A coworking space allows different companies, SMBs and freelancers to work together in a shared office. The Corona pandemic affected these spaces but the situation is looking up again. Learn more about what they offer, the benefits of using them and find out if it’s a good option for you!
- What is coworking?
- Impact of the Corona pandemic on coworking
- Types of coworking spaces
- Services offered by a coworking facility
- Benefits of joining a coworking space
- What are the disadvantages of coworking?
- How much does it cost to rent a coworking space?
- Should I join a coworking space? [checklist]
What is coworking?
Coworking is a term that defines a way of working that allows freelancers, entrepreneurs and SMEs to work in the same workspace. The idea behind this is that they work on their professional projects independently, but at the same time, they also explore the possibility of developing joint projects together.
The basis of coworking lies in its community: this is one of its more prominent features and is what separates it from a HUB, a shared office or a business center. These spaces usually have a space manager or a community builder who is responsible for looking after the community and acts as a link between coworkers.
To put it simply, a coworking space offers common areas where different people with different backgrounds, different industries,working for different companies, etc. can work together while sharing a space, as well as its services, tools and facilities. This reduces their fixed costs and allows them to explore new ideas.
Impact of the Corona pandemic on coworking
The corona pandemic had a major impact on most coworking spaces in the past 2 years.
According to a report published by Deskmag, in 2021, physical distancing was among the lead restrictions affecting coworking spaces (60%) followed by health status checks at entrances.
In terms of profitability, 41% of global coworking spaces suffered in 2021 because of the corona pandemic compared to only 15% that were non-profitable in 2019.
However, seeing how the pandemic is coming to an end, and with more and more countries lifting restrictions, there has been a rise in the demand for coworking prices.
In fact, according to some sources, the number of coworking spaces is projected to reach nearly 40,000 by the end of 2024.
This is mainly due to the rise in coworking networks and the fact that most companies are now interested in the hybrid work model.
What to expect in 2022:
Because of the growing demand for flexible workspaces, the coworking industry is expected to surge this year and in the coming years, with satellite offices and localized workplaces seeing an increase in demand by enterprises and companies.
Freelancermap recently conducted a survey to find out if freelancers would be open to work from a coworking space. 64% of freelancers responded that they would indeed be open while 36% of freelancers said they would not.
Types of coworking spaces
The best thing about coworking spaces is that there is a type for every need and occasion. Let’s take a look at some of the most common ones:
1) Flexible workstation
To start off with, a coworking space should include a workstation. All you need to do really is bring your laptop and choose a spot in the common area of the coworking space. The flexible workstation allows you to access the facilities during a typical working day.
These are perfect for: digital nomads, freelancers, remote workers, students and the curious.
2) Fixed workstation
The fixed workstation combines the comfort of a home office with the efficiency and convenience of a coworking space. Looking to concentrate? All you need to do is put on your headset and work undisturbed. Need an intimate environment? Access a private meeting room. Want to have a coffee and a chat with someone? Go to the kitchen and meet up with co-workers.
These are perfect for: freelancers, investors, remote workers, IT service providers, entrepreneurs, bold freelancers.
3) Private offices
A private space is separate from the rest of the coworking space and allows you to maintain your privacy while remaining an active member of the coworking community. A private space often entails a lockable door, a private kitchen, and conference rooms.
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These are perfect for: startups, long-standing companies, investment funds, delegations of large corporations, IT service providers.
Services offered by a coworking facility
These are some of the most common services offered by a coworking space:
- Access to fully equipped work areas
- Meeting rooms with audiovisual equipment (Screens, webcam, projector, etc.)
- Common areas (kitchen, meeting rooms, terrace)
- Workshops, talks, events, aperitifs, breakfasts, etc…
- Social, fiscal and administrative address
- High speed wired internet
- Coffee and tea
- Lockers and storage
- Printing services
Benefits of joining a coworking space
1) They keep you in check
Let’s be honest – when there is someone else in a room working away at their laptop, we’re motivated to do the same. It’s much easier to procrastinate and shrug off deadlines when there’s nobody looking over your shoulder. In a co-working space, motivation levels increase. Yes, that might mean you’re a little lazy inside and need that external push to keep working, but that’s only human. And hey, it works! And sometimes, that’s all that matters.
