Coworking has been around since 2005, when the very first space opened in San Francisco. Since then the coworking movement has erupted. The number of coworking spaces worldwide is set to grow by 116% and reach a projected 41,975 spaces by 2024. This means that around 5 million people will be working from coworking spaces. [Source]
But why are coworking spaces becoming so popular? What is it about these flexible workspaces that make them so appealing to the global workforce?
Let’s take a look at 10 key benefits of coworking and why you might consider using a coworking space.
Coworking spaces are great in terms of flexibility. Whether you need your own private office, a desk five days a week or just for half a day every now and then, these shared offices spaces are geared up to meet your needs.
They also work for almost every budget. You can design a schedule that works for you and your business without shelling out for the full cost of a permanent office space. There are no long leases or other overheads and the cancellation policies are very generous so you won’t find yourself tied into contracts that last for years on end.
When used by start-ups, coworking spaces allow companies to scale or up or down with minimal disruption. Simply hire another desk when new team members come, or stop hiring one if someone goes.
It is this flexibility that many people see as one of the main benefits of coworking. See what packages we offer at The Tribe here.
2. Being Part of a Community
It’s not just the desk space that makes coworking such a popular option, it’s the community that can be found there. In fact, this is what makes a coworking space different from a shared office space. It’s not simply a group of people splitting the rent and working independently in their own part of the office.
Coworking spaces are inherently social and community driven. Coworking is all about connecting with like-minded people who share your values and your approach to work. It gives people who work for themselves access to a support network that they wouldn’t otherwise have. This support network is there to help you grow your business, achieve your goals and generally thrive.
The community aspect is one of the most important benefits of coworking.
3. Networking Opportunities
Nearly all the women I have spoken to since we opened have mentioned how much they dislike traditional networking events. Whilst we all understand the importance of networking for business success, many of us feel uncomfortable standing in a room full of strangers and attempting to sell ourselves and our businesses. But the networking that occurs in a coworking space is very different.
Working alongside people from all different business backgrounds with completely different skill sets leads to a much more authentic form of networking. Conversations occur naturally throughout the day and the connections that you make are much more organic. You get the opportunity to meet people from different businesses who you would never normally come across.
4. Knowledge Sharing
When you work for yourself, especially if you are a one-(wo)man band, it can be quite restrictive. Not having colleagues to bounce ideas off of can be one of the hardest things about being self-employed. It’s ever so easy to sit at home trying to work out how to do that thing to your spread sheet that sorts all the columns out for you and getting nowhere. Chances are, if you’re working in a coworking space, someone will know the answer.
Knowledge sharing and access to the hive mind is such great benefit of coworking. You can run your ideas past people , ask for advice, get different perspectives and learn from their experience. What a great resource to be able to tap into.
5. Increased Productivity
As many of us have experienced during the lockdown, working from home can be great and there are so many advantages, like not having a lengthy commute and being home for deliveries. But working in a space that you normally associate with downtime and relaxing can have some quite dire effects on your productivity.
It’s easy to get distracted at home by the endless housework that needs doing, the pets that need your attention, or even the fridge that is calling your name and tempting you with snacks. And don’t forget the constant risk of napping when work gets a bit too tiring.
When you are working in a coworking space, these distractions aren’t a problem. The environment can be much more conducive to work. Plus you’ll be more motivated to work by watching all the other coworkers getting stuck into their own work.
I’ve had many positive comments since we opened from women who have told me that increased productivity is one of the best benefits of coworking.
6. Combat Loneliness
Working from home alone can also lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation. It certainly did for me. Unless I made a concerted effort to go out and see people, I spent a lot of time alone. Even with the school run and the polite chat with other parents, I still felt quite isolated when it came to my business as none of those conversations were business-related.
I really missed having conversations with colleagues and having people to share my frustrations with and equally my business wins when something went right for me.
Coworking proved to be the answer for me. As soon as I set up this office and welcomed my first few members through the door, that loneliness evaporated and I felt part of a community again.
7. Collaboration Opportunities
The collaboration opportunities that arise from coworking has got to be one of the best benefits of coworking. I’ve lost count now of the number of people who have embarked on a joint project with others they have either met in the office or through The Tribe Online.
Connecting people has always been one of my business super powers and being surrounded by so many amazing female entrepreneurs allows me to easily spot opportunities for people to work together, pool their skills and share resources.
When a photographer mentions that she’s looking for more small indie brands to shoot lifestyle photography for and I know a small indie brand that needs lifestyle photography, I hook them up. When someone says they would love to create an online course but has no idea how, I can connect them with our resident expert online course creator. It’s almost serendipitous working in a coworking space.
8. Boost in Creativity
Working in an environment with so many different people can also provide a real boost for your creativity. I find myself continuously inspired by the conversations that take place in the office and the different perspectives that I get to experience.
Members are very good at making suggestions for one another too, whether it be content suggestions for social media, blog posts or newsletters or ways to market and promote their businesses.
9. Promotes Business Growth
It is said that you should surround yourself with people who are doing what you want to do. Preferably people who are more successful than you. Being around successful people will make you want to be successful too. You’re also more likely to get good business advice and referrals from successful people.
People who choose to work in a coworking space are mostly self-employed business owners, freelancers and entrepreneurs who are successfully running and growing their own businesses. So it makes sense that if you want to do this too, you should surround yourself with these people.
If you are already running your own businesses, one of the benefits of coworking is the opportunities to grow your business. After a while you should have all the connections you need to be able to up-level, develop and outsource where necessary. You’ll have a network of trusted business buddies to help you on your way and support you on your journey.
10. Better Work-Life Balance
Finally, coworking can help to achieve a better work-life balance. Many people who have been working from home during the pandemic have reported difficulty switching off from work at the end of the day and consequently working many more hours than they should be. This can often be a problem when you live and work in the same space.
Leaving home to go to a coworking space ensures clear boundaries between home and work. You aren’t left looking at your desk of an evening feeling like you should be working more. You can leave the office behind with a clear separation between these two aspects of your life.
Have you found any other benefits of coworking not mentioned here? If you have, please share them below. We’d love to hear what you love most about using a coworking space.
If you are now convinced and would like to find out more about using our shared office space in Totnes, please get in touch with your questions or email Stacey to book a desk email@example.com
Stacey Sheppard is the founder of The Tribe, a small community-driven coworking space in Totnes that caters to creative, growth-oriented female entrepreneurs by providing an inspiring working environment designed to foster collaboration, connection and community.