Some of you may already have a good idea of what coworking means. You may have had the pleasure of working in a coworking space in the past. For those of you that have never heard of coworking before or maybe have a general idea but want to know more, here is a brief explanation.
Coworking describes independent workers coming together in one place with other independent workers and working side by side. They don’t have to work for the same company or even be doing the same kind of work. Coworkers enjoy the social and collaborative environment that a coworking space can provide while still being able to do their own thing. Coworkers are mostly freelancers, remote workers, small business owners, artists, non-profits, contractors, and other professionals that have the freedom to work wherever they like.
Many independent workers end up working from home or finding a seat at a cafe or library to get their business done. This is all well and good for some. However sometimes one may feel isolated at home or surrounded by too many distractions like dishes, laundry, children or the too friendly cat who likes to sleep on your keyboard. Cafes can get you out of the house and around other people but you may still feel isolated. The seat by the outlet isn’t free when you go in or you may feel as though you need to buy a cup of coffee every hour you are sitting there using the free wifi. Another potential issue is the noise level when you are trying to take a call or the fact that it isn’t the best place to meet an important client.
A coworking space tries to bring the positives of being an independent worker together with the benefits of working alongside other people. Once you sign up and become a member you can grab any seat that is available and log into the high speed wifi. Coffee and snacks are included as well as printing and copying. Most spaces also include private offices and meeting rooms either for small groups, classes, conference calls or teleconferences. At these places you can meet a client for a private talk, step into the phone booth for a private conversation, be able to grab a coffee with a fellow coworker for a mid-day chat or lunch. You have the opportunity to reach out to other members and share your expertise with them and the greater community by giving talks, Q&A sessions, or classes and expand your knowledge base by attending other events.
Monthly rates of coworking spaces tend to be much lower than the typical cost of setting up and leasing commercial office space that you may not use full time. They provide workers with much more than just office space and office amenities. The greatest thing about coworking is the collaborative community that is created when people come together with a goal of working. People are surrounded by others that have experience, ideas, and goals. The community is created when coworkers open up to each other about their needs and strengths. Are you having a tough time getting past a part of your project? Maybe the person sitting next you just finished a project similar to yours and could give you a fresh idea. A coworking space is not just a table, chair and wifi. It is a way to plug in to the community and reach your goals through networking, expanding your skills through classes and lectures, and surrounding yourself with other professionals.