The Ultimate Guide to Co-working Spaces
Working from home is ideal for many of us but it can become very boring and drab over time. Coffee places are often great places to work in as they are usually lively and filled with people, but you cannot afford to spend more than an hour or two there. So what is the solution if you cannot afford to dish out a substantial amount of money for renting an office?
In this article, we will explore 1) an introduction to co-working spaces, 2) reasons why renting a co-working space is a great move for new entrepreneurs, and 3) how to find a great co-working space: the ultimate 10-step guide.
INTRODUCTION TO CO-WORKING SPACES
You may not have heard about co-working spaces before, but they have become an emerging trend in the US ever since they originated in European countries a few years ago. In this article, we will discuss everything related to co-working spaces, the benefits and the ways you can find one in your area.
First, let us discuss what a ‘co-working space’ is all about. Co-working refers to a shared working environment like an office. However, individuals working in the office are not hired by any organization and they work independently. This type of setup is mostly preferred by professionals who work at home but want to increase their productivity and work in a less isolated environment.
Ideally, the individuals working under the same roof share the same values and ideals that make it easier for them to share a space and work together peacefully. Isolation is something that most work-at-home professionals and freelancers feel from time to time, and renting a co-working space is the perfect solution for this problem.
If you are still not convinced how co-working spaces can be beneficial for budding entrepreneurs and freelancers, here are some statistics that you may want to consider.
- 68% of co-workers feel that working together helps them focus on work better.
- By 2020, more than 40% of the workforce will consist of freelancers, solopreneurs, independent contractors and temps.
- Almost 92% of those renting co-working spaces are currently satisfied with this kind of arrangement and prefer to work this way.
- 91% of co-workers agree that working together is a great way to interact with people from different fields and improves communication skills
- 70% of co-workers believe that working together independently under the same roof is much better than working from a cubicle in a jam-packed traditional office setting.
- Co-workers usually report a 50% increase in their income over time once they start working together.
As mentioned above, the co-working trend originated in Europe back in the nineties when co-working spaces officially opened as Schraubenfabrik in Vienna. The co-working trend soon became popular in the US, and by 2005 the first co-working space opened up in San Francisco. This association was the brainchild of Brad Nueberg, who thought that working at home decreased the productivity of the individual.
Co-working spaces are definitely here to stay; here is why:
- More and more people these days are into starting their own businesses, which is why co-working spaces are great. They are more cost effective and you get added benefits like Wi-Fi, access to a small kitchen, conference rooms and a fax. Budding entrepreneurs who have limited financial means can easily afford to rent a co-working space instead of punching above their weight and opting for a private office.
- The social aspect of co-working also adds value to the idea.
REASONS WHY RENTING A CO-WORKING SPACE IS A GREAT MOVE FOR NEW ENTREPRENEURS
More and more entrepreneurs nowadays prefer to save up on monthly costs by renting co-working spaces. Take a look at some of the great benefits that co-working spaces have to offer for budding entrepreneurs.
Connect with New People
Working together gives you a great networking opportunity. You get a chance to meet and connect with new people. We do not need to tell you how important networking is if you want to grow as a professional in the corporate world. Renting a co-working space will help you establish a good rapport as far as clients and personal and professional contacts are concerned. Who knows, the one sharing an office with you today could be your future business partner or investor!
A More Cost-Effective Option
Every penny you save today will help you expand your business venture in the future, which is why co-working is ideal. Renting a co-working space is a more cost-effective option because you get to split the rent with flexible monthly or yearly contracts. But that is not all; you get access to all necessary amenities like conference rooms, Wi-Fi, fax machines, printers, etc.
Simply put, the overhead costs of operating out of a co-working space are lower while you can rent a place in a better location and share costs with your co-working partner.
Higher Chance of Collaborations
What if we told you, you could take advantage of your co-worker’s unique skill set and outrun your competition? Yes, when you work together, the chances of collaborating and achieving success automatically increase. You and your co-worker can offer expert advice in your respective fields and help take your businesses to greater heights.
When two or more people from different backgrounds meet and work together, success is almost guaranteed because you have more knowledge and a unique set of skills to tackle every hurdle that comes your way.
The Motivation Factor
Freelancers and work-at-home professionals experience boredom and isolation when they work from home. This results in low productivity and leads to de-motivation. However, working in a professional environment keeps productivity and motivation in check. More than 50% of professionals prefer to work at co-working spaces instead of their home offices because it allows them to interact with people, while the professional environment motivates them to work diligently.
This point relates to the one above. Working from home sure seems like a more convenient option but it often has major disadvantages. Achieving work-life balance becomes a problem and focusing on work is not possible because of constant distractions. Laziness creeps in and you feel like sleeping through the day instead of handling work more professionally.
When you rent a co-working space, it automatically motivates you to work harder when you see other professionals focusing on their work to achieve success.
