With more people doing freelance work, working for themselves or working in small business startups, there are more people than ever without an office space in the traditional sense. This means a lot of people have begun working from home, or from cafes and libraries, or whatever suits them. However, what if you are someone who finds a more social atmosphere is the most productive? Many people gain enjoyment from a more traditional office environment, and find it to be the most beneficial way to work easily without the potential distractions of home or a public area.
The term “coworking” was first launched in 1999, by Brian DeKoven. He coined it as a description of an environment that facilitated collaborative work and business meetings. Then, in the same year, one of the first coworking studios opened in New York City, called 42 West 24, although it had been open long before the term became popular. Then, in the UK, the first official coworking space wasn’t opened until January 2005 in London. However, “coworking” only became popular in March 2007, when it was trending on Google Search. Soon afterwards, in October 2007, it was listed as a term on Wikipedia.
Since then, coworking has only expanded in popularity and many offices designed purely for coworking have been founded. It is easy to understand why the demand for coworking spaces has developed so rapidly, as there are many positives to working in such an environment. However, you can’t undertake an organic Google Search of the term without finding a few horror stories about the negatives to coworking. The pros easily outweigh the cons on this one, though.
In starting up your own business, or working for yourself beneficially, it is paramount to create connections and utilise networking in order to succeed. This is one of the main benefits and positives of a coworking environment – everyone you meet and work with is a potential network connection, or even a client for your business. Through coworking, you meet dozens of people simply through working alongside them during your normal day. Whereas, if you were working alone, it would be more difficult to connect with new people and potential clients.
Asides from the networking factor, the people you work with in a coworking space can benefit you and your business in another way. It is proven that working with people who are likeminded and similarly creatively driven would help enhance those skills in you. Ideas people thrive in a situation where you can bounce ideas off others, as it creates a more stimulating environment. Other people and businesses are willing to help you out in a coworking environment, and often an exchange of services can be given. For example, a website designing business may work in the same coworking space as a marketing business, and they could compliment each other by exchanging certain online services.
In a coworking office space, there is an existing sense of community. This creates a certain feeling of belonging, which you wouldn’t necessarily get from working alone or at home. Your coworking colleagues become your friends, as well as associates, which is one of the most enjoyable factors about traditional office work. It also creates the opportunity to still participate in work events, such as Christmas parties or get-togethers.
A particular main feature of working in this refreshing coworking environment is that most coworking spaces are often very forward in their attitudes towards work, and constantly trying to improve and finding new ways to produce results. This means that you will often find coworking organisations that host events and seminars, which are designed to host new ideas and inventions, as well as showcase up and coming business ventures. These events provide you with the opportunity to learn new things and discover interesting projects, which can lead to growth within your own business and create innovative ideas for ways to improve.
As with most things, there are downsides – yet, as much as I have asked around for ideas and Google Searched my way through the topic of coworking, there aren’t a lot of cons to create an equal balance to the positives. However, the one recurrent negative to a coworking space seems to be the noise levels, particularly when someone appears to be persistently too loud. Sometimes, if a space is too noisy or crowded, it can become difficult to concentrate and work to the best of your ability. This one works on respect, though; if everyone in the office understood the necessity to keep the noise level at an acceptable level, then there wouldn’t be a problem.
Another potential negative, slightly related to the first point, is that other people can sometimes be a distraction. It is easy to get sidetracked from working by getting involved in conversations with your fellow coworking friends, but that is possible in every job, and you must maintain a level of focus in your work. In a coworking office space, it is possible to listen to music through your headphones, for example, and often the office will have the radio on in the background (at the workers’ discretions).
The only remaining negative I uncovered is the feature of messiness in a coworking environment. This is definitely one of those office complaints in every work area. There are countless jokes online about sarcastic and passive aggressive signs above kitchen sinks, in regards to the doubtless dirty dishes waiting to be washed. This is something that can’t easily be avoided in any work office space situation, as you may often find yourself guilty of slacking off your cleaning duties when there’s work waiting! A factor that’s similar and does relate to coworking spaces, however, is the concern with who provides the general amenities, such as toilet paper, washing up liquid, milk and teabags. Each coworking office space is different, but in general it is the facilitator of the particular space who takes care of those things, but it would be important to check.
Yet, despite those certain points, one of the main positives of a coworking environment is that it creates freedom for you and your business. The hours are far more flexible than in a typical nine-to-five office job, and, if you work for yourself, you can pick certain days to work in the coworking space and other days you can work from home – whatever suits you! The point of a coworking environment is to be flexible and help each business succeed in their individual way.
Ultimately, coworking is all about the people, who become your friends and motivators in your business. The sense of community is paramount, and stimulates your own business growth and improvement. Coworking spaces themselves are all designed with business advancement in mind: the spaces are generally open and designed to enhance productivity in this professional environment. You have the freedom to interact and generate social and professional encounters, or simply choose not to.
Coworking is a far more stimulating environment for freelancers and small businesses, rather than working from home. The interaction and sense of community generates productivity, collaboration and resulting success for everyone involved.
Here at Bright Yellow Creative, we work in a coworking office space as part of a growing business of coworkers called Indycube. There are several workspaces available through Indycube, all throughout South Wales currently. As a Community Interest Company, Indycube is not profit driven, which means you can get ideal, stimulating coworking office space at excellent value! (As little as £10 a day!)
The particular office where Bright Yellow is located is Indycube Tondu, which is perhaps the smallest of the Indycube offices, and actually (handily) located in a pub! The coworking office space is brilliant, and full of interesting, likeminded people who can all exchange ideas and stimulus – as well as partake in a minor cheeky gossip about last night’s television. Indycube Tondu is the ideal creative atmosphere to encourage your business’ growth and success, so if you are interested, then try it out for a day!
You can also find other available Indycube office spaces, on the website here – as well as the official blog, Twitter accounts and news features!
Join our community – Come and cowork with us today!