Should Freelancers Utilize Coworking Spaces?
With more and more people freelancing and/or working from home, a market has developed for people to stay productive and socialized. Known as “coworking,” these are rentable work areas, complete with food and drink amenities, as well as the camaraderie that would be lacking in a home office. If you’re intrigued by this idea, then read on to determine whether or not this is something that would be in your best interests professionally.
Coworking spaces and shared spaces aren’t the same thing.
It’s easy to get these two terms confused – especially considering that more and more locations offer both, and advertise them in tandem. However, as you compare the two, you just might find that coworking spaces are more in-tune to freelancing needs:
- Coworking spaces often are smaller, have cheaper rents for shorter durations, and cater more towards individuals and startups.
- Shared spaces are usually larger and more expensive with longer rent durations and more private space options like conference rooms. They’re generally better suited for businesses who’ve made it past that 1-year mark to become more established.
- To learn more, check out:
o Luis Estrada’s blog post for Yardi Kube, “The Differences Between Shared Workspaces and Coworking Spaces.”
o Channell Turner’s article, “Dedicated Office or Shared Space: What’s Better for Your Start-Up?”
It’s all about the amenities.
You might think that it’s more straightforward to just skip all notions of coworking and go for a dedicated office space. Maybe you’d like to socialize, yet still want that refrigerator/microwave/you get the idea all to yourself. Although that’s understandable, keep in mind that renting an office often comes with hidden fees that shouldn’t be present in a coworking scenario.
While it could look like you’ve gotten a great deal on a rental agreement, don’t be surprised if/when you realize it literally only includes the office itself. As for the Internet or furniture? That just might be up to you, thus incurring additional costs.
Unless you have set income streams that aren’t likely to diminish any time soon, as a freelancer it’s especially important to be ever-mindful of finances. So, if it means potentially saving hundreds of dollars per month, sharing amenities in coworking spaces doesn’t seem so bad!
Collaboration doesn’t always have to be key.
When it comes to freelancing productivity, it should come as no surprise that everyone has a different approach. If you work best with music/background noise, then it would seem that coworking would be a natural fit for you. Plus, unlike crowded cafés, you’ll always have a seat/ample space for your laptop, and a more secure Internet connection. The potential is good, too, for having people around who – even if they’re nowhere close to your niche – can provide instant feedback/ideas, and vice versa!
This isn’t to say, however, that coworking doesn’t have its place if you’re a freelancer who prefers silence. Even silence needs to be punctuated here and there with other tasks. Therefore, it’s important to remember that many coworking options have plans that allow for a certain amount of days per month, as well as more secluded work areas.
Coworking spaces are much like the freelancing industry, in that they’re consistently evolving and adapting, while at the same time providing just enough structure. So, whatever path to freelancing productivity you’re on, even occasionally leaving what’s been your workday comfort zone might yield some great creative results if you give coworking a chance.