Coworking is a relatively new concept, the word only having been in use since around 2005. At this point in time, we’re starting to see a lot of coworking spaces pop up all over the globe and the industry is growing to the point where we can’t ignore it.
What is coworking? What is the industry about? Is it going to last? And how can you get started?
In this post, we’ll define what coworking is and talk about some simple tips for finding and choosing a coworking space near you.
What is coworking?
First, what is coworking? Coworking is the act of working together in a common area without necessarily working in the same industry or for the same company.
Who works this way? Freelancers, entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, corporate executives and executive teams, small business teams, remote workers, and more flock to coworking spaces to work with/among others, even if they’re working alone.
Coworking offers entrepreneurs, startup founders, business teams, and freelancers a new, fun way to work. In the age of remote workers and virtual offices, being able to come together and work is a beneficial thing that seems to be driving a rise in productivity, company culture health, and profits.
What is a coworking space?
A coworking space is the common area in which people meet up to work.
A coworking space doesn’t have to be leased or owned office space; a friend’s apartment where you all work from your laptops could be considered a coworking space, too.
However, for the purposes of this article, we’ll focus on public coworking spaces.
How do I start coworking?
First, you need to find the right coworking space. It needs to be local, match your working philosophies, offer the type of room or space you’ll need (soundproof, meeting room, etc.), and be operated by friendly, professional people. If amenities are a factor for you (and you know they are), make sure you do your research there as well.
Don’t be afraid to give different spaces a try or feel tied to one option right away–there is no obligation, and it will help you make the right decision once you’ve seen the vibe at several spaces.
Next, it’s time to get your priorities and strategy straight. That’s right, before you even go to work at your coworking space, you need to figure out exactly what you’ll be doing there. Coworking spaces can be hubs of creativity and movement, but they can also be productivity traps.
Plan on how much time you’ll need to spend working to make your membership worth it. Figure out if you’ll need a private room away from others or if you’d like to work in closer quarters. Understand how often your desk is available to you each week based on the plan you chose.
Finally, all you have to do is bring your supplies and show up! Don’t feel pressured or compelled to make friends or connections right away, but it’s important to mingle with others and share a little about yourself and what you’re there to do.
Part of what makes coworking so valuable for entrepreneurs and startup founders is that they can develop new connections and potential partners, employees, or contractors simply by speaking up at the space.
Is coworking going to last?
The coworking industry has recently come under fire for uncertain projections about the industry’s future.
Critics are unsure if coworking is new way to work or just a fad because of the influx of remote workers.
However, some of the industry’s biggest companies, like WeWork, have released projections that say the interest won’t fade over time, but get stronger.
Some coworking spaces have faced criticism for putting too much focus on lavish amenities at their facilities. It’s hardly a black and white issue, as many coworkers really enjoy the special benefits they get when they work from one of these spaces and have come to associate coworking with those kinds of bonuses: Starbucks coffee, beer on tap, shuffleboard courts, huge TVs, rooftop gardens, and more.
How can a new space open without offering these amenities and still compete with the spaces who do?
What do you think about coworking? Will you give it a try to see if it’s right for you and your business?
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