Co-Working Spaces: What Are They And How Can You Use Them
Reviewer and journalist Grace Murphy looks at the rise of co-working spaces and how they could benefit businesses in the post-Covid-19 world.
Co-working spaces have been growing in popularity over the last few years, but they aren’t as new as many people think. These services have been around for decades, but with the recent advances in technology, businesses are discovering less of a need to have a dedicated office. Co-working spaces are also a great option for the self-employed as well, giving them a ‘workspace’ separate from their home life. Let’s take a look at what coworking spaces are exactly and how you can use them.
"Co-working spaces allow sole entrepreneurs to have a place where they can work, but also to meet clients."
Guest Blog Post
A Brief History of Co-Working Spaces
The official history of co-working spaces started in 2005 when software engineer Brad Neuberg started a small collective office space in San Francisco. The model was perfect for nimble start-ups of the time and it quickly gained in popularity. However, these kinds of spaces have been conceptualised long before. One example is C-base, which was a hackerspace based out of Berlin. 42 West 24 was the first space to have flexible desks for individuals and teams. The model quickly exploded, with over 19,000 co-working spaces around the world today.
What are Co-Working Spaces Exactly?
Simply put, co-working spaces are areas where different companies can share the same office space. But in reality, it’s much more than that. Co-working spaces allow sole entrepreneurs to have a place where they can work, but also to meet clients. Teams can rent entire areas or even floors and use the co-working space as their de-facto office. Independent workers can jump from space to space wherever they are on the globe. Some spaces will even do things such as processing mail for you and allow you to use the co-working space as a virtual office.
Pros and Cons of Co-Working
One benefit of co-working spaces is flexibility. Co-working spaces are great if you don’t need tons of space. If your company needs to use and store equipment from time to time, you can use a back-up self-storage service like Safestore, for instance. They will ensure that everything stays safe and they have very flexible plans for business owners. You could also use them to store inventory or marketing materials.
Another benefit of co-working spaces is that they can be incredible tools for networking. You might end up becoming friends with a photographer and make huge savings on product photography, or someone might overhear a conversation and be exactly the person you were looking for. You’ll always be surrounded by like-minded people. You can also decide to work from a more private space so you can run your team as you would in a regular office.
While co-working spaces might seem like a perfect option, they do have some drawbacks.
A disadvantage of co-working spaces can come about if you are looking to hold a lot of interviews or general workforce meetings. Shared workspace also means shared meeting space, so you may not always be able to book conference rooms when you need them, or for the length of time you were hoping for, something you will need to consider when choosing your ideal space.
Things to Consider Before Picking a Co-Working Space
There are a few things you need to pay special attention to when picking a co-working space. For one, you have to make sure that you like the atmosphere. You want to see what kind of plans they offer. But you also want to check out the little things, like the speed of the internet. Choppy internet can ruin conferences and make you look very unprofessional. Just go there with a laptop and run an internet speed test to make sure. You can then start looking at contracts and additional perks.