I wrote an article a while back listing 10 of the best co-working spaces in London, but at that point I hadn’t, somewhat ironically, actually spent many days working in one. This has changed recently, and it’s been a great move. I’m not saying it’s for everyone, and having worked from home for years, I definitely know how great it can be. I imagine if you have a family, then it’s a glorious thing.
For some though, going to a co-working space can result in increased productivity, and can also represent an avenue into new social circles. After all, how many people do we know who have met their spouses or friends through work?
A space free of the distractions you might find at home
How many times have you tried to put together 3 or 4 solid hours of work but been interrupted by an irresistible urge to wander onto YouTube, Facebook, or any other addictive site (of which there are plenty)? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. We’ve all been there. If it’s not that then it’s something else – watching a bit of tele (hopefully not Jeremy Kyle), making a snack; the list goes on and on.
Many would argue that in co-working spaces you can still do most of those things; for example, you can take your headphones along and still watch YouTube videos until your heart’s content. But once you are in a co-working space, there is something – almost a force – which discourages you from pursuing these kinds of unproductive activities. When you are surrounded by motivated, hard-working fellow freelancers, there is little/no desire to partake in activities that can most definitely wait 5 or 6 hours until you have finished a long day and can enjoy your well-earned downtime guilt-free.
It’s always good to be around people who are in similar fields and who are also on the freelance bandwagon. Do a little networking and who knows what it could lead to: new friends, a bit of extra work, or perhaps even a future business partner.
Happy people choosing their own work
There is nothing stronger than the heart of a volunteer, and that is what makes co-working spaces so much more pleasant than regular offices. Everyone is there of their own free will, doing something that they have chosen to do themselves. They’re not being told what to do by some overbearing tyrant, nor are they being given duties that are far beneath them. What does this mean? Increased self esteem and efficiency, more confidence and, ultimately, lots of happy faces.
Sometimes we take simple interaction for granted, and none are more aware of this than freelancers. Those without a fixed office will often seek out places to work where they are in contact with people – a coffee shop, a library, or….a co-working space. We are not meant to work in isolation, and while some might think that being surrounded by people and overhearing conversations is a bad thing, it is in fact the best thing….especially if that noise is being made by others who are also hard at work.
Unlike other offices
Co-working spaces are not like normal offices; they are dynamic, energetic work spaces whose decor puts them more in the bar/cafe category than the classic office category. These spaces are often filled with light, almost as if you were in a trendy loft-style apartment.
More important than the stylish interior that graces modern-day co-working spaces is their philosophy. They embrace modern trends and offer activities as well as assistance to anyone (or any small company) looking for a helping hand. It is not uncommon to find co-working spaces offering Yoga classes, social gatherings, and networking events.
Co-working spaces are leading the charge when it comes to quirky, vibrant working environments, and traditional companies are starting to take notice. A study by Harvard Business Review interviewed co-working space founders, and concluded that traditional companies must “give people the space and support to be their authentic best selves”. In this way, employees will be more efficient, have increased energy levels, and be more innovative in everything they do.
While most offices end the day at 5 or 6, co-working spaces shut their doors at around 8 or 9, if at all. This gives freelancers the opportunity to shape their working day around their life. For example, if someone has a family, he/she could get the kids fed and off to school before heading to the ‘office’ at 10 or 11, and then go and do a few more hours after dinner time.