If you work independently, then you get to choose your workplace. If you’ve spent time doing the work-from-home thing, you may have discovered that your house is not the Palace of Productivity you had hoped. For many of us, home is full of distractions: chores, pets, children, hobbies…. It can also be surprisingly hard to stay focused and motivated without coworkers, and sitting alone in a home office every day can take a toll physically, not to mention making you feel isolated and out of the loop.
If you’re a work-at-home freelancer, entrepreneur, remote worker or consultant, you may have already decided you need to get out of the house for at least part of the week. You’ve probably tried your local library or coffee shop — and that may have helped — but a coworking space is an even better choice. Here are seven reasons why.
1. You can give and get help with planning and problem solving
Coworking brings together people with different backgrounds and fields of expertise, so when members help each other with problem solving, they can come up with original, insightful solutions. MinorOak has only been in business for one year and I’ve seen members make breakthroughs based on each others’ advice more times than I can count. It always has a positive impact on both people.
2. You’ll make friends who also run single-person businesses
The best coworking spaces aren’t limited to a single industry or role, but many people in coworking spaces do have something in common: they are running single person businesses. That means they can share knowledge on client relationships, bookkeeping, time management and more. Being in a coworking space makes it easier to stay up to date on the newest tools, rules and techniques, and you will get tips on apps, marketing techniques, and even changes in tax law. You may have wonderful friends and a loving family, but a community of independent workers can support you and your business in ways people with regular jobs just cannot.
3. You can help each other with marketing and referrals
Coworkers can refer each other and reinforce each other’s social media presence – and the coworking space can participate too.
You will work side by side with people in a variety of specialisations, and you’ll be able to give each other knowledgeable recommendations and referrals. There are organisations that exist just to provide mutual referrals, but the quality of recommendations from coworking colleagues is higher because you know each other well and work together regularly. This marketing and referral network, which can be casual or formal, helps members to lengthen their reach, bring in more business and become more successful in their work.
4. You may find new clients and contractors
Your coworking space may be good for more than just referrals – it could turn out to be a direct source of work. It’s common for members of the same coworking space to hire each other, work together on joint projects and even start companies together. We’ve got several successful workgroups that have formed at MinorOak, and others that have found a home here. I’m proud to have made several introductions that have led to successful collaborations.
5. You’ll be in good company!
Getting out of the house and working with others, even for a day or two a week, can have an amazingly positive effect. You will be connected to a community of smart, interesting and creative people who are blazing their own paths in business and directing their own careers. You will be surrounded by motivated, hard working, goal oriented men and women. Your confidence will soar and your business will move forward more quickly as the path to your goals becomes clearer. (And you’ll have shoulders to cry on when things don’t go to plan.)
6. It will help you stay active
For many people, working from home means being less physically active than ever before. Coworking spaces give home workers not just a change in venue, but a chance to be more active. Commuting by public transport often means plenty of walking, and some people can even walk or ride a bike to their coworking spaces. Stopping at the gym, the park or the playing field becomes easier when you’re already enroute.
Not an athletic person? They say walking at least three to five miles a day can add an extra seven years to your life, but it won’t happen effortlessly if you work from home. It might if you’re a member of a coworking space and have an active commute.
7. It will be easier to structure your time
Home workers often find that time seems to slip away. Coworking can help structure work time, providing well-defined starts and ends to work days and a rhythm to work weeks.
When you’re a member of a coworking space, you can get up, get dressed and go to work in the morning. When you leave for your coworking space, you take the tools and materials you need for the day. You are away from your home office and ready to start clean. Before you leave for the day, you must define what you want to accomplish and what you need to have with you to get it done.
You can reserve specific tasks for the coworking space. For example, we have a teacher who corrects papers, a freelance writer who uses the quiet work area to compose blog posts, and an employee of a local company who uses the A/V pods for sales calls. Associating time, place and type of work leads to better focus – and getting more done!
People who join coworking spaces tend to become happier and more successful*, and it’s not just luck. Working with others in a shared office space opens up opportunities and sources of knowledge and inspiration that you can’t get any other way. Working in a centrally located coworking space makes it easier to stay active and connected to your city. There are opportunities online, but the strongest connections are still made and maintained in person. That’s why most people who join coworking spaces find that the membership fees are easily covered by new opportunities and more productive work days.