend making your request sooner rather than later, so your boss has time to work it into their next budget.


Got questions? Need additional support? Want to bounce some ideas off us? We’re happy to helpno strings attached. Generosity is a core value and an ongoing practice for us at Brooklyn Creative League. We welcome every opportunity to share our knowledge (13 years in the business) with anyone, whether they are a customer or not. Get in touch with Neil Carlson: neil at brooklyncreativeleague {dot} [com] or give us a call at 718.576.2104.