The Benefits of Coworking (Especially Hotdesking)
If you’re working from home and wondering how coworking can benefit you, then this will explain. I promise to do an animated version of this with voice-over soon!
This is illustrated with photos of MinorOak Coworking in Nottingham, England.
Picture this. I’ve just met someone who works from home. I tell them I own a coworking space in Sneinton Market, Nottingham. The first thing they ask is “What’s that? What’s a coworking space?” After I explain, they say, ‘Oh, I already have a desk at home.’
I get it. I used to work from home, too. I also had (and have) a home office. And working from home wasn’t all that great, at least not every day without exception. I joined a coworking space and it made things so much better. Why?
I’d Get a Better Start in the Morning
How often do you waste your entire morning? It used to happen to me a lot when I was working from home. Before that, when I had a regular job, I had a morning routine and I stuck to it. I got dressed, ate breakfast, then walked or drove to the office. When I arrived, I started working. Freelancing, I didn’t get that break between my home life and professional life. Now that I’m at MinorOak every day, I have an active and pleasant commute: fifteen minutes on the bus and fifteen minutes walking through the Nottingham City Centre. I can look in shop windows and I notice new businesses. I can go out to lunch or the pub with friends. It’s nice to be out and about. I love being in the city centre.
Minor Oak is easy walking distance from the centre of Nottingham, just across the street from Hockley.
I Could Escape the Distractions of Home
For many of us, home isn’t just a difficult place to get started, it’s also full of distractions that make it hard to concentrate once we’re working. Pets, children, laundry, cooking, cleaning and even the stereotypical messy sock drawer: they all become attractive pastimes when there’s freelance work that needs to be done. Focus and motivation can become huge issues that affect income and performance. If you’re responsible for kids, look for a coworking space with a nearby nursery and give yourself a break once or twice a week.
MinorOak has a Nursery just up Avenue A: Pretty Windows Day Nursery.
I Could Clear Away the Clutter and Start Clean
When your main office is at home, hotdesking can help clean your slate. It gives you an opportunity to sort out your goals for the day and get away from the clutter and distractions of your home office. You’ll stay on-task and get things done.
MinorOak is all hotdesks – you always start with a clean desk.
I had an Easier Time Staying Focused and Motivated
It’s not just the clean start that helps with motivation. It’s being around others who are focused and productive. They can help you get past barriers and feel accountable. A coworking space that lets you concentrate AND communicate is best.
MinorOak has a social work area on the ground floor and a quiet work area upstairs.
Coworking Twice a Week Helped Me Structure My Time
Working from home everyday can make you feel like you’re in limbo. Hours fade into days, days into weeks, weeks into months, and you may feel like time is getting away from you. You may be fighting procrastination and feeling frustrated. Worse, your business may not be moving forward. Try task-based coworking. Set aside coworking days for specific tasks, like social media, accounting or research. Make time for networking, too. You may find that coworking adds the structure you need to keep your time under control and provides the random interactions you need to stay engaged, inspired and moving forward in your work.
Coworking Helped Me Put Work in its Place
When you lose control over your time, your work seeps into your personal life. You can’t sort out when to work and when to relax. You should have time to spend with the people you love and the hobbies you enjoy, but you may find that even though you’ve got enough time for everything in theory, work keeps getting in the way. Coworking can help you keep work in its place.
Using Shared Resources Saved Me Money
How much are you paying to heat your house all day, every day? At a coworking space, you share heat. How many times has that expensive ink dried in your printer because you almost never use it? At a coworking space, you share printers. How many times have you struggled to get decent lighting and a good angle for a video conference? At a coworking space, you share purpose-built A/V set-ups. And of course, you’ll also have access to a meeting room and other shared spaces.
I Walked More AND Exercised More
When you’re working from home, it’s too easy to become sedentary. Forget 10,000 steps a day. You may find yourself walking a quarter of that distance. Walk or bike to your coworking space, or walk to and from the bus, train or tram. Take fitness classes or join a gym that’s near the coworking space or along your commute. Suddenly, basic fitness is built into your routine. You build strength and stamina, and you feel healthier and happier.
MinorOak is a block from the Victoria Leisure Centre – a photo of the pool is above. There are also several gyms in the neighbourhood, along with dance studios and Circus Hub. It’s also walking distance from all the city centre bus and tram stops and there’s a locked, gated bicycle storage area on the market square.
