What is a coworking space?
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What Is A Coworking Space? A Guide for Remote Workers

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If you’re a remote worker, hybrid worker, or freelancer, you may have heard about coworking spaces.

What is a coworking space? 

A coworking space is shared office space where people can work independently on a flexible basis

As a remote worker, I love the community feel that coworking spaces bring, and I’m aiming to share some of my favorite coworking spaces here on the blog, alongside places I’d love to visit. First, I think it’s helpful to know a little more about them, especially if you’re fairly new to remote or hybrid working. 

In this guide, you’ll discover:

  • Why coworking spaces are increasing in popularity
  • What amenities these spaces provide
  • The type of people you might see occupying coworking spaces

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What Is A Coworking Space?

A coworking space is a shared office space where individuals, typically freelancers, small business owners, and remote workers, can rent a desk or private office on a flexible basis. 

They’ve become an increasingly popular choice for people looking for a flexible and cost-effective alternative to traditional office spaces. These shared workspaces provide a community of like-minded professionals, in addition to amenities such as high-speed internet, printing, and conference rooms. 

The rise of coworking reflects a broader shift towards remote work and entrepreneurship. But beyond the practical benefits, these spaces also offer a sense of community and can provide a way to reduce isolation and increase networking opportunities. 

What is The Purpose of a Coworking Space?

The purpose of a coworking space is to provide a productive, collaborative, and community-orientated environment where people can come together to work independently while having access to amenities that you would typically find in a traditional office environment. 

It serves as a physical location for people to work, hold meetings and events, and collaborate with other professionals. 

What’s included in a coworking space?

A coworking space typically includes the following amenities and services:

  • Workspace – They typically provide a variety of workspaces, including shared desks, private offices, and dedicated workstations.
  • Internet – High-speed internet is normally included in the cost of a membership.
  • Meeting Rooms – Many spaces have dedicated meeting rooms that members can book for meetings, presentations, and other events.
  • Common Areas – There are often common areas, such as lounges, kitchens, and break rooms where members can relax and collaborate with others.
  • Office Equipment – You’ll normally find office equipment, such as printers, scanners, and copiers for members to use.
  • Administrative Support – Some spaces provide administrative support services like mail handling, reception services, and scheduling assistance.
  • Community – Most places foster a sense of community among members through events, networking opportunities, and other activities.
  • Additional services – Some may offer additional services like bookkeeping, legal advice, and marketing consulting.

The amenities and services on offer vary depending on the location and the provider. It’s always a good idea to check what’s included before heading out to work.

Who uses coworking spaces?

Coworking spaces are used by:

  • Freelancers – They’re a flexible and cost-effective alternative to working from home for freelancers and independent contractors.
  • Small Business Owners – Small business owners have a cost-effective alternative to leasing traditional office space and provide access to office amenities and networking opportunities.
  • Remote Workers – They’re a great option for remote workers who are looking for a dedicated workspace outside of their homes.
  • Entrepreneurs – Entrepreneurs can establish a physical presence for their businesses and access networking and collaboration opportunities.
  • Digital Nomads – They’re a popular choice for digital nomads, who can use them as a base of operations while traveling.
  • Startups – Startups can use them to save money on leasing traditional office space and gain access to a community of like-minded professionals.
  • Professionals – Many professionals, such as consultants, lawyers, accountants, and graphic designers, use them as a way to have a professional environment while working independently.

Overall, coworking spaces are used by a diverse group of people who are looking for a flexible, cost-effective, and collaborative alternative to traditional office spaces.

Where are coworking spaces located?

Coworking spaces can be found in a variety of locations. Here are some places where they’re typically located.

  • Urban areas like downtown business districts or trendy neighborhoods which provide easy access to public transportation and local amenities.
  • Suburban areas, such as business parks or other commercial areas, to provide a more suburban environment while still being easily accessible.
  • Office buildings which allow them to take advantage of existing infrastructure and amenities.
  • Converted buildings like former factories or warehouses, which can provide a unique and creative environment.
  • Campus-style setting to offer additional services, such as on-site cafes, gyms, and other amenities to its members.
  • Remote/Virtual, allowing members to access the community and resources online, and not requiring to be physically present in the same location.

The location of a coworking space can depend on the needs of the target demographic, and it’s important to consider factors like accessibility, parking availability, and proximity to public transportation when choosing the best place for you.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Coworking Spaces

Like many things in life, coworking spaces have pros and cons for those that use them. If you’re contemplating using a shared space, here are some aspects to think about. 

The pros of coworking spaces

Lower costs

One of the main benefits of coworking is the cost savings it provides, as it allows individuals and small business owners to rent a desk or private office on a flexible basis, rather than committing to a long-term lease or purchasing their own office space. 

Range of amenities

They normally provide a range of amenities, such as high-speed internet, printing, and conference rooms, which can be expensive for individuals and small businesses to maintain on their own.

