Guide to Co-working Spaces
Co-working spaces are making their mark on the urban landscape. If you’ve ever walked by one of these bright, spacious establishments and wondered what goes on inside, look no further than this comprehensive guide to co-working spaces.
Here you’ll find everything you need to know about the purpose of a co-working space, how they can impact your remote career, and where to find the right co-working space for you.
What is a Co-working Space?
A co-working space is an office away from the office. Anyone who works independently — freelancers, remote employees, small business owners and more — can rent a desk in one of these venues and reap the benefits of a communal and structured space without giving up their autonomy.
The first co-working space was set up in Berlin in 1995, allowing software engineers to work on separate projects in a shared environment (The Hub Newry). As online jobs become more commonplace with every passing day, it’s no wonder that today there are over 6,000 flexible workspace providers in the US alone (Forbes) and countless more dotted all over the globe.
Co-working spaces offer an excellent alternative to working from home, where distractions often abound, and coffee shops, where you’ll find yourself paying for overpriced coffees every hour just to reserve your right to stay. Your membership grants you access not just to a desk, but a whole host of useful amenities (read on to find out more).
Online work gives you the flexibility to work wherever you want, so why not choose the convenience, comfort and community of a co-working space?
The Benefits of Co-working Spaces
Co-working spaces are more than just stylish venues to spend your day in — they open up a wide array of exciting opportunities and bring unexpected benefits to your life as a remote worker. If you’re considering breaking free from your home office, check out these notable advantages of using a co-working space.
With a co-working space, you’re paying for so much more than a seat at a desk. These establishments are oriented around not only work but professionals’ mental and physical well-being, as they provide a wide range of amenities that make the co-working experience all the more enjoyable.
Many co-working spaces simulate the comfort and convenience of working from home by offering amenities like stocked kitchens, with coffee-making facilities, fridges, and microwaves. Industrious even provides complimentary breakfast each morning. A regular cleaning service means that your workspace will be kept in ideal shape. Additionally, a number of spaces (such as WeWork) provide bike lock-up facilities that are accessible to members around the clock.
The added benefit of using a co-working space is that oftentimes you will find amenities there that you don’t have at home. These include top-of-the-line printing facilities, soundproofed conference rooms, and lightning-fast internet connection speeds. On-site staff can also help you troubleshoot any technical difficulties and handle incoming mail.
For those of us juggling parenting and online work, there are numerous co-working spaces, including Third Door in London and Wiggle And Work in Los Angeles, which provide on-site childcare while parents go about the daily tasks. What more could you ask for?
Sense of Community
Remote work is a fantastic money-saver and gives professionals unrivaled freedom, but one in five remote workers report that they struggle with loneliness (Buffer). Those who work from home miss out on more than just small talk in the breakroom — your opportunities for networking and forming friendships with colleagues diminish greatly when you no longer work from an office.
Fortunately, co-working spaces provide a remedy to this problem. They take the form of an open-plan office, meaning that you’re constantly surrounded by like-minded professionals while you carry out your daily tasks. Though everyone is working on separate projects, the shared environment encourages socializing and collaborating — a friendly chat by the coffee machine can quickly turn into an invitation to a conference or a decision to pool resources.
Many of these establishments, including Seats2Meet, organise exciting networking events where members can get to know each other and unwind after a hard day’s work. Some (like Talent Garden) even offer classes — such as yoga or workshops with industry experts — during which you can broaden your skill set and your social circle at the same time. In this way, becoming part of a co-working community can mean a boost to your career as well as support for your mental well-being.
Those with remote careers often see a surge in motivation and productivity when they join a co-working space. The reasons for this are many.
Distractions like television and video games, which lurk around every corner at home, are nowhere to be found in a co-working space. These environments are typically quiet and minimalistic, with just the right amount of ambient noise. The bright, clean surroundings are conducive to hard work and concentration.
What’s more is that by using a co-working space you surround yourself with other professionals, many of which may work in your industry. Seeing them hard at work can greatly boost your motivation, and having someone to bounce ideas off of or consult for advice can make a huge difference to your output, too.
Improved Work/Life Balance
Having an online job means that any room in your house can turn into your office — whether it’s your study, your kitchen, or your bedroom. While it’s easy to see the convenience, many of us overlook the difficulty that remote work can impose on our work-life balance.
Co-working spaces provide the structured environment that many remote workers so sorely need. Leaving the house to work in a dedicated space helps to keep your career and your home life separate, meaning you’ll have less residual work-related stress to deal with when it’s time to log off in the evening.
Studies have shown that people who work from home often suffer from insomnia, as they struggle to make the all-important distinction between where they work and where they relax. Joining a co-working space solves the problem completely, as the difference between your working environment and your home is as stark as night and day.
The Technical Stuff
Many co-working spaces (WeWork, Make Offices, Talent Garden) are accessible to members 24/7. While staff will typically be on-site between traditional business hours (9-5, Monday to Friday), you can access your rented desk using a swipe card at any time. This means you can always get your remote work done in optimum conditions whether you’re a night owl or an early riser.
For individuals, most co-working spaces offer two separate services: shared desks (or hot desks) and dedicated desks. Hot-desking means you have no assigned spot but simply sit wherever is available when you arrive. If you rent a dedicated desk, then you will always sit in the same place. Dedicated desks are the more expensive option as they provide you with the convenience of leaving your belongings overnight and the added bonus of personalizing your workspace.
The length of your contract will depend on the company, but in general, contracts renew every month. However, some co-working spaces (like WeWork) operate on a more casual basis, allowing members to renew their contracts from week to week. For travelers and digital nomads, some spaces offer drop-in services, meaning workers can pay a daily rate to use a desk. Make sure you take a thorough look at the packages offered by different establishments in your city before committing to anything.
The average monthly cost of a dedicated desk is $387 in the US, €245 in the Eurozone, and £200 in the United Kingdom.
The average monthly cost of a hot desk is $195 in the US, €189 in Europe and £168 in the UK. Drop-in users can expect to pay a daily rate of $23 in the US, €17 in Europe and £24 in the UK (Deskmag).
Co-working Spaces Near Me
Not sure if there’s a co-working space near you? You may be surprised! Co-working spaces are found across every continent and are beginning to pop up in towns as well as cities. If you’re not sure where to begin your hunt, take a look at these chains and their locations:
Talent Garden is widely distributed across Europe, including smaller cities.
Urban Station boasts a range of locations across Latin America and one in Egypt.
Up-Gen co-working spaces can be found across Vietnam and more are projected to open in East Asia in the near future.
As this guide to co-working spaces has shown, it’s no wonder why these revolutionary establishments have taken the world by storm. They will breathe new life into your remote career, granting you access to excellent facilities and taking your productivity to the next level. They’re also changing the way remote professionals network and providing reliable support for freelancers and digital nomads. So if you’re looking to change the way you work, try out a co-working space near you and see the difference it can make to your all-round job satisfaction