In a similar line of thought, co-working spaces give you a sense of routine. It’s easy to get distracted at home, but when you’re at the office your brain knows what’s supposed to be happening. Separating work from home is easier when they’re physically different places.
2) Social interaction
Social interaction is often neglected – but it’s extremely important, both for your motivation levels as well as dealing with problems. Sometimes you just need a human to talk to, face to face, over a coffee, to take your mind off your daily worries.
A co-working space gives you the opportunity to socialize at the workplace – that’s worth more than you might think.
Socializing is not just about chit-chat, though. Sometimes, exchanging and discussing ideas with other people can lead to more than anyone is able to do alone. When a lot of professionals with different skills gather in an office, synergies occur.
You have various sets of skills and various ways to look at things. More manpower helps too.
In short, building teams and finding people you enjoy working with is easily done when working in a shared office.
Co-working spaces have long evolved from being just a bunch of desks in a common building, though. Most will also have different kinds of events. Whether that’s keynotes, creative brainstorming sessions or just people talking about their passion, events can be a great way to learn new things. Anyone who has even seen a TED talk knows how helpful an external perspective can be. And that’s what many co-working spaces offer nowadays.
Talking about TED talks, have you watched these essential TED talks for freelancers yet?
5) Having a place for meetings
Here’s something that beginner freelancers don’t often think about, but can absolutely be a vital part of your business.
If you work a lot with clients who are from around your area, meeting them face to face can be quite helpful and, sometimes, downright necessary. Some clients just won’t be comfortable with a Skype conference and there are good reasons for that.
Most co-working spaces have conference rooms for just that purpose – now you can meet your clients in the building you work in. That’s a bit tough to do when you’re working from home.
What are the disadvantages of coworking?
While there are a lot of advantages to coworking, there are also a few disadvantages. Some of these include:
Offices can be noisy and this can often lead to distractions. People will inevitably be making calls and speaking to each other, and this can make it difficult for you to focus on your work. However, if you choose to work in a private office, this won’t be an issue for you.
2) Lack of privacy
This is probably one of the biggest disadvantages of coworking spaces. While again, there may be options for having a private office, they are usually costly and may not be in the budget for some freelancers.
Additionally, if you are someone who is used to working with confidential data, working in a coworking space may be problematic.
This one is an obvious disadvantage. A coworking space, much like an office, is somewhere you will have to drive to everyday (or depending on how often you work). This can quickly add on to your monthly expenses as a freelancer.
4) Competition under one roof
Because you’ll be working with other workers, there is bound to be someone who you’re competing against for business. While this could potentially lead to collaboration, it can also lead to uncomfortable moments and even conflicts.
How much does it cost to rent a coworking space?
The cost to rent a space of course depends on where you live and the types of spaces available to you but generally, for a part-tomit costs around $350-$400 a month to rent a part-time coworking desk.
The cost can also vary according to the type of space you’re in need of. A flexible workstation tends to cost a few $100 less than a fixed workstation per month.
Should I join a coworking space? [checklist]
You’ve already read about the potential of a coworking space so you might be wondering – should I join a coworking space now?
If you’re still unsure and decide you want to visit one of these premises, ask for the space manager or community builder to tell you a bit about the place (activities that are carried out to promote the community, the different professionals who work in the coworking space and everything you need to know).
It can be a huge commitment and you have to make sure it’s the right space for you. So here are some questions you should answer to make the decision:
- Can I afford it? If the coworking space cost per month is going to eat up your income, you should consider other alternatives.
- Does what I get cover part of the cost? The cost per month often includes free coffee, fruits, yoga classes, etc. Think if you are going to use those things and if you’d pay for those anyway.
- Who is already in the coworking space? This might change but check if the connections that you will build at the moment sound interesting for you.
- What activities do they offer? Ask the community builder what activities they carry out to bring the community together. Also, what other members like doing while being there.
- Can you just try it out? Ask to come for a couple of days before signing any monthly contract. Chat up everyone and ask them about their experience – what do they like/dislike about the coworking space? Do you feel a connection with those people? Then that’s the right coworking space for you!
Have you already tried working at a coworking space? Share your experience or ask us questions in the comment section below.