Co-working is a relatively new initiative which is gaining a lot of traction with self-employed people and small business owners, especially in the creative and tech spaces. Coworking is something that allows people to benefit from the convenience and organizational structure of working in an office, without the expense that would come from having a full-time, dedicated space.
A lot of self-employed people like co-working because they feel that working from home leaves them isolated and makes it hard for them to have proper work/life balance. If you do not have colleagues to talk to and bounce ideas off, you can quickly become lonely and frustrated, or lose motivation in your work. Some people find that they are less productive when they are working from home too, because they do not have any clear time when they should start working, and they are surrounded by distractions in the form of household chores, entertainment, and neighbours or relatives that believe that they can ‘just drop in’ at any moment. Having an office space gives you some distinction between your work and your home life, and allows you to say “I am at work now and must focus” more clearly.
The community can benefit from co-working spaces because they offer lots of chances for networking. You get to meet many other people working in different businesses so that you can discuss your ideas with those people, and perhaps find new clients or service providers to work with. An affordable co-working space can become a cultural and economic hub in a local area. Since it is cheaper than an office, it frees up a large chunk of your monthly budget and could be the difference between someone newly self-employed getting their business off the ground or struggling because of cash flow issues.
Some co-working spaces charge a monthly membership fee, some an hourly or daily drop-in rate. There are even some spaces that are free for occasional use. If you have never tried co-working before and aren’t sure whether you would enjoy having to make a trip to an office every day, then try one of the drop-in services for a little while and see what you think.
Co-working is not for everyone. Some people find that they don’t like working with other people and that the hustle and bustle is distracting. Others, however, feed on the energy of being in a busy office and appreciate having access to amenities such as fax machines, photocopiers and high-speed internet whenever they need it. If your home office is not well-equipped, then having an office space that has everything you need is well worth it. So, why not check out a few shared office spaces, and look around for some incubators as well. Your business idea could be of huge benefit to the community in your area – creating jobs and giving you the economic freedom you need to live the lifestyle you have always hoped for. You just need to find a good place to get the work done.