If you’re a freelancer, self-employed, or a part of the gig economy, you’ve probably heard about coworking spaces. They are convenient shared locations where remote workers and in-person teams alike can set up shop. Coworking spaces have become incredibly popular in the U.S. in recent years.
While they sound great, it’s wise to go into a coworking space fully informed. With that in mind, here’s what you need to know about coworking spaces, their benefits and drawbacks, and the alternatives to getting an office at a place like this.
Each coworking space is as different as the people who use them. The space is dedicated to providing a professional environment for people who would otherwise work from home offices or coffee shops.Coworking spaces aim to establish a balance between community and focus, sociability and solitude. Most are relatively open concept and feature a series of desks or tables arranged in a large space. Many offer the perks of an office, such as free copying and faxing, a refrigerator full of snacks, a lounge area, standing desks, and ergonomic elements.
The people in coworking spaces come from all backgrounds and walks of life. Many of them are people who work together, either as part of a local or a remote team. Others are independent freelancers who share desk space and may collaborate together on certain projects. For small businesses, many coworking spaces offer ready-to-go private offices that mean you have a dedicated space, mailing address and expertly decorated conference rooms to boot.
Regardless, coworking spaces are great areas to meet other people, network, and enjoy some human interaction in what might otherwise be a very solitary day. For the budding entrepreneur, don’t underestimate the potential of expanding your network in person at a coworking space.
For some people, the idea of having a desk at a coworking space sounds fantastic. Workers who are operating out of small home offices or coffee shops typically like the idea of the community and accessibility of coworking spaces. So, what’s the deal with setting up shop at these areas?
Most coworking spaces require a membership fee to secure a spot. This fee varies from place to place, although it’s typically in the neighborhood of a few hundred dollars per month. Though in San Francisco, these fees can shoot up to $1400 per month. With this membership, users get benefits like a mailing address, use of all office facilities (conference rooms, video conferencing spaces, printing, copying, etc.), and access to the included snacks. While most membership agreements renew monthly and can be canceled at any time, this is always worth a second check.
The culture of coworking spaces varies depending upon who is using them and why. Most spaces allow users to purchase a monthly pass, which is popular among people who don’t actually need the space long-term but are working on a large project or another task that requires some professional equipment.
These people can and do change the culture of coworking spaces. As a general rule, people at these spaces will be professional, quiet, and focused. Most people are there to work, and it’s unlikely you’ll run into loud talkers or other such nuisances.
A big benefit coworking fans swear by is that these spaces offer an excellent opportunity for networking. Even if you’re not sharing a table with people in your exact field (although it’s likely that you will be), you’ll be working with and around plenty of people who can refer you to new clients, hook you up with new work, and generally help nudge your career along.
This networking benefit is massive, and shouldn’t be overlooked. Take Food Loft in Boston, for example, that focuses on empowering startups and individuals in the food space.
Coworking spaces have their benefits and their drawbacks. Here are a few cons of these areas:
If you don’t want to work in a coworking space, where will you work? There are several other options you can take advantage of. These include coffee shops, home offices, libraries, and traditional offices. While each of these spaces has its respective benefits and drawbacks, it’s up to you to decide which is most applicable to your business.
If you’re in town for temporary work and looking for a quiet place to get things done, it’s also worth checking out Blueground apartments. Blueground manages privately-owned apartments and decorates them to transform them into tranquil escapes for young professionals, temps, entrepreneurs, and families. Lease options are flexible and each apartment is managed, cleaned, and decorated by a professional team. What better place to get some things done?