How co-working could work for you

How co-working could work for you

There’s a growing trend among small businesses, entrepreneurs and freelancers towards using co-working spaces – membership-driven communal workplaces that are flexible, shareable office environments.

Small business owners, remote employees and independent professionals can all enjoy multiple benefits by jumping on the co-working bandwagon.

Co-working provides networking opportunities

Spending time in a co-working environment not only imparts a sense of belonging within your membership group but also provides the chance to expand your professional network to other people in that community – and beyond. You’ll meet, share experiences with and, ideally, learn and benefit from other business owners across a range of industries outside your own.

What’s more, these co-working spaces want to foster this networking culture. With this in mind, many of them host regular networking events for exchanging ideas or simply socialising.

Co-working has got you set

From a professional standpoint, co-working spaces generally come equipped with everything you need to get down to business straight away. Things like Wi-Fi, major office equipment, whiteboards, phone systems and projectors are generally included. If the space has your best physical interests at heart, comfortable and ergonomic chairs may also be available. They also organise building security and cleaning.

Co-working often comes with perks

Some co-workplaces come with conveniences and perks, such as showers, kitchens (usually with that all-important coffee maker) and bicycle storage. Some spaces even boast meditation rooms, on-site cafes and nooks for taking naps!

Co-working spaces give you a professional boost

Being able to provide clients and customers with an official business address – versus your home address – can make a more professional impression and add to your credibility. On-site meeting rooms and conference rooms allow you to discuss projects in depth in an appropriate environment.

Some co-working environments, such as Queensland-based Co SPACES and Melbourne’s The Cluster, can offer receptionists who’ll answer your phone, greet your guests and collect your mail.

Co-working affords flexibility

Co-working environments enable flexibility in a couple of ways. Many have 24/7 access, which means you can work when you want. Plus you can tailor most memberships to suit your schedule, budget and office-space needs.

Second, there’s usually flexibility in the type of workspace you can choose. Whether you like working sitting down, standing up, in a quiet room or in a livelier environment with a bit more buzz, you’ve got options available to you. Common office options include private offices, co-working desks and more collaborative areas.

Co-working can make you more productive

Co-working environments can also increase productivity. For example, in a recent survey by co-working space Hub Australia, 83 per cent of members say the environment has helped them to work more effectively and more efficiently than in their previous workplaces.

There are a number of possible reasons behind this productivity boost:

  • You’re in a more distraction-free environment. Here, TV or that nagging house maintenance won’t divert your attention and derail your professional momentum.
  • You’re surrounded by other industrious business owners and professionals who, incidentally, are also paying to be here and are therefore more likely to strive to get value for money.
  • You’ll be in a work frame of mind, because it’s a proper workplace (not your living room).
  • In addition to the networking and socialising opportunities already mentioned, you may have access to professional development and training programs.

Co-working can save you money

Finally, because you’re sharing space and resources, membership in a co-working space can save your hard-earned cash. You’ll save on things such as internet costs, printer costs and utility bills. Plus, you don’t have to buy your own (often expensive) office equipment.

Want to learn more about co-working spaces in Australia? Here are some examples to get you started:

Images courtesy of The Cluster.