This is a guest article contributed by Jessie Brown.
Coworking has been in vogue for a few years now and is becoming increasingly popular amongst freelancers around the world. But what is it exactly and how can you make it work for you?
Well, in short coworking enables anyone who is working independently to work with others in a shared office space, without the hassle of having to sign a rental contract or pay utility bills. Typical coworkers may include freelance writers, web designers, entrepreneurs and small start-ups, especially those looking to collaborate.
Coworking spaces have sprung up in cities all over the world and can vary from tiny independent set-ups with a few desks, to large chains such as The Hub and Nextspace that cater for many people and also hold major events and workshops.
Flexibility & Progressive Work Culture
Each coworking space has a range of plans that allow for maximum flexibility, so you’re able to rent a space from a few hours to a few weeks, to more permanently depending on your work situation.
What sets coworking apart from simply renting a desk or sitting in a coffee shop to work, is the progressive work culture that has emerged from these spaces. As many coworking spaces are geared towards a particular type of industry such as the tech or creative industries, a kind of synergy is fostered between those sharing the space. Everyone may be working on their own independent projects yet they are still generally within one industry that encompasses them all.
Advantages of Coworking
Access to Community & Networking
For freelancers coworking spaces have numerous benefits, perhaps the most significant of which is that they instantly provide a supportive community of fellow freelancers and like-minded people. There’s always plenty of scope for networking and collaboration on projects between coworkers, and it’s the kind which comes naturally – no forced networking or awkward approaches necessary.
Improves Your Skillset
Coworking can also give freelancers the option to update their knowledge and skillset. This idea-sharing, along with the option to bounce thoughts off those willing to give a fresh perspective, can in turn lead to a sometimes much needed confidence boost.
Increases Social Activity
As well as the possibility of collaboration, coworking spaces are a great way to alleviate the loneliness that sometimes goes hand in hand with freelancing. As much as home-working has a certain appeal, the social isolation that it entails can be detrimental to working well. Coworking offers all of the social aspects of an office without the stress of feeling obliged to interact with people as you would have to in a traditional office. Many coworking spaces also hold social events and workshops so the opportunity to get to know your fellow freelancers is even easier.
Easier on the Pocket & Reduced Travel Time
Add to this of course, the financial benefit of coworking as opposed to renting your own office. There’s no need to worry about utility bills or buying equipment like photocopiers and printers as these are all usually included in the all-in-one price. Should a freelancer be meeting clients, many coworking spaces also have conference rooms available to be booked. Furthermore coworkers are able to choose a coworking space nearby to where they live and therefore reduce the cost, time and stress involved in commuting.
Easy to Join & Set Up Anywhere
Finally, for freelancers that travel a lot or have the urge to give working abroad a go, coworking spaces are an excellent way to instantly set yourself up in a new city, build a network and make friends. In a world where many are now seeking less location-dependent work and more flexibility, coworking is an innovative and progressive way of aiding in this.
Some of the Best Coworking spaces:
Mobilesuite – Berlin
Berlin has long been a creative hub but is now also currently one of the hotspots for the European start-up scene. As a result, a host of coworking spaces have sprung up in the city including this friendly and relaxed space which has been in existence since 2011 in the heart of Prenzlauer Berg in former east Berlin.
Based in two locations in London with plans for a third to open this year, TechHub is a coworking space designed for those working specifically in the tech industries to set up shop. Industry events, workshops and social events all take place frequently making it an excellent place to foster potential collaborations.
Grind – New York City
Grind is an invitation-only coworking space in the heart of Manhattan. Members are described by the founder of the space as “free radicals”, people who like to work outside the system and are constantly collaborating. This space is at the forefront of coworking technology with features such as automatic check-in when a member simply opens their laptop.
See here for more NYC coworking spaces.
Located in the booming SOMA district, Citizen Space is a coworking space that thrives on the idea of openness and innovation. Home to numerous startups, web developers and writers amongst others, Citizen Space also plays host to a number of professional development events including startup meet-ups and launch parties.
“The Thinking Hut is a new and fresh creative co-working space in Amsterdam. These 270sqm once filled with horses have been renovated to re-open doors to a collaborative work environment where different people (entrepreneurs, freelancers, zzp-ers, designers, writers, web developers, marketing minds, account and project managers, …) can feel comfortable working on their own projects, while having the possibility of sharing, engaging and in essence, creating together with others.”
Do you work in a coworking space? Have any others to share?