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How Coworking Spaces Bring People TogetherOPINION
by William Roberts, September 11, 2023
Now that you’ve transitioned from office cubicles and water-cooler gossip to the freedom of a freelance lifestyle, you may find yourself reveling in the perks of your newfound independence. Working in your pajamas, indulging in a 10 am yoga session during what others call a “lunch break,” and being your own boss – what’s not to love?
However, as you navigate the freelance path, you might start to miss the camaraderie and structure of an office environment. Before you start dusting off your resume and scanning job listings, consider an alternative: co-working spaces. These shared workspaces offer the perfect blend of flexibility and community, allowing you to maintain your freelance lifestyle while fostering meaningful connections.
In this guide, we’ll dive into the world of co-working spaces, exploring how they can help you strike the ideal balance between work and life. Whether you’re a seasoned freelancer or just beginning your journey, read on to discover how co-working spaces can enhance your professional life.
Before you trade in your home office for a coworking space membership, it’s crucial to embark on a thoughtful evaluation process. To ensure you invest your hard-earned freelance income wisely, the first step is to determine what you need for optimal work efficiency.
At its core, a coworking space is a place for work, so pause for a moment, sign out of your email, close your Google calendar, and let your thoughts settle. Ask yourself:
- Are you someone who thrives on routine and structure?
- Can you concentrate in bustling, open environments?
- Would you be driven to the brink by an unexpected interruption during your work?
These self-reflections are pivotal as they will help you identify the priorities for your budget within the realm of coworking spaces.
Given that traditional coworking spaces operate on a membership basis, your responses to these questions will guide you in determining which amenities to emphasize. If you lean towards having a dedicated, permanent workspace, be prepared to allocate a higher budget than if you’re comfortable using your laptop in a shared coworking area. While coworking spaces usually provide basic necessities like Wi-Fi, additional services such as printing, mailing, package handling, room bookings, or access to desktop computers often come at an extra cost.
Conducting a bit of self-research before getting enticed by the alluring office environments and perks in the coworking landscape is essential. This proactive approach will help you maximize the value of your membership fee, ensuring that you have all the tools and resources necessary to thrive in your new coworking home.
The Work Environment
Say goodbye to the conventional, uninspiring office spaces of the past; coworking spaces are here to revolutionize your work experience. Tailored for the modern freelancer, these spaces are meticulously crafted to offer a harmonious blend of comfort, stimulation, and sociability.
Coworking companies understand that freelancers aren’t easily lured away from their beloved coffee shops or the cozy embrace of their home couches. In discussions with key figures in the coworking community, The Mic has spotlighted the pivotal elements of coworking space design: transparency, equilibrium, practicality, and, perhaps most significantly, seamlessly integrated technology. Felicia Stingone, Chief Marketing Officer for Grind, succinctly captures the essence, noting that “An optimally designed coworking space is one that prioritizes people’s creativity.”
The diversity in coworking space design is striking. Some companies replicate the ambiance of a living room, complete with a stylish bar for your dream home office setup. Others push the boundaries of office design with airy, open floor plans housed in minimalist, whitewashed warehouses.
The common thread, however, is the underlying purpose: to foster collaboration. In this age of relentless innovation and interdisciplinary partnerships, seek out a coworking space that not only caters to your productivity needs but also inspires you to glance up from your laptop and engage with potential collaborators or friends who might spark your next groundbreaking idea.
The transition from a traditional office with its happy hours, themed Christmas parties, and the ritual of signing birthday cards for colleagues, even those from different departments whom you barely know, to the freelance world can often feel isolating. However, the advent of coworking spaces presents a unique opportunity to rekindle a sense of community in your professional life.
Before committing to a coworking space membership, take a moment to research the general profile and atmosphere of the space. This step will give you insights into the industries represented and the attitudes of your potential officemates. Consider whether you’re seeking a community of like-minded individuals who reinforce your perspective or if you’re open to the enriching experience of diverse perspectives that can challenge your thinking.
Decide whether you want a coworking space that actively facilitates connections through events, online networking platforms, or formal discussions with guest speakers. It’s natural to have concerns about forced socialization, but research published in the Harvard Business Review reveals that even those who interact less with their coworking peers still feel a strong sense of belonging to the community. This is because coworking spaces create an environment where interactions are available when desired or needed.
In essence, your ideal coworking community strikes a balance between providing you with an optimal workspace and offering opportunities for meaningful connections. By carefully considering these factors, you can ensure that your chosen coworking space not only enhances your productivity but also fosters a sense of belonging and professional growth.
Freelancing and entrepreneurship need not be solitary pursuits. In fact, they thrive in the vibrant community of coworking spaces, where you can be your own boss while surrounded by like-minded, motivated individuals who share the same dedication to hard work and innovation. Embark on your quest to discover your ideal workspace and reinvent your freelancing routine to fully embrace the benefits of your coworking membership.
You’ve already taken the bold step of breaking away from the conventional, and now that you’ve found your rhythm as a freelancer, it’s time to invest in your new professional lifestyle. There’s no need to bid farewell to your favorite barista; instead, savor that cappuccino even more after a productive day in your new coworking environment, where you can thrive alongside a supportive community of fellow freelancers and entrepreneurs.