The working world is changing. Advances in technology have made it easier than ever to cut the tether from the cubicle and work anywhere you please.
Provided you have a laptop and internet connection, the world is your oyster. But the appeal of working from random locations can wear thin. Working from home for too long can send you a little bit loopy and there’s only so many days you can abuse the coffee shop’s free wi-fi. Though you don’t want to be chained to the desk, it’s nice to have a regular space you can work from.
So what’s the solution?
In response to the shifting dynamics of the work world, co-working spaces have exploded. They come in many shapes and sizes, but are basically a shared workspace for individuals and small businesses. Apart from reducing the costs of renting your own office, they offer a whole range of other benefits. If you’ve ever considered working from a co-working space, there are a few things to consider to ensure you find one that is perfect for you.
Apart from the basics like price and location, here are a few pointers to help you on your way.
1) Consider how often you will be there and how territorial you are
Most co-working spaces give you the option of a fixed or flex desk. If you are the territorial type and lsimply couldn’t imagine working without framed pictures of your dog around you, then a fixed desk is the way to go. This means you have the same desk every time you go in. It’s yours to keep. But you will pay for the privilege.
For everyone else, a shared desk is probably the way to go. You simply find any free desk and away you go. Curiously, even with shared desks, people tend to goto the same desks each day, so you pretty much have a fixed desk anyway. Just be prepared that some day someone will be sitting at your desk! GASP! Lastly, most co-working spaces give you the option of full time (5 days a week) or part time (3 days a week). Simply work out what works best for your budget and situation.
2) Get a feel for the vibe of the place
Before you commit anywhere, it’s good to get a feel for the vibe of the place. Are you looking to socialise and interact with people? Or do you just want a place to work and nothing else. It’s important to find a place that matches your expectations. No point being a social butterfly in a quiet dungeon. Some places will have areas of the space that are more social than others as well. When you do a tour ask the staff what the vibe is like, whether people are talkative or not and what are the most common professions of people working there. These people will end up being your co-workers so it’s best to find something that fits your expectations.
3) Find out whether they run events
Some co-working spaces are far more than just a space. They actively contribute to the co-working culture and start-up scene by hosting and sponsoring events. Networking events are an awesome way to meet new people and expand your horizons. Especially if you are in a new city. Your new business partner, your next client or even a new drinking buddy could be at the next event. Being part of a co-working space that is actively involved in the scene makes it much easier to meet people. 4) Do they offer free coffee, drinks or other extras? Some spaces offer you free coffee, snacks, drinks or other little extras as part of your membership. These are usually rolled into your membership fee and those spaces tend to be a bit more expensive. But if you are the type to take advantage of those things then it can make all the difference. For the tax conscious among us, when you consider that your co-working membership is tax deductible, having free drinks rolled into your membership is also a way to claim your coffee addiction back on tax!
What are you waiting for? Get co-working!