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Wednesday, July 31, 2019

What is coworking, and why can it benefit your startup?

Coworking's popularity is on the rise. It is an alternative to working from home or in a private office, with many freelancers, solopreneurs, and startups deciding to choose dedicated coworking office space over other workspace options.

If coworking is a new concept to you, you may be wondering exactly what it is, how it can benefit you, and how much it will cost. In this article, we will attempt to answer all the questions that you may have about it. You can find the answer to any others you may have that we have not covered on the Bond Collective - Coworking And Office Space Blog.

What is coworking?
In a nutshell, coworking happens when a variety of individuals and businesses share the same workspace. In most cases, a dedicated coworking space is made up of a large common area with desks and seating areas, where people can all work on their own projects under the same roof. The spaces also usually provide a range of shared amenities and facilities, such as meeting rooms, kitchen areas, and outdoor spaces. Some even offer private spaces that can be hired out. Business essentials, such as high speed wifi, are usually included within the price. Sometimes, extras such as printing and scanning and beverages are included in the cost as well.

Why is coworking so popular?
Working for yourself has so many benefits, and working wherever you want is one of them. Many people love that they can work from the comfort of their home, in bed if they like, wearing whatever they want. Some people like the hustle and bustle of somewhere like a coffee shop, while some feel the need to be somewhere a little more structured and professional. Of course, there is no right or wrong way to work, but for many people, coworking spaces offer the perfect transition between working for yourself and having colleagues around you. It also provides many benefits that your home or your local coffee shop cannot provide, such as rooms for meeting clients in and superfast internet access. It also provides a barrier between work and home - as many startup business owners know, your professional life can very quickly take over your home life, especially in the early days, and that little bit of physical distance between the two can be helpful. It also allows you to maintain face to face contact with peers and a sense of community with other entrepreneurs, even if they are not in the same industry as you. It can be very lonely sometimes, so having the chance to chat with someone in the same boat as you over a coffee in the communal kitchen can be incredibly important.

You may be wondering what the benefits of hiring a coworking space over leasing your own private space are, and that mostly comes down to cost and flexibility. When you are looking to lease your own office, you are usually tied into a contract of a minimum of a year. As well as paying for the space, you have to pay for all the other bills that come with it - gas, electricity, water, internet, etc., as well as providing the furniture.  If you do want to give up the space, you have to give them a long period of notice and go through the hassle of moving your belongings and canceling everything. With a coworking space, you are not usually tied in for more than a month at a time, and in your monthly payment to them, everything is covered - furniture, utility bills, internet, etc.

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

Not to mention that the advancement of modern technology has made coworking super easy. With cloud-based software and portable smart devices, crucial tools such as files, programs, emails, and calls can be accessed just about anywhere with an internet connection.

In practice, this means entrepreneurs no longer need to stay glued to their home computers, and businesses no longer need to run offices kitted out with dedicated equipment. Instead, employees can operate effectively and productively using their own devices in any wifi-connected workspace.

Of course, coworking is not just for new entrepreneurs and startup businesses. Many businesses enjoy coworking so much that they decide to stay in a coworking space, even when they have the means to move to their own office block. In fact, plenty of global firms can be found with their own dedicated rooms – or even entire floors – in coworking spaces. It is a smooth transition when you are expanding. When there are just two or three of you, you may not have the need for an office of your own, but coworking spaces allow you to work together, and to continue to expand until such point you want to get a dedicated office space of your own - or not, as the case may be!

Why do people thrive in coworking spaces?
We have looked at the more practical benefits of coworking, but let us now take a look at why people who work in this sort of space tend to thrive.

They have more job control: Some coworking spaces are accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This means that people can decide whether to put in a long day when they have a deadline or can choose to take a long break in the middle of the day to go to the gym or other necessary appointments. They can choose whether they want to work in a quiet space so they can focus, or in a more collaborative area with shared tables where interaction is encouraged. It also allows them to have some form of structure in their professional lives. Too much autonomy and freedom can actually cripple productivity because people lack routines. Coworkers reported that having a community to work in helps them create structures and discipline that motivates them. The flexibility that coworking spaces can offer is one of the main draws of it.

A greater sense of community: Working in a coworking space can make many people feel like they are part of a community. Connections with others are a big reason why people pay to work in a communal space, as opposed to working from home for free or renting a nondescript office. Each coworking space has its own ethos and vibe, and the managers of each space go to great lengths to create a unique experience that meets the needs of their respective members. However, it is important to remember that socializing isn’t compulsory. People who work in the space can choose when and how they interact with others. They are more likely to enjoy discussions over coffee in Starbucks because they went to Starbucks or that purpose – and when they want to be left alone elsewhere in the building to focus on their work, they are.

Many businesses are also trying to enable more connections, helping people to interact and build community beyond work meetings. Coworking spaces are one place to look for guidance, as many regularly offer networking events, training programs, and summer events, as well as the chance to bounce ideas off one another and learn from one another ina more informal way.

Increased levels of productivity: We all know how difficult it is sometimes to get yourself motivated and into work mode when you are at home. The TV can be a distraction, the housework and laundry, children, and people often drop in on you, assuming you are able to give up your time because you are at home.  When you are working in a dedicated office space, with little other in the way of distraction, it can mean for much more productivity.

If you want more discipline and structure, an improved work performance, a better network of people, and the opportunity to gain more qualified leads, a coworking space is definitely an excellent option for you.

Take the time to go out and find a coworking space that fits you. If you locate one that does, join it and reap the benefits it provides.
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