Freelancers and entrepreneurs have taken a risk, deciding to leave the stability of a steady paycheck. They want to grow a business and become financially independent.
However, the independent life can be lonely one. Many people start a business in the garage or a home office and work long hours in isolation. They have little contact with the outside world and can slip into a feeling of isolation and depression.
For centuries, people have been working together and collaborating. They formed co-ops and trade associations and grew a profession together. Today, co-working has become a way to work together in a shared a space. People rent a desk or an office in a shared space, and everyone shares resources, like the printer or a bathroom. And the idea is growing. A recent survey estimated that 10,000 co-working spaces could open in the United States by the end of the 2016.
Technology has played a huge role in the advancement of co-working. People are no longer chained to the office. They can locate anywhere in the world and conduct business. A computer and a solid Internet connection are all anybody needs.
Bernard De Koven is often credited with coining the term co-working. The term was meant to describe people “working together as equals.” He was more concerned with how people played and cooperated in a team environment rather than a shared physical space, but overtime the term grew and came to encapsulate working together in a shared space.
“The environment they created was also designed to allow coworkers to work together, as equals,” he wrote in his blog. “But separately – each working on their own projects, pursuing their own, separate business interests. In this way, people were free to help each other without worrying about competitive pressures. And the result was productivity, community, and, surprisingly often, deeply shared fun.”
Here are a few of the other benefits of a co-working space:
Increase your network
A shared space brings many benefits, but one of the most important is increasing the size of your network. Businesses are about relationships and relationships are about people. A co-working space is a great way to meet new people and find potential contacts to sell a product or service.
People in co-working spaces come from a variety of sectors, and you never know what kind of connections you will make. The person at the co-working space might not share your business needs, but he or she might have business associates who need your product or service.
It’s easy to become unproductive at a home office. You spend the day surfing the Internet or cleaning the dishes. A co-working space creates productive energy. A person sees the creative and aggressive energy of others and wants to be productive They feed on the energy which inspires them to be creative.
You don’t want people to see you being unproductive. You will stop wasting time surfing the Internet and work hard to grow a business in a co-working space. That’s the power of working with your peers!
It’s expensive to rent an office space alone. A co-working space reduces those costs, because the expensive of electricity, water, Internet and printer ink are shared between everyone who works in the space. It makes an office affordable for many freelancers, entrepreneurs and start-ups.
Access to conference space and other amenities
When you meet with potential clients, you want to make a positive impression. You don’t want to hold an important meeting at a coffee shop or your home office. Members of a co-working space have access to a conference room. They can hold discussions in a professional space with potential clients or important existing clients. The client will be impressed with the space and realize that you own a quality organization.
Power of collaboration
Ideas are not created in a vacuum, and the potential to solve a problem is greater with multiple people. A co-working space gives you access to people who can offer you a different prospective and help you solve a problem or a dilemma. Maybe you are a programmer and can’t solve a particular bug in a program? Perhaps, you are a graphic designer. People at the co-working space can offer you an objective analysis of the design. Collaboration helps improve your business.
You also will find people who offer services that your business needs to grow. Businesses need an accountant, an attorney and other services. Often, there is somebody at the co-working space that offers these services or can recommend somebody.