Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Kathy Gallo. Her opinions are her own.
More and more people around the world are finding employment in less traditional settings. With the rise of the internet, freelancing, telecommuting and living the digital nomad lifestyle have all become much more common.
For an entrepreneur looking to start their own company, working from home has always been a possibility, but now increasing numbers are seeing the advantages of moving operations to a coworking space.
Here are nine reasons why startup founders flourish in co-working spaces and why these environments have advantages over both working from home and working in a traditional office space.
One of the biggest initial attractions of co-working spaces for startup founders is the greater affordability and flexible pricing options.
Renting a coworking space is much cheaper than renting traditional office space and often includes a whole lot of extras such as internet services and access to conference rooms. More banal additions like office furniture that can quickly add up are also taken care of.
Furthermore, unlike with a traditional office, co-working spaces can usually be rented by the month, week or even day, meaning entrepreneurs are not tied into a long contract, allowing much greater flexibility to change quickly according to the needs of a developing business.
Many startups begin at home: we all know the stereotype of an entrepreneur creating a successful business from his or her garage. However, there comes a point where this kind of setup is no longer suitable.
When it comes to meeting clients, coffee shops or restaurants serve a purpose to a point – but a coworking space provides a much more professional setting to discuss products or services with clients, and as we all know, first impressions are vital.
Some of the greatest benefits for startup founders who choose to move to co-working spaces come from intangibles, and one of the most important of these is the opportunity to network with other like-minded and driven individuals.
Many coworking spaces offer areas to take time out during the working day, and many people benefit from downtime around the Keurig machine meeting new people and forming new working relationships.
Coworking communities also often provide more organized settings for networking such as drinks receptions; this kind of semi-formal function can prove invaluable to aspiring entrepreneurs.
Another intangible is the feeling of motivation that many people obtain from a co-working environment. When someone is working from their home or garage, they need to be very disciplined and self-motivated.
Many freelancers or startup founders suffer from a lack of routine and find it difficult to shut out the multitude of distractions that come from working at home. For people in this situation, a certain amount of structure can be invaluable.
Choosing a coworking environment can offer the advantages of having a daily routine similar to when working in an office while offering much of the flexibility of working from home. In this respect, a coworking space can offer the best of both worlds.
The simple fact of being surrounded by other successful, motivated and driven people every day cannot be overlooked either, and many people find that working in this kind of situation increases their productivity greatly.
Quite separate from the opportunities to network or take motivation from others, a coworking environment also helps counter one of the biggest problems of freelance work or working from home: loneliness and lack of human interaction.
As anyone who has tried working from home will attest, spending long hours alone can be disheartening and even depressing, and relocating to a coworking space can be an excellent way to combat this.
Since most coworking spaces are made up of professionals working for different organizations on a variety of projects, there is much less competition or interpersonal rivalry.
This means that traditional office politics where people are constantly trying to outdo their colleagues to impress the boss have no reason to develop.
This, in turn, allows workers to be themselves instead of developing an “office persona”. In general, people work much more efficiently in such conditions.
When an entrepreneur launches a startup, at some point down the line, they will need to scale up the business and hire more staff. However, for those working from home, there is no developed hiring infrastructure and it may be difficult and time-consuming to find the right people.
Working from a coworking space may offer an instant solution to this problem. Coworking spaces are usually inhabited by a diverse range of freelancers, and the right person for the job might be the freelancer sitting at the next desk.
Hiring like this can save time, and startup owners will already have some informal experience of working with that person, which can make the decision to hire much less risky.
Similarly, the people occupying the same coworking space may be potential clients. If an entrepreneur is offering a particular business solution, the most accessible clients are those working in the same space.
In this way, coworking can provide an easily accessible client base; an added benefit is that it is much easier to seek feedback, allowing the business to adapt to the clients’ needs much faster than would otherwise be possible.
Choosing a coworking space also offers many more conveniences that a startup founder will appreciate. All co-working spaces are different, but services may include lunch-ordering service, kitchen facilities, coffee machines, nap rooms or even yoga classes.
While these are not essential, they all contribute to the overall comfort and convenience of the working experience, allowing the dedicated entrepreneur to focus more on things that will help grow the business – and to relax and take a few moments of downtime when required.
Sure, while co-working spaces may have their drawbacks (for example a lack of privacy and the inability to customize the space to your exact requirements) the benefits far outweigh the inconveniences.
For this reason, many entrepreneurs are increasingly choosing to relocate to co-working spaces – and the vast majority seem to find the experience an extremely positive, productive and profitable one.
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