Ah yes, the coworking space! In the last few years there has been a snowstorm of new coworking spaces popping up around London, and in most cities around the world. Flexible working has become the most sought after attribute of many jobs, especially in urban areas where work life balance is now seen as a necessity. If you’re self-employed and tend to work on your own or in coffee shops, then you might have been curious about checking out your local coworking hangout. If you haven’t done so yet, here are some reasons why coworking is just plain better than the traditional office.
Going out is the new staying in
And by that, I mean, ‘roaming’ is the new ‘dedicated desk’. To put it even more simply, many of us are leaving dreams of a corner office behind, and instead lusting after the ability to be as flexible as we like, with desks available to us wherever we decide to explore on any given day. The flexibility of coworking spaces takes away the rigid, pre-determined week and allows us to roam freely and work wherever we choose. Got something to drop off at the Post Office? No worries, head to a coworking space nearby. Want to meet your friend for lunch, but he’s only free for an hour in central London? Not a problem, find a desk nearby to spend your morning.
The lovely folks at Croissant let me try their app recently, and it’s ticking all the above boxes for me. I’ve been a member of a singular coworking space in the past, and while it can still be a great experience, it’s not ideal if you want to hop around the city, or visit a coworking spot abroad. Croissant has allowed me to jump onto any free desk in any nearby coworking space (even in other cities around the world, if I want), which for me is so important for my flexible work schedule. Many times I’ll have a meeting somewhere in the city, which means going to a specific coworking space is out of the question (hello 1.5 hour round-trip back!), so Croissant has really helped me be as flexible as my job needs me to be. Despite this being a sponsored post, I never talk about brands that I wouldn’t recommend to my friends, so I wouldn’t be shouting about Croissant if I didn’t absolutely love what they are doing and the service they offer for roaming freelancers like me. I highly recommend checking them out here if you need a coworking option that’s flexible for your personal schedule and location.
A more effective work day
You may find that working alone helps you be more efficient with your time and get more stuff done each day, but there is something to be said for being surrounded by and interacting with fellow workers. For many of us, working alone is great for a time, but it doesn’t hurt to schedule in a few days in the week where you are around other people, to up the effectiveness of your work day. An office environment has an energy about it, and helps you create the mindset that only comes from conversations and interactions with fellow workers, so coworking spaces allow you to have the best of both worlds: an office environment that’s more relaxed, and that you’re not bound by should you wish to leave and work solo for the day. With productivity at the heart of everyone’s work day, it’s always good practice to decide what makes you most effective at work, and often this means being around other people.
Emotional support from your business bestie on tap
Business besties are needed for when you have the inevitable breakdown trying to fill out your tax return, and when that day comes, it’s essential that you can both hop into your local coworking space and get your heads down to finish it. Emotional support is something that freelancers lack when they go solo, so even if you don’t have a business bestie, you can create the emotional support network you need by being social at a coworking space. They’re usually full of other business owners, freelancers and creatives like you, all trying to figure this stuff out on their own, too. These spaces are great for meeting and working alongside like-minded workers who can help you with anything that you may need, and who you can then help in return. Scratch each other’s backs and be the support you need.
Readily available networking opportunities
Similarly to above, sometimes it’s not about finding your freelancing soulmate, sometimes it’s simply about making the right contacts to help further your business, and that’s OK too. If you want to broaden your contact pool then coworking spaces very often offer dedicated events for meeting your fellow workers, encouraging you to make the contacts you need for your business and help each other out where you can. Whether it’s to meet your next client, do a skill swap or just to find out what the competition are up to, you can bet that your coworking space can help you set this up. If not, you’re in an environment surrounded by people who will most likely be interested in some kind of networking event, so don’t feel awkward about approaching people to do just that.
Less chaos, more structure
I don’t know about you, but left to my own devices I eat more snacks than any human being should. Working from home offers a plethora of distractions; “I should just do those dishes while I’m here”, “I’m almost done with this book so maybe I’ll read a few more pages”, “I haven’t finished every episode of Orange Is The New Black yet and time is getting on!” Structure is the key to getting a full day of work done, and sometimes you need to trick yourself into working at your most efficient instead of sitting around in your pajamas eating cereal.
I find the Croissant app great for this too, because once your monthly hours have been topped up, it counts down those hours, showing you how many you have left for the month. Seeing this ticking clock is great, as on several occasions it has made my FOMO kick in, and helped me stop procrastinating so that I make the most of the hours that I have left.
Lonely no more
Do you work alone because you get more done in a day? Many freelancers do, however there are some of us who thrive more on being around others because it is this sense of community that keeps us feeling connected to the outside world. In the past I’ve found myself going days without speaking to another human soul because I’m working from home and there is no one in the house. Though I love me-time and I’m perfectly content on my own, this can still get to me after a few days, so it’s great to have the option to pop into a coworking space and be around other people, even if you just smile and nod hello.
Want to find out more ways to tackle loneliness? The blog How To Make Friends has some great insight, so I highly recommend checking it out!
The traditional office environment in a large company can sometimes make you feel like a number, or a small cog in a big machine that doesn’t encourage our individual personalities, accomplishments or ideas. Instead, they seem to value anonymity, a head-down attitude, and working to targets that only serve the company’s goals. For some, this is absolutely fine, and they are happy to go about their day-to-day work without complaint. For others, this is a boring, quirk-stifling environment that suppresses our uniqueness and won’t help us produce our most creative and engaged work. Therefore, it’s no good.
According to the Harvard Business Review, “What matters the most for high levels of thriving is that people who cowork have substantial autonomy and can be themselves at work. Our advice to traditional companies who want to learn from coworking spaces is to give people the space and support to be their authentic best selves. The result will be employees who feel more committed to your organization, and are more likely to bring their best energy and ideas to the office each day.”
More research has been done in recent years to show the benefits of coworking spaces, and it’s clear to see that they can have a hugely positive impact on freelancers and solo workers. Are you a member of a coworking space, or would you like to be? Let us know below if you have found coworking spaces to be effective for you – we’d love to know!