I recently had the opportunity to contribute to an article on coworking in the Federation of Small Business’s newsletter, First Voice. Jo Faragher, a journalist and editor with FSB, sent me a few questions, and she gave me permission to publish them — and my answers — on this blog. These are great questions that are quite relevant to the role of coworking in the future of work, and to how coworking can solve some of the nagging issues freelancers, consultants and solopreneurs have when working from home full time.
Jo: Tell me some more about your business – why were you inspired to offer a co-working space?
Jo: Why does co-working help small business with networking and collaboration?
Jo: What else can it help with?
- Industry inclusive coworking, as we have at MinorOak, brings together people with different ways of thinking and fields of expertise. That means when members help each other with creative problem solving, the insights and solutions they come up with can be really amazing. It’s different than in a standard workplace, where people tend to share the same type of background and similar perspectives.
- On the other hand, most people in coworking spaces do have something in common: they are running micro-businesses. That gives them a shared frame of reference.
- When you’re running a micro-business and you’re around a group of other people who are doing the same thing, it’s much easier to stay up to date on the newest tools, rules and techniques: invaluable tips on software, phone apps, even changes in tax laws.
- Coworkers can refer each other and reinforce each other’s social media presence. The coworking space can participate in this, as well. This marketing and referral network helps members to lengthen their reach, bring in more business, and become more successful in their work.
- Working in isolation everyday is problematic for most people. People who work from home often find themselves struggling with loneliness and lack of focus, and they may have trouble staying motivated. Getting out of the house and working with others, even for a day or two a week, can have an amazingly positive effect.
- For many people, working from home means almost complete physical inactivity. Coworking spaces in city centres are fantastic, because they give home workers not just a change in venue, but a chance to be more active: public transport often means plenty of walking, and some people can even walk or ride a bike to their coworking space.
- Coworkers can leave the space at lunch to go window shopping or eat out. They can go out afterwards, too. It’s social, it’s active and it puts people who are usually cooped up at home in the middle of the action again. As someone who spent most of her working life in city centre offices, this has always been an important part of coworking to me.
- Home workers often find that time seems to slip away from them. Coworking can help structure work time, providing solid starts and ends to the work day and a rhythm to the work week. That increases productivity.
- When you leave for your coworking space, you take the tools and materials you need for a day’s work. You are away from your (possibly cluttered) home office. This leads to better focus – and getting things done!