When thinking about places to work, most think about the traditional company office setting, while some prefer working from the comfort of their own home or at their local coffee shop. For small business owners, working from home has many benefits, but also has several drawbacks. It can be isolating, filled with distractions leading to low productivity, and may not be the most professional environment in which to meet people or have client meetings. Similarly, a coffee shop can be noisy, distracting, void of sufficient electrical outlets, or have slow Wi-Fi, and staying for longer than a few hours can be seen as loitering. On the other hand, renting an office can be expensive, risky and overwhelming for entrepreneurs who want to focus on building their business rather than worrying about fluctuating utility bills, office maintenance, and a leasing commitment that is usually five or more years.
What if you were to take the best of all of these places and blend them together? This is where a new type of work environment comes into play, and it’s called coworking. Coworking a style of work that involves a shared working environment while still maintaining independent activity. This vastly growing concept is seen as an innovative and dynamic way to work, providing the most accessible, flexible and professional environment possible at an affordable monthly rate.
Although it may have the same amenities of a regular office environment, a coworking space is unique because internally it consists of a community of individuals from a wide range of industries, companies and organizations with different professions and skillsets. These individuals can network and connect with each other within the same space; helping and supporting each other grow their own businesses. Coworking spaces typically employ full-time staff members to help facilitate these connections.
Coworking spaces are attractive to mobile workers, work-at-home professionals, independent contractors, start-up groups, freelancers, small businesses, and organizations because it provides a level of infrastructure typically found in an office without the costly overhead and multi-year lease agreements typically required for an office environment. A receptionist to greet guests, mail and printing services, Wi-Fi, meeting rooms equipped with the latest technology, kitchenette and washrooms, are just some amenities to look forward to in coworking spaces.
More than just a physical space, coworking spaces are created for the coworking community in mind to suit the needs of the members in the space. The floor plans of coworking spaces are designed to promote collaboration, with lounge areas and corridors meant to enhance the connections and interactions of the members within. Having a community of like-minded individuals working in the same space also helps to solve the problem of isolation that many freelancers experience while working at home, while at the same time letting them escape the distractions of home.
Carla Criminisi, Founder of Charles & Hunt
The Benefits Of Coworking
Coworking spaces usually have different pricing plans to fit the needs of their members. You can drop in a couple of times each week or use the space every day. As your business and budget grows, you can upgrade your workspace from a shared desk, to a desk that is dedicated to you, to a small or large office.
- Professional Environment
When you belong to a coworking environment, it often includes access to conference rooms and private meeting spaces where you can improve the credibility of your business meetings. Most spaces also have a receptionist to greet your guests, and coffee or drinks to offer your clients during a consultation or meeting.
- Cost Effective
Coworking spaces can be significantly cheaper than renting an office and have a much lower commitment level, usually month-to-month rather than a multi-year lease. Having an all-inclusive monthly cost also helps small businesses predict their monthly expenses and budget accordingly. Most spaces often allow people to test out their space without making any commitment whatsoever, to see if their community is the right fit.
- Social Atmosphere
Working from home can be isolating. Having a community of like-minded individuals working in the same space helps to solve that problem and lets you escape the distractions of home. It also makes the work atmosphere more enjoyable, and space you can look forward to coming to each day.
- Motivating Atmosphere
Increase your productivity and motivation to succeed by surrounding yourself with hardworking professionals.
- Work-Life Balance
Working from home can often make it difficult to separate personal from business work. Being in a coworking space will ensure you’re able to do your job in a distraction-free zone, and develop a more efficient work schedule and routine that fits your lifestyle.
- Community & Networking
The community of businesses within coworking spaces can prove to be a valuable source of new business, as well as a great opportunity to work collaboratively on projects. Having other like-minded, ambitious, forward-thinking entrepreneurs close by allows you to draw on the professional expertise of other members on issues relating to your business in an informal environment. Stumped on where to go next with a project you’re working on? It helps to have others nearby to bounce ideas off and see what their feedback and insights are.
- Events & Workshops
Most coworking spaces offer and host free events and workshops for members that often include guest speakers from the community or educational presentations from members within the coworking space. These events are a great way to gain insight and knowledge, meet other like-minded individuals, support the community, stay connected, and network and foster new business relationships.
- Tax Deductible
Amounts paid for coworking memberships are tax deductible.
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