In Australia, New Zealand, and around the world, coworking is becoming more common every year, with Australia alone seeing a 500 percent increase in the practise over the past five years.
It’s also become clear that these spaces can work for more than just tech start-ups, as a variety of businesses – from freelancers to think tanks.
But why are these spaces so popular? Some of the drawbacks might already be clear to you, but if you’re interested in the potential benefits coworking spaces can offer, read on to find out.
One of the main reasons freelancers and small businesses are choosing coworking spaces over larger offices? It’s a whole lot cheaper.
Rather than renting out an entire office block, you get the exact right amount of space to serve the needs of your business.
What’s more, memberships at coworking spaces are often flexible in terms of cost and in terms of what perks you get access to.
In other words, rather than outgrowing an office and needing to relocate, you can upgrade your plan to accommodate growing space needs – especially beneficial if you’re not sure where your new venture is headed.
Get started immediately
Starting a business can take time, especially if you need to set up a physical storefront or design an entire office layout.
With a coworking space, though, it’s ready-made for you to start working – right now.
Coworking spaces are already built and furnished. On top of that, working in a space like this saves you the trouble of handling many administrative tasks such as getting Wi-Fi, electricity, and other necessary utilities.
It’s all figured into your membership cost – and you can spend more time focusing on your business instead of keeping the lights on.
More structure than home
Especially for individual freelancers, working from home comes with a lot of pitfalls and hang-ups, such as isolation, lacking a real place to bring clients to – and a lack of structure.
That is, you might find yourself frustrated and working odd hours simply because you’re at home, your couch is comfy, your favourite program is having a marathon, or anything else out of a myriad of distractions.
In a coworking space, however, the hours are set – motivating you to come in, get settled, and focus for an entire workday.
The structure provided by a coworking space is vital to keeping you or your small group of employees on task.
Streamline your business
Minimalism is in vogue, but that goes for businesses as much as it does cleaning out your garage and desk drawers.
Working remotely from a coworking space means you bring only the essential items with you every day, minimising the distracting clutter occupying your desk in front of you.
It also keeps you ready for taking your work elsewhere if your ideal spot isn’t open, or if you’re looking for a change in scenery.
If you’re not sure how to make your business completely mobile, check out this quick guide.
A ready-made support community
The term “coworking” is apt when it comes to describing these spaces, as you’ll be constantly surrounded by other start-ups and entrepreneurs.
Taking time out of frustrating work to socialise can be invigorating – and it’s something you can’t really get while working from home.
You also can network and form crucial connections between yourself and other up-and-coming businesses, building a web of references and getting great tips from people in similar lines of work as you.
Furthermore, coworking spaces will go out of their way to host workshops, social gatherings, and other useful events for members, increasing your reach that much further.
Attractive design without the cost
While you probably won’t get a say in how the design of your chosen coworking space is put together, you shouldn’t worry too much.
Since coworking spaces are themselves businesses, they take great pains to make their space aesthetically pleasing.
In fact, coworking spaces often feature very modern and aesthetic designs that you generally can’t afford when just starting out as a company.
This ensures the employees at your start-up won’t have to be hampered by a drab greyscale office, keeping them inspired, happy, and working to push your business forward.
A coworking space isn’t the right move for all people or businesses, of course.
Drawbacks to keep in mind include a lack of customisability, a lack of privacy, and sometimes even a lack of availability when you need the workspace on short notice.
That said, these spaces can work – and work well – for a lot more people and business models than many realise.
It all comes down to understanding yourself, your employees, and where your business is – and finding the right coworking space doesn’t hurt, either.
But the risk is low – and you might look back and realise joining a coworking space was the best decision you ever made.
Isaac Church lives in New Zealand, originally from Cornwall in the UK. He’s a bit of a geek who helps businesses grow and succeed online and occasionally makes bits of awesome software. When he’s not working, he spends his time exploring New Zealand or traveling overseas. Isaac’s other interests include cycling, photography, and reading.