Who is it for?
Co-working has exploded in recent years. You’ll find some type of shared workspace in most towns and cities around the UK.
If you imagine shared workspaces are made up of bearded hipsters who run pop up food stalls, or geeky tech dudes wearing the same t-shirt for 9 days on the trot, you’d be right. But crucially, you’d also be wrong.
Co-working really is a democratic space to grow your business, get support and share ideas with other users. On occasion, you’ll find departments from large organisations in co-working space. Using their proximity to startups and entrepreneurs to get close to investment opportunities. The energy created by rubbing shoulders with remote workers, and other independent professionals is clearly seen as a positive for business growth.
Space is a defining factor.
Finding the motivation to get your head down isn’t always easy when you’re working out of your spare bedroom. Distractions – or the lack of them – can affect productivity.
Co-working can offer all the advantages of working in an office; desk space, connectivity, human contact, whilst still allowing you to get something done. Most will offer zoned areas, clearly defined for networking and sharing ideas and frustrations, as well as quieter spots for getting your head down.
The bare domesticity of the traditional work-from-home space melts away in a co-work. You can be focussed and driven and really appreciate the value of what you do in a way that isn’t always possible when you’re looking at an unmown lawn or a pile of ironing. Having control over your work/life balance creates discipline. Structure is good, but it’s even better when it’s on your own terms.
At their core, co-works are inclusive. They don’t concentrate on one particular type of industry or service, all of human life is there. Even if you physically make something – rare though that seems in our service-based economy – you still need to do admin, have a marketing strategy and push for sales.
Evidence from co-work members show that this diversity makes it easier to celebrate your business identity. There are no workplace politics that you’d find in a traditional office. You’ll get the opportunity to explain what you do regularly to a host of different people, helping you to gain clarity on your goals.
A sense of community is key and in a shared environment it’s much more likely that members will use their unique skills to advise or benefit others. With no direct competition it’s easier to be magnanimous. This culture of community and collaboration engenders positive camaraderie that lone workers can often feel is lacking. Connecting, whether it be through networking, training or even over coffee will strengthen a worker and ultimately their business.
So who is co-working for?
Everyone. Especially you.