New Ideas from a Different Industry
More often than not, coming up with unique and creative ideas is difficult for many professionals. However, when you find yourself surrounded by professionals coming from different backgrounds, you get more ideas for running your business successfully. Also, your fellow co-workers might help you out with implementing the new idea and turning it into a reality.
It is indeed true that diversity promotes creativity by giving one fresh new perspective on things.
Flexible Leasing Terms
Most co-working spaces are not only affordable but offer flexible leasing terms as well so you won’t have to commit for any longer than you want to. You can choose between monthly and yearly contracts depending on your business needs.
All Office Amenities under One Roof
As discussed earlier in the article, shared costs and access to necessary amenities can really help new entrepreneurs work efficiently and save up money at the same time. You will not have to worry about arranging a conference room, Wi-Fi, fax machine, kitchen, etc. Having all office amenities under one roof at a co-working space is just perfect if you are looking for a more cost-effective option to run your business smoothly.
Gain and Borrow Unique Skills
Working together is great for you and your fellow workers, too, because you all can help each other by sharing your unique skills. They say two heads are better than one, and this is especially true when it comes to running a business successfully because it makes you see things from a different perspective and focus on every aspect of the business.
What better way is there to do this by reaching out to your co-workers for an expert opinion on matters that you find confusing?
HOW TO FIND A GREAT CO-WORKING SPACE: THE ULTIMATE 10-STEP GUIDE
Whether you are a budding entrepreneur, freelancer or work-at-home professional, here is a ten-step guide that will help you find the perfect co-working space.
Step 1: Identify Your Market
Do not try to become everything all at once because it will leave you nowhere. The best way to find the perfect co-working space is to do thorough research and identify your market. You can do this by having a clear understanding of your prospective audience and select a niche to build on the basis of industry, scale, business maturity, culture, location, age, demand prospects and value.
Remember, if the co-working space you have chosen loses sight of its target market, its identity will be lost in translation.
Step 2: Location Is Everything
Naturally, location is the top priority when you buy a new house; the same rule applies to finding great co-working spaces. Once you have done thorough research on the target market, it is time to plan on where to set up your new office. Also, do an independent survey to learn more about your competitors in the area so you can find a place accordingly. There is no point in setting up an office in the wrong place if the demand is unsustainable. Here is a great list of co-working spaces in the US.
Step 3: Pay Attention to the Interior
The first and only thing that anyone who enters your new co-working space will notice is the interior and furnishings of the office. So make sure the place you choose to work is tidy and the fixtures and furniture provide a sense of professionalism. However, the interior is not essentially everything when it comes to finding the perfect co-working space.
The place you choose must also be consistent with the principles and core values of the business as well as the target market.
Step 4: Go for Branding
The name, marketing material, logo, and digital identity of the business is essential for its growth and success, so do not be complacent as far as branding is concerned. Make sure you decorate your new co-working space in line with the logo and core values of the business before you post pictures of your office on social media.
Step 5: Community and Culture Are Critical Elements
The main difference between a shared co-working space and an empty office space is community. The key element that attracts people is branding, but community and culture are what make them stay. When looking for a co-working space, make sure you pick one that promotes community bonding based on cultural traits, common values and a set of house rules that are not too overbearing.
Step 6: Events and Education
Events help entrepreneurs and professionals to market their space to others in the community who might not recognize themselves immediately as member material. The nature of all the events you organize must be aligned with your brand in order to entice your market. If your co-working space promotes public professional services like lawyers, accountants and bookkeepers, then you can solidify your standing as a public practice co-working space easily by choosing topics that focus on how to maximize tax returns.
Step 7: Music for Better Productivity
Background music may not be the norm in many offices but when you are working in a shared work environment, you can bend the rules a little. Instead of working in a dull environment, you can lighten the mood and increase your productivity by playing some music at an appropriate volume. The music will boost your mood, keep you from getting bored and help you get the work done faster than usual.
Step 8: Necessary Amenities
Co-workers primarily choose to rent co-working spaces because they offer a limited set of amenities that are essential for running a business successfully. When weighing the pros and cons of selecting a co-working space, make sure you pick one where all the necessary amenities are provided like Wi-Fi, conference room, fax machine, kitchen, etc.
Step 9: Convenient Sign Up, Lease and Billing Terms
In this day and age, flexibility is just what everyone needs. Sign up for a co-working space that offers simple registration, billing and leasing terms. This will go a long way because you will not have to commit for longer than you want to. This is great for budding entrepreneurs and professionals who have great plans for their business in the future and do not want to be tied down.
Step 10: Pricing and Flexibility
Last but not the least; picking a suitable co-working space depends on pricing and flexibility. The reason why co-working spaces exist is to promote flexibility and affordability. Pick a co-working space that offers flexible billing terms and contracts so you never have to worry about being stuck there longer than you need to.
Now that we have discussed all the major mention-worthy advantages and tips for renting a suitable co-working space, we hope you find one that is the best for you and your business.