As work styles and agreements have evolved, so has the flexibility of work. Many professionals now have the freedom to work from anywhere they choose. Though some like to work from home, many entrepreneurs find it beneficial to get out of the house and used shared workspaces.
A shared workspace, also known as a coworking space, is a physical work environment in which freelancers, startups, and small teams utilize the same office to get work done. These environments combine the best of both worlds—independence and collaboration—by offering a range of offerings. These include dedicated desks, shared desks, private offices, and even private office suites. Membership dues typically cover the rent of the space, as well as bonus amenities (like access to printers, copiers, coffee, and boardrooms).
Coworking spaces are now more than just a hot trend, and because of everything they have to offer, they are likely to be around for many years. If you choose to work in a shared office space, you can expect to enjoy some of the following perks:
There’s something powerful about rubbing shoulders with other people. In a coworking space, you’ll have the opportunity to work alongside other entrepreneurs who will sharpen your skills. You’ll also earn the right to interact with people from other specialties and professions. This will expand your ability to think outside the box (and may even allow you to pick up additional skills you wouldn’t have acquired on your own).
When working from home, it’s easy for things to get stale. In a coworking space, you’re given free rein to explore your creativity. It provides the perfect balance between working on your own and working with others.
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For many freelance entrepreneurs, self-discipline is the toughest part of the job. With nobody telling you to show up to work at a specific time or hand in a progress report by a particular date, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. A shared workspace adds a degree of structure and discipline to your work routine. With other people expecting to see you, there’s far greater accountability.
Shared workspaces almost always come with shared resources, amenities, and opportunities. This may include things like meeting spaces, copiers and printers, snacks and coffee, business mailing addresses, access to speakers, software, and office supplies. As an independent worker without access to the traditional perks that come with full-time employment, these resources are significant.
“A coworking space can only be what you make of it. And it can be so much more than just another place to get work done,” writes entrepreneur Kate Swoboda. “The potential for networking within a coworking space is one of the major advantages. When done right, this networking can be low-key and feel as simple as having a conversation around the water cooler with new friends.”
From casual conversations with the person at your shared workspace to formal networking events with speakers, there are countless opportunities to expand your network and make new connections. This benefit alone is worth the price of membership.