Coworking: Definition, Advantages and How To Find the Best Coworking Space
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As companies become more digital, they are offering more flexible work options, allowing employees to work remotely. As more employees and entrepreneurs forego a traditional office environment, coworking spaces are gaining popularity as a place for professionals to spend their working hours.
Coworking locations provide all the basic services you need to work remotely while allowing you to get out of your house and meet new people. In this article, we discuss what coworking is, the advantages of coworking, how to choose a coworking space and tips for coworking effectively.
Read more: How To Transition from Onsite To Remote Work
What is coworking?
Coworking refers to using a shared space with other professionals to complete business tasks. The environment has all the features and supplies of a traditional office space, but the site is available to any individual who rents space. You can use coworking spaces to complete projects independently, or you can use them as a meeting site for team projects. Coworking spaces are open to employees of different companies, freelancers and entrepreneurs and may offer amenities such as:
Printers and paper
Beverages and snacks
Refrigerator or microwave
The advantages of coworking
Here are some of the advantages of using a coworking space:
Cost savings: Using a coworking space is cheaper than renting an office space and buying your own equipment and office supplies.
Convenience: You don't have to clean, stock supplies or take care of problems with utilities, maintenance or internet when you use a coworking space.
Commute: You may find a coworking space that is closer to your home than your office.
Motivation: Being around other working professionals in a coworking environment can help motivate you to complete your tasks.
Focus: Working in an office environment can help reduce some of the distractions you face working from home or a coffee shop.
Community: Coworking can allow you to meet a community of professionals that can support, inspire and guide you. The people you meet can also provide a level of accountability for you to show up and work towards your goals.
Flexibility: Coworking spaces typically offer a variety of rental plans that range in costs. Some locations may allow you to rent on a daily or monthly basis, eliminating the need for a long-term commitment that traditional rentals require.
Work/life balance: Working from home can lead to extended working hours that take away from your personal time. Using a coworking space can help you establish boundaries for your work schedule.
Networking: Meeting other professionals can lead to new professional contacts and opportunities.
How to choose a coworking space
Here are the steps to choose a coworking space:
1. Decide on a location
Choose your desired work area by considering how far you're willing to travel, traffic and proximity to other areas you travel to, such as your child's school. You can then search for coworking spaces by city or zip code.
Read more: The 18 Best Cities for Remote Workers
2. Determine your budget
Decide what you want to spend on coworking, including renting a space, travel expenses like gas and meals and snacks during the day. Research the fees for your top coworking spaces by calling or looking at their website. You can eliminate coworking spaces that are out of your budget.
3. Choose your optimal environment
Think about what type of coworking community would suit you best. You may prefer a quieter atmosphere where you can work independently, or you may like to converse with your fellow workers. Talk to the manager of the coworking space or visit the site to see if the environment works for your personality and working style.
4. Set a time frame
Decide what type of time commitment you want to make on a coworking space. If you know you're looking for a site for several months, you may be able to get a reduced rate for paying up front. If you don't want to make a commitment, you should find a space that lets you rent by the day or week.
5. Make a list of necessary amenities
Identify which amenities you need to have in your workspace, such as:
A conference room
Research what amenities are available at the coworking spaces in your area.
As you're deciding between similar coworking spaces, compare the amenities. For example, if two locations charge the same fees, see if one offers free coffee or snacks, which can help offset your personal meal expenses.
6. Pay any fees and start working
Once you decide on a coworking location, contact the manager to ask what forms or payments you need to complete before working. You may be able rent the space and pay online. Once you're set up, make sure you plan to work on your assigned days and during the space's hours of operation.
Tips for coworking
Here are some tips to help you use a shared space effectively.
Set a schedule
Create a schedule for coworking that allows you the time to complete your tasks while maintaining a work/life balance. Try to stick to your schedule, including showing up on the days you plan to work and starting and ending at the designated times. This routine can help you stay productive.
Plan your days
In addition to setting a weekly schedule, plan out the tasks you need to get done each day. This can help you stay focused and motivated and ensure that you are dividing your time appropriately between assignments.
Coworking spaces can be distracting if they are in public areas. Try to find a quiet spot away from entrances and exits that have a lot of foot traffic. Bring noise-canceling headphones if the outside noise becomes bothersome. You can also face away from the public areas to have fewer stimuli in your visual field. You may also want to keep your cell phone silenced or put away.
Remember that you are a representation of your business. Coworking with other professionals gives you a chance to make a positive impression on those around you. Be courteous to the other workers, introduce yourself and offer help when you can.
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