Coworking, Coworking, Coworking!
Compared to 2010 when we saw just a few Coworking spaces around the world, this concept has expanded vastly in the last few years. Moreover, it’s expected to grow at least twice in the next 3 or so years to an unprecedented number of Coworking spaces available around the world.
If you are not familiar with the concept of Coworking, you may be missing out on something that can benefit your startup in many ways; so let’s get you familiar with the concept before I jump into uncovering those awesome ways to benefit from Coworking and help grow your business vastly.
–Image shows Workplace One Coworking Office Space–
Coworking Concept is a new take on commercial real estate office space leasing. You must be familiar with the traditional ways to lease commercial real estate: you walk by an empty space somewhere on the central street of your city and see a large “For Lease” sign; you would know that that space is for lease, and you would also know that if you had a startup, you would never be able to afford that space because a space like this, downtown, would cost you an arm and a leg. Well, Coworking is changing that. While large and established businesses, or those businesses that rely on their brick and mortar location may still need to lease an office space like that, you with your startup likely still cannot afford it.
And what situation do you find yourself? You probably still have a regular job and have to show up at your work every day where you work for 8 hours. Then you leave your work, go home and start working on your startup. If you have a comfortable quiet office space at home, you are one of the few lucky ones: consider your problem solved. However, there are tons of us who do not, and we end up working either at Starbucks or try to use Library resources to our advantage. If you are one of the “unlucky” us, then you will be familiar with all of the nuances of working in public places: noise, distractions, spilled coffee, trips to the fridge, and that bed at your house that just wants you to lie down and fall asleep…
Now how is Coworking going to help you in this situation? First off, understand what Coworking is.
So, what is Coworking?
Wikipedia defines Coworking as “a self-directed, collaborative, flexible and voluntary work style that is based on mutual trust and the sharing of common core values between its participants.” Coworking offers an opportunity to the likes of you and I to go and rent an office space that is suitable to our needs and at the time that works for you: be that a dedicated desk somewhere in a professional office environment, a floating desk where you can walk around and sit wherever you feel like, a collaboration area where you can brainstorm with those like-minded, or even a private office if you need to enclose yourself in the 4 walls and spend some time calling your clients. Some Coworking space locations go as far as offering podcast or video recording studios that literally eliminate all outside noise. And that is not all! There are even creative spaces where you can create your artistic masterpieces with your friends/band/group.
Coworking is cool, and in recent years it has also become this trendy thing to do. You should see some of those spaces that are offered out there! Some of them look like well-decked lounges with all the lighting fixtures, artistic centerpieces, and other cool things!
Anyway, without further ado, let’s explore how using a Coworking space can benefit your startup, and what you can expect when you delve into the world of shared office space.
Coworking Offers Professional Environment
You have probably tried to work from home. You are lucky if you live alone or have a dedicated office. The majority of us do not have such luxury, and thus are subjected to constant distractions. You see, at home there is that fridge that has the snacks, there is the TV, there is your bed after all, and all of these things kind of sit at the back of our minds teasing us all the time. Then there are family members, pets, kids… you name it! All of these things will effectively prevent us from being productive. Same argument goes against using coffee shops like Starbucks. You will often see startup owners like you and I working away on their laptops there, but just because the coffee shop’s atmo is not really supportive of mental and creative work, I always wonder how much work they can actually achieve there. And wait till that coffee gets spilled onto the keyboard! Ouch!
Coworking spaces, on the other hand, offer you a distraction-free professional work environment where you can truly concentrate on the task at hand. Whatever you need to do, you can always find a Coworking space that suits your needs. If you need to record a podcast, get a podcast recording studio; if you need to contact your clients, get a private office; if you need to collaborate with your team, get a meeting room of a few floating desks to sit nearby! Working in the right environment will help you effectively achieve your goals.
Coworking Offers Flexibility to Work on Your Own Schedule
If you have a regular job with a desk and a monitor, I highly doubt that your job lets you use their office space after hours so that you can work on your business! In that case, where do you go after work to work on your startup? Interestingly enough, this exact situation, as well as a global drive towards agile workspace, has created a huge demand for Coworking spaces with flexible hours! Now, you can choose the workspace that you need to work on your business at the hours that work for you! And the beauty of it is that a lot of them are open.. wait for it.. 24/7! This means that if you are ready, willing and physically able, you can actually use a Coworking space all night.
Coworking Offers Access to Like-Minded Professionals
Imagine being exposed to other professionals that are, like you, working on their next gig. They have entrepreneurial minds and have been digging around this subject for a while. We can assume that each one of them has been digging slightly from a different angle, and therefore may have a different perspective to yours. Wouldn’t it be great if you could meet these people in a professional setting and have a casual chat and perhaps discover new things from each other? The amount of insight you can get from such interactions has immense potential! How much could you learn if you talk to a different person every day during your coworking hours! Phew!
Coworking Offers Vibrant Community Experience
The latest Coworking trend is Community building. Lost of these hubs concentrate on gathering hundreds of fans like you who would be loyal to their Coworking space provider and would share the benefits of Coworking with peers by word of mouth. Imagine the things that they would do to instill that community sense and your loyalty! Some go to such lengths as to create partnerships with customized tea beverage companies – all to offer that super special experience for you unique to their Coworking Space! Have you had tea with your name written on it yet? In the end, through the word of mouth (you sharing with your friends for example), the community grows, and the number of Coworkers becomes such that it is one big family! Now that is community building. Can you visualize the benefits of being part of such a community? Forget about depression and lonely evenings at home, and welcome a sense of total belonging.
Coworking Offers Low Budget Options
Last but not least, if you are working on a startup, you probably have a lean budget. Lean budget means a small budget. Many lean startups start with $500 out of their own pocket for MVP development! Is that you? And a small budget means… well… no money for an office. And oh, wouldn’t you love to have a desk in a professional environment where you can have high-speed wifi, free coffee and endless opportunities to connect? This is where the beauty of Coworking comes into play. With Coworking, you always have many options. Got $15 on hand? Get a hot desk for an hour to finish that code. Got $50 on hand? Get a dedicated desk for an hour to finish that code. Need a meeting with your team of 5? Get a meeting room for a few hours and split the cost! Having an office space does not have to hit your pocket. And you don’t have to be stuck in coffee shops or the library for the rest of your life.
All in all, Coworking is very beneficial to Startups as it offers a multitude of great things that startups need to succeed. Choose your own working times anytime throughout the day and even overnight if you need to; collaborate with other professionals and build your network of like-minded people which will make it much easier for you to find the skills you may require for your business, work in a professional environment without unnecessary distractions, and save your money to be invested directly in your startup, instead of office space!
Have you tried Coworking yet?