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.

 

What are coworking spaces like?

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.Blueground offers fully-furnished, equipped and serviced apartments in some of the world's most sought after cities.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.

 

Other pros of coworking spaces

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. 

 

Should you get a desk at a coworking space?

coworking spaces Cropped view of creative students solving training problems of planning while standing at desktop with sketches and blueprints in university interior

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?

Membership

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.

Culture

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.

Networking

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. 

coworking spaces men sitting in seats speaking to each other

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.

 

The cons of coworking spaces

Coworking spaces have their benefits and their drawbacks. Here are a few cons of these areas:

  • Cost. For companies with no overhead, the cost of a coworking space can seem a bit affronting. Why pay a few hundred dollars a month for something you can probably access at home?
  • Noise. Coworking spaces can be noisy. After all, you’re not the only one there. While this is a problem noise-canceling headphones can easily solve, it’s still worth considering.
  • Contracts. Although most coworking spaces have contracts that are flexible enough to suit freelancers, some are a bit more iron-clad. Be sure to check yours before you dive in.

 

Alternatives to coworking spaces

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.

coworking space home office by windows in a blueground apartment

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?

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