Showing up to the office at 9am on a Monday and having to endure another week of laughing at your boss’s lame jokes, listening to Karen’s over-enthusiastic stories about her Labradoodle (with accompanying visuals), and watching Phil pick his nose when he thinks nobody is looking, has the appeal of trimming your toenails with a lawnmower; and yet, here we are.
While the daily grind is a way of life for some people, others are afforded the luxury of not only deciding who they work with and when, but also where they choose to work from, with many self-starters now opting to rent an office rather than work from home. The concept of a shared office space is not a new one, but it is fast becoming a game-changer for freelancers and entrepreneurs, alike. In fact, the popularity of office sharing has experienced such rapid growth that each year since 2006, the number of co-working spaces has doubled globally. In 2012, co-working spaces in Australia alone increased by 156 per cent.
So the question must be asked: why? What is it about co-working spaces that has hordes of independent workers voluntarily returning to the office environment? We’ve done the research and compiled a list of pros and cons for why you would join a co-working space.
Just because you have no one to answer to but yourself, doesn’t mean you can afford to slack off. We all struggle to find motivation from time to time, but when you’re self-employed, losing motivation can mean the difference between celebration drinks on a Friday for landing that major contract, or having baked beans on toast. Again.
Having other self-starters around can help keep your inspiration and enthusiasm high. By sharing your goals with others, you’ll be held accountable for your progress.
We’ve all heard the saying: It’s not what you know, but who you know, and for this reason nothing beats good old fashioned networking with face-to-face interactions. One of the biggest challenges self-starters face is making the right contacts; but shared office spaces encourage connections by working in a communal environment.
Being surrounded by these like-minded people can help you make valuable business contacts, build your brand through word of mouth, and provide an opportunity for collaboration.
Working for yourself most definitely has its advantages, but working by yourself – not so much. Workplace loneliness is a real thing. Not to mention the crippling self-doubt that many of us experience when we venture into the daunting world of entrepreneurship.
Co-working spaces are the perfect community centre to cultivate the entrepreneurial spirit, and connect you with colleagues who also understand the unique challenges you face as a self-starter.
Because shared office spaces are buzzing with entrepreneurial spirit, inspiration is everywhere. Home offices can be dull and isolating, which restricts the flow of creativity.
Another benefit to office sharing is having the opportunity to bounce ideas off other entrepreneurs. It can sometimes take a considerable amount of time and energy to find solutions to our problems. But, being in a collaborative environment means you are working alongside experienced professionals who can offer practical suggestions or solutions to your issue.
Co-working spaces are more conducive to creativity in terms of inspiration, motivation, and innovation.
Networking is one of the factors that makes co-working spaces so desirable. However, it also has the potential to cause distractions. With so much going on around you, it can easily become distracting and decrease productivity. Particularly if you’re in need of long, undisturbed periods for creative work, like writing or coding.
You can combat this by simply determining the best environment for the task at hand; if you find you’re constantly being distracted, it might be time to consider completing the task elsewhere. Remember, you’re there to work: keep the casual socialising to scheduled breaks.
In a possible – but unlikely – scenario, you may find yourself sharing the same space as your direct competition (awkies!) This could potentially make it difficult to keep your products or ideas under wraps and stay focused on your business goals.
But this may not necessarily be a bad thing. Be strategic, your competitor can become your ally; and if you’re both talented and have similar goals, then collaborating with them may result in positive outcomes such as a new client or a merger. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.
It’s surprising to learn just how inexpensive it is to rent an office, but it is an extra expense nonetheless. Although co-working spaces offer a great deal of perks (particularly in serviced office spaces), your costs will still be higher than running your business from home. This could potentially be a financial risk if you fail to budget carefully.
Make sure any decision regarding your business thoroughly researched before forking out the cash; but with the demand for co-working spaces continually on the rise, it’s probably safe to say that office sharing is here to stay, and is the future of the entrepreneurial workforce.
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