There are many proven benefits of coworking, whether it’s within one company or a shared space where many entrepreneurs and businesses can come together to work towards their independent goals.
Business is conducted a lot differently today than it was in past decades. The rise of the internet has been a huge paradigm shift but the way we work and the places we work haven’t always kept up the pace.
Despite the shift, larger corporations are still slow to adapt – some don’t even know what coworking spaces are. This is where smaller start-ups are able to shine. We’ve seen many disruptive technologies emerge in recent years from the start-up space, and it’s a testament to their ability to be agile, lean, and to adapt.
Shifts in the corporate world take forever, but in the startup universe things can happen fast. Startups, freelancers, and home-based entrepreneurs are taking advantage of coworking spaces all around the world for some very obvious reasons, along with some less obvious ones.
Let’s go over some of the more underrated and significant benefits of coworking spaces from the point of view of a small team or a solo-entrepreneur.
1. Separating Work From Personal Life
Entrepreneurs face many mental struggles and obstacles. When you work for yourself, it’s not always easy to stay focused and to hold yourself accountable. If you’re already prone to procrastination, and you’ve got a big stack of work to get done, but you’re at home and comfortable at the same computer that you use to browse Facebook and play games, this can be a recipe for disaster.
Not to mention other distractions like neighbors, family members, the barking dog that lives next door…
Having a separate space away from home, in this case a coworking environment, can help separate your personal life from your work life, making it easier to focus when it’s time to work and easier to disconnect when it’s time to relax.
2. Cutting Costs and Gaining Flexibility
Beyond the cost of rent, office expenses can start to add-up very quickly. From little things like coffee filters and printer toner, to bigger things like desks, chairs, and a super-fast internet connection, it doesn’t take much to cut into your budget.
Granted, if you were to rent a coworking space by the hour for an entire month, there’s a good chance that simply renting a private office would cost less, but this ignores one of the key advantages of coworking, and that’s flexibility.
If you want to travel and work abroad from your laptop for a couple of months, or even completely pivot your business, you aren’t tied into a long-term lease. In some cases, that could end up costing you a little bit more in the short term, but saving you a fortune in the long run.
If you decide that you prefer working from home most of the time, but want to get out of the house occasionally to work remotely for a change of scenery, coworking is perfect.
3. Being In a Community
While we’ve talked about the benefits of separating your personal life from your work life, this next one will contradict that just a little bit.
If you’re always on the grind, especially if you’re working from home, it can be easy to forget about important things like social interaction. You have to actively make an effort to go out, see friends, and just experience the world outside of your computer screen.
You probably can’t find one entrepreneur who hasn’t turned down social plans to stay in and work towards their goals.
When you’re in a coworking space, there’s a good chance that anyone you meet will have at least somewhat similar interests and direction in their life, which is a solid icebreaker and a good way to form new friendships and be a part of a coworking community.
4. Networking Opportunities
To take the previous point one step further, it’s not just about meeting people to sip coffee with or to talk about the trials and tribulations of entrepreneurship. Coworking environments also offer a perfect place to network and to build business relationships.
You’ll meet people who excel in the areas where you struggle, and vice versa. Whether you make business-friends who help each other out mutually, or end up hiring / working together, meeting people in person, getting to see their work habits first hand, and having them available to you are crucial resources that shouldn’t be taken for granted.
This can help you become a fixture in your local start-up scene, even if you’re not the most outgoing person and not very interested in the self-promotion side of things, your work will start to speak for itself and people will know who to call when they need help or advice, and that works both ways.
5. A Professional Environment to Meet Clients
If you work from home and you’re a freelancer, it can be kind of awkward when a client asks to meet at your office. In some cases, if your client is more old school they could be hesitant to hire someone without their own professional environment.
A coworking space gives you an address to give to your client, and a place to meet with them, that isn’t your home address.
6. Coworking Makes Upscale Locations Attainable
Depending on where you live and work, there could be a clear divide between which office space and neighborhoods are affordable and which ones are just out of the question for a bootstrapping startup to lease.
Nonetheless, if you want to be deeper into the hustle and bustle of a busy city, coworking can get you there at a more affordable price.
Think of it like a timeshare, but without the sketchy guy in a cheap suit trying to trick you into signing your life away in exchange for some hors d’oeuvres.
Most cities have a number of coworking options available, from very affordable to more upscale, so take a look around and see what suits you. The best part? You don’t have to stay in one place. You can try out some different parts of town, explore some new neighborhoods, it can be a good way to try things out before you do settle down somewhere more permanently.
7. Gaining New Perspectives
Another benefit to the coworking way of doing things is that you’ll be exposed to a lot of different businesses, industries, and niches. Office buildings are usually a lot more isolated, but coworking opens up the doors to meet and chat with a lot of different people.
Beyond the social and networking aspects that we’ve already discussed, this can be beneficial just due to seeing things from another perspective.
So many of the great startups were born to solve a problem, so it stands to reason that being closer to different industries and seeing what their struggles are, and which problems are more universal in business, can help you to come up with some new angles to attack with your own company or projects.
Final Thoughts: Not Just for Bootstrapping
Some of these benefits have to do with money, but some of them offer advantages that help you in less tangible ways, and those are the ones that can add up and take your business to the next level.
Coworking spaces allow you to focus entirely on your business itself and less on running an office building.
This works great for certain people who need to zero-in on one problem or task to solve it, and don’t want to think about all the minor details of renting an office. It’s also great for short-term, or even just somewhere to drop in every now and then when you’re tired of working from home.