Sense of community

Another important aspect of coworking is the sense of community that it provides. Shared spaces are designed to foster collaboration and networking opportunities among its members. This can be beneficial for freelancers and entrepreneurs who may otherwise feel isolated while working from home. They’re also a great way to meet new people and expand your professional network.

Productivity

Coworking spaces can be highly productive workspaces for people who are used to working in traditional office environments. Unlike home offices, shared spaces may have less distractions like television, home chores, or other commitments.

Flexibility

Coworking spaces offer flexible membership plans, allowing individuals and businesses to choose the type of space and services that best meet their needs. You can also simply pay-as-you-go with some companies. 

Access to events and workshops

Many coworking spaces organize events, workshops, and talks for their members, which can be a great way to learn new skills, meet new people and expand your professional network.

Location

Coworking spaces are often located in convenient and central locations, which can be beneficial for small businesses and individuals looking to establish a presence in a specific area.

The cons of coworking spaces

While coworking spaces offer many benefits, there are also some potential drawbacks to consider.

Distractions

If you find yourself easily distracted, you may find that shared workspaces prevent you from focusing, especially if you’re working on a task that requires a lot of concentration. Plus, they can be quite noisy when busy. 

Lack of privacy

Coworking spaces can be less private than traditional office spaces, as you may find yourself working in close proximity to others.

Limited control over the environment

As a member of a coworking space, you may have limited control over factors like lighting, temperature, and layout.

Limited sense of ownership

In a coworking space, you may not have the same sense of ownership and control over the space as you would in a traditional office.

Limited scalability

As your business grows, you may outgrow the space or services offered by the coworking space, and have to find another solution.

It’s important to consider these potential drawbacks when deciding if a coworking space is the right choice for you. Remember, some of these cons can be mitigated by choosing the right provider and location that caters to your specific needs.

The difference between coworking spaces and traditional office space

There are several key differences between coworking spaces and traditional office spaces. 

  • Flexibility – Coworking spaces offer more flexible membership options, such as month-to-month leases, while traditional office spaces typically require longer-term leases.
  • Cost – Shared spaces can be more cost-effective than leasing traditional office space, especially for small businesses and freelancers.
  • Scalability – Traditional offices tend to be more scalable, allowing businesses to expand or shrink their space as their needs change.
  • Security – Traditional office spaces usually provide some control over security measures, such as access to the building, and the storage of personal or business assets.
  • Ownership – You may find a stronger sense of ownership with traditional offices, while coworking spaces may feel more like renting a workspace.

Top Tips on How to Find The Best Coworking Space

So, how can you find the best coworking space for you? Here are some tips to help you find the right coworking space for your needs

Determine what you need

Before you start looking for a coworking space, it’s important to determine what your specific needs are. Consider factors like location, cost, available amenities and services, and the type of environment you are looking for.

Research your local options

Research different coworking spaces in your area to get a sense of what’s available. Look for spaces that fit your specific needs and budget, and consider the amenities of each space.

Check out the community

A sense of community and networking opportunities are often the best things about  coworking spaces. So, it’s important to see what the community is like, and if it’s the right fit for you. 

Take a tour

Once you’ve narrowed down your options, take a tour of the spaces you’re considering. This will give you a better sense of the atmosphere, layout, and amenities of each space. Most spaces are more than happy to show you around!

Consider the long-term

While it’s important to find a space that meets your immediate needs, it’s also important to consider the long-term. Think about whether the space will be able to accommodate your needs as your business grows.

Review policies and regulations

Make sure to review the policies and regulations of the space before signing up, such as the hours of operation, access to the space, and parking. These can be make or break aspects, especially if you have limits on car parking and access.

Check the technology

Make sure that the space has the technology infrastructure you need, such as high-speed internet, Wi-Fi, and other office equipment. They need to be reliable and fast enough to support your work.

Determine the layout

Consider the layout of the space, including the size of the desks, the number of people per desk, and the overall layout of the space. Think about whether it will be conducive to your working style.

Assess the noise level

Do you prefer to have some background noise, or do you like working in quiet environments? Check the noise level of the space during the hours you plan to work to determine if it’s a good fit for your preferences. 

Do you need additional services or amenities?

Some coworking spaces offer additional services and amenities, such as gym facilities, mail handling, reception services, and scheduling assistance. Contemplate whether these services will be beneficial for your work.

Compare the cost

Compare the cost of different coworking spaces and ensure you understand what’s included in the price. Some spaces may include additional services and amenities in the price, while others may charge extra for these services.

Read reviews

Look for reviews from other members or business owners who have used the space. This can provide valuable insight into the experience of working in the space.

By considering these tips, you can find the right coworking space for your needs and ensure that you choose the most productive and comfortable environment to work in.

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