More and more Americans are turning to freelance employment; in fact, by some accounts, it's now reached 34% of the workforce. These workers are looking for productive spaces to conduct their businesses. When your home isn't conducive to concentrating and cafes are too loud and crowded, where is a freelance professional supposed to work? One major solution to this growing problem is coworking spaces--communal offices that are shared by new businesses, digital companies, freelancers, and entrepreneurs.
When I started Firebrand Group, I turned to coworking spaces as a viable, future-oriented way to start our digital consulting agency. While coworking has been on the rise for a few years now, it looks like 2016 may be the year that coworking goes mainstream. Here are some of the many reasons why freelancers and others are turning to coworking spaces:
One of the obvious benefits of working in a space with other companies and professionals is the ability to network, collaborate, and make business connections. Operating out of a shared workspace is a way to offer your employees the company culture of a larger business without the operating costs or administrative hassles that come with it. For freelancers, the coworking model offers an outside opinion or a brainstorming session to which they otherwise wouldn't have access.
- Shared costs
One of the major perks of coworking is the opportunity to share in office costs. Compared to the costs of a traditional office space, the membership fees associated with a coworking space can warrant serious savings. In fact, Nick Clark, founder of Dallas coworking space The Common Desk, says that a business could save up to 75% in total costs by opting for a communal office space. For small offices of 10 to 15 people, it can be a great way for a growing business to save money.
The environment of a collaborative workspace has proven to add a boost of inspiration to your business--in fact, according to Deskmag's annual Global Coworking Survey, 71% of respondents described feeling more creative since joining a coworking space, and 62% said their work had improved. Many professionals who work in coworking spaces feel more self-confident in an atmosphere that encourages creative collaboration.
- Professional environment
For freelancers and young companies, operating out of your home is often considered as an easy and cheap alternative to an office space. However, the home isn't always the best location for concentrating. Whether your children want your attention or Netflix is calling your name, removing yourself from the distractions of home life and immersing yourself in a professional setting is the best way to increase your daily productivity.
- Office amenities
Pooling together resources can often result in more perks. Many coworking spaces are able to afford a few extra amenities, like UberOffices in Washington, DC, which offers its patrons free coffee, happy hours, and massage chairs. New York and Chicago-based Grind wheels in a booze cart every Friday afternoon.
The coworking model offers many options for change and flexibility. Most payment options are month-to-month, eliminating the stress of signing a lease. Coworking offers the choice of working alone or working in groups, which can lead to greater productivity when employees can choose which Many spaces offers flexible hours, so night owls have a space that works when they do.
Whether you're a start-up, a freelancer or an established company, coworking is proving to be beneficial for a growing number of people who want more out of their workspace. Do you use a coworking space? Have you considered visiting a coworking space near you? If you haven't, 2016 might be the perfect time to try it.