Finding a Workspace: Coworking

Working from home giving you the office blues? Coworking gives you a desk without the need for an office.


Two professionals use a tablet at an office table.

While the expectation of creating a home office space is fantastic on paper, this vision doesn’t always translate perfectly into reality. There are days you may be dealing with a crying baby, a neighbor’s loud dog or family members expecting you to help around the house who don’t understand that while you’re physically at home, you’re mentally at work. 

Alternatively, the silence can be distracting. You may find yourself sitting in silence daily, wearing the same sweatpants for the entirety of your workweek, all while having profound conversations with your cat over your lunch break.

Could coworking solve your home office woes?

Coworking is ideal for entrepreneurs looking for an innovative, professional space with flexible desk options. These spaces offer a wide range of setups, from permanent desks available daily to floating workspaces accessible a few times per month. In the last decade, the number of coworking spaces has grown exponentially. In 2007, there were just 14 in the United States, but that number exploded to 4,043 in 2017.

Amenities

Similar to a gym or hotel, coworking spaces have varied amenities. Virtually all have workplace basics included, like a kitchen, coffee, desks, wifi and couches. Many also offer mailing services, bookable conference rooms, phone booths and printing. Typically, for an extra fee, spaces also offer the option to reserve a private desk or office. Many offer upgraded amenities to their members such as professional development classes, fun snacks, wellness rooms and more.

Aside from the basics, it’s important to determine which amenities are most important to you relative to other factors like location and cost. While having access to nap pods and receiving triple fudge brownies on Fridays are amazing perks, they may not justify the price of the coworking space. It could be more advantageous for you to try a no-frills coworking space first, especially if you’ve never worked this way before. Even the simplest coworking space will have a vibrant community of professionals.

Flexiblity

There is no right or wrong way to cowork. Most spaces have membership tiers or visitor packs that reflect entrepreneurs’ individual needs. Some people go to their coworking space 5 days a week at the same time each day. Others simply pop in when they need a space for special assignments or a conference space for a meeting with a prospective client.

Networking

What better way to meet people than at work? Most coworking spaces draw professionals and entrepreneurs across a number of different industries. Did you know that 80% of professionals in most people’s networks are in their same line of work? Networking with people outside your industry could help you find prospective clients, employees, partners and more. Alternatively, if you’re looking to grow professionally within your field of work and are interested in a more tailored space, your area may even have coworking spaces that are dedicated to specific industries, such as tech or culinary.

You may be concerned that taking the time to socialize will interfere with your workflow. Fear not, as most spaces carve out dedicated times for their members to become better acquainted through in-office happy hours and other activities. But that’s not to say that you can’t start up a conversation over a coffee break or meal. When was the last time you went a whole day without a break and didn’t go a bit crazy? The same is true for your fellow coworkers. Don’t forget that you’re not only there to build your network, but also to learn. You never know how a conversation with someone who thinks differently than you might inspire your next great idea.

Fight Entrepreneur Isolation

While socialization may initially appear to be a frivolous reason to pay for a workspace, the need for interaction during the workday can’t be overlooked. The loneliness associated with striking out on your own is often ignored and can cause significant problems if left unrectified. In the Harvard Business Review’s CEO Snapshot Survey, half of CEOs reported that they experience loneliness due to their work. For those that experience it often, loneliness is linked to anxiety, stress and even depression. For small business owners and entrepreneurs, these can be more pronounced as they often have few, if any, direct colleagues to interact with daily.

In a 2015 study on coworking spaces, 83% of respondents shared that coworking helped fight against loneliness and 89% said that they were happier. While it may not have a direct correlation to your work, chatting with your coworking neighbors could help you stay ahead of the game by boosting your mood. By avoiding the symptoms of loneliness, you maintain the best mindset to tackle your work.

While working at home does offer its perks, coworking has its upside, too. Check out coworking offices in your area to see how the coworking workstyle fits you.