The troubled economy is pushing more and more people to choose self-employment, whether they run their own businesses or contract with other companies. Technology allows many employees to comfortably work from home, but when you’ve worked in an office environment your entire life, home can get lonely pretty quickly. Coworking spaces bridge the gap between the office and home environments for working.
A coworking space is an office space that caters to a group of freelancing or self-employed professionals–even some burgeoning companies have begun making use of coworking spaces. This space may be rented or part of someone’s home, with office equipment available for everyone to use. This space does not have to be particularly fancy or high tech, since most people bring their own computers.
Benefits of Coworking Spaces
Coworking spaces provide many benefits to at-home workers. The socialization aspect alone is enough to draw many freelancers in, as losing out on water cooler talk can make work boring for many people. Another benefit from being around other workers is the ability to bounce ideas off of each other. Even if they don’t happen to work in your profession, having someone around to listen to you think things through can jumpstart your creative process.
The physical benefits of coworking spaces might not be obvious. The lighting and office furniture are much improved over what many people have in their homes. If you’re working in an actual office building, you’ll find that the desks and tables are designed to be ergonomically correct in many cases. When you go from working on any old chair to working in a proper office chair, your body is going to thank you.
Many coworking spaces provide ready access to phone lines and meeting rooms–complete with projectors and whiteboards–as well as office events. It can be difficult to put together a party when people come and go, but many coworking facilities themselves organize special get-togethers, sometimes with drinks and snacks, in order to make people feel more at ease.
In addition to providing office-appropriate amenities, some coworking spaces provide exercise equipment to help employees get the creative juices flowing. Workout equipment like treadmills, ellipticals or exercise bikes would give employees a place to brainstorm as well as improve their health. This comes in handy if there’s no workout equipment at home or you don’t want to buy a gym membership.
Finding Coworking Spaces
When you’re ready to look into a coworking space, you have a few different options to find them. You can look through a search engine to see if anyone advertises coworking spaces online near you. Craigslist is another good resource to look through in order to figure this out. Network with other freelancers and small businesses around you to see if anyone has leads on a coworking space. It might take some time to settle in, but the benefits outweigh the time it takes to find a good working environment.
Working for yourself or a small company doesn’t have to be a lonely endeavor. Coworking spaces mitigate the overhead required to fully outfit an office, and they offer plenty of socializing opportunities while you work on your own projects. If you can’t find a coworking space, you might find enough interested parties who would like to start one. Either way, coworking is a trend that isn’t going away anytime soon.