I Enjoyed Drinks and Lunches with Friends, Clients and Coworkers
Working from home can be isolating. You may see your family and friends; you may communicate with clients online. However, your life is probably missing the kind of laid back socialising you can do with colleagues, not to mention the kind of joyful, chance encounters you can have with and within a city. When you always work from home, it takes a special effort – and a big chunk of your day – to join friends or clients for a drink or lunch. When you’re in a coworking space at least part of the time, you can plan lunches, coffee and evenings at the pub around your city centre days. You’ll also be out and about – especially if you walk, ride a bike or take public transport – so you’ll stumble onto special events like festivals, public art and outdoor markets.
MinorOak is has plenty of good pubs, cafes and restaurants within a short walk.
I Had an Easier Time Resolving Issues and Was Often Able to Help Others, as Well.
Have you ever got stuck on a problem or question and lost momentum because of it? Are you frustrated with some of your processes but not sure how to improve them? When you’re at a coworking space, you have access to other micro-business owners with a wide range of expertise. One of your coworkers may be able to get you past that barrier or onto the fast track with a few sentences over your laptops.
MinorOak is industry-inclusive; members and visitors have a wide range of expertise and experience.
I Found Colleagues: Other Micro-Business Owners
You’ll have things in common with your coworkers, too. Almost all self employed people have to think about accounting, customer service, taxes, time management and marketing. And in a hot-desk based space that also attracts people visiting town and people on day passes, you never know who you’ll meet and what you’ll learn on a given day.
MinorOak is outward-facing, with a door to the collaborative / flexible work area right on Gedling Street. There’s a community of regulars, people who come occasionally, and visitors.
I Found it Easier to Stay Up-to-Date on Technology
Maybe you’ll hear about a mobile app that’s boosting everyone’s productivity. Maybe you’ll find out what a new operating system is like before you decide to take the plunge. Maybe a younger coworker will show you a hot new social media site that lets you reach customers you never even thought about before. Maybe an older coworker will give you some fantastic advice on closing a sale. You’ll find out about the best resources and the most helpful books, videos and webinars – and you might even be able to share training costs.
MinorOak is industry-inclusive, and our members include everyone from recent graduates to semi-retired consultants.
I Found My Message Was Reaching More People
This is where we explore how coworking can help you grow your business and boost your income. Expand your business network locally with networking events and workshops that take place where you work. Many coworking spaces can offer you a free or discounted venue for events you’d like to run, as well. If you’re establishing yourself as an expert in your field, then your coworking space can amplify your message and expand your reach by helping to market your events and your business.
MinorOak has workshop and event space that’s available evenings and weekends and is free or discounted for members. There’s also a meeting room that’s always free for members to use.
My Coworkers and I Shared and Liked Each Other’s Posts
Your coworking space can support your marketing, and so can your coworkers. Most of us know what it’s like to feel invisible online. It can be difficult to engage on social media, build a mailing list, and draw the right people to your website. Both your space and your colleagues can like, retweet, comment on and share your social media and blog posts, and they certainly will, if you do the same for them. It’s a much more effective quid-pro-quo than the anonymous kind. These are people who really know and care your business.
My Coworkers and I Traded Referrals
Online marketing support is a powerful benefit, but referrals are even more valuable. There are some networking organisations out there that cost as much or more per year than a coworking space, their main purpose is trading referrals, and they don’t even provide a place to work! With a coworking space, you can refer people whose work you know and respect, people you work with regularly. You can feel good about the referrals you make – and the referrals you receive.
MinorOak is a dynamic community where you can get to know new people almost every time you come into the space. That’s because the desks aren’t tied to specific people, pay pass holders are common, and local business people often stop in for a meeting, a chat or a cup of tea. Some of those people are looking for referrals.
I Soon Had Clients and Subcontractors Associated with the Space
Your coworking space can generate work directly, too. If it’s hotdesk-based with a dynamic community, then you will regularly connect with people who visit, other members and daypass holders. You’ll meet new people at your space’s events, too. You may find yourself working with other people who use the space. Maybe you’ll hire them, maybe they’ll hire you, and maybe you’ll take on projects together or even start a joint venture. Who knows where it could lead. Instagram, Indiegogo and Uber all started out as conversations in coworking spaces.
MinorOak has space for both open and private collaboration: round tables in the collaborative work area and a meeting room that’s free for members.
I Was Much Happier, in Fact, I Wondered How I’d Ever Coped Without Coworking.
Oh yeah. And happiness. I know. It’s not supposed to be something you seek in your work, right? But it turns out that almost everyone is happier in a coworking space than they are working alone. Many even credit coworking with rescuing their sanity!
I Earned More Money and Felt More in Control of My Future
And… this shouldn’t come as a big surprise after the discussion of problem solving, information sharing, marketing support, referrals and project partnership – but the vast majority of people who use coworking spaces become more successful and make more money. Most find that the space more than pays for itself in increased productivity and new clients and projects.