Ever heard of coworking spaces?
Loosely speaking, these are workspaces that let you work autonomously in an office-style environment or use an office on flexible terms. More than an office alternative, this innovative way of working has become a lifestyle for modern workers and business owners.
How do coworking spaces work?
Coworking space options range from daily/weekly/monthly/flexi passes to dedicated desks and shared offices. This is what makes it ideal for freelancers, start-ups, entrepreneurs, small teams, and independent professionals. Some coworking facilities cater to both professionals and students at the same time.
Depending on your needs, you can drop in and pay a fixed hourly rate, book a dedicated desk, sign up for long-term membership, or hire an office space.
Typical facilities they provide are:
- 24/7 access
- High-speed internet connection
- Ergonomic seats
- Power outlets
- Communal printer/copier/fax machine/phone booths/etc.
- Conference/board rooms for hire
- Shared kitchens, bathrooms, lounges, power nap stations
- Complimentary beverage
- Private branch exchange (PBX) systems
Some of the bigger companies, like The Company and Regus, offer serviced or managed offices for small teams of 2-20, as well as event spaces.
The offices are basically cubicles with high walls, allowing you to block out some noise have a sense of privacy. You can pay as little as P25/hr (Vananaz), P150/day (Co.Lab Einland) or P2,999/month (The Spot). Meanwhile, a 5-to-8-person office may cost P50-85k per month. Prices include electricity, internet fees, tax, and 24/7 access.
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Benefits of coworking spaces
Since the concept was introduced, coworking spaces have been growing exponentially in number. It makes sense as more professionals ditch their 9-to-5 jobs to work more flexibly. In addition, more entrepreneurs are going beyond traditional brick-and-mortar operations and more companies are outsourcing work processes to remote teams.
Here’s why professionals and businesses thrive in coworking:
1. Work structure
For freelancers working at home, it can be difficult to keep a line between work and home. You’re exposed to a lot of distractions like the TV, your bed, your pets/children, your family, and house chores. Coffee shops are no different as they tend to be too loud or crowded at times.
Coworking facilities, like Altspace Cebu and Hive Coworking Cafe in particular, provide the same laidback vibe of a cafe but with some form of structure that’s ideal for working.
2. Networking and community
Being left to your own devices can be liberating, but it can also be isolating. And feeling like a lone warrior can have a negative effect on your mental wellbeing. There are moments when you’d almost miss the crazy deadline-rush and hustle in a traditional office setting. Freelancers know this too well.
Well, a coworking space gives you the best of both worlds. Though you are working on your own projects/business, a coworking space lets you become part of a community of like-minded professionals. Being surrounded by hard-working and passionate people will leave you feeling social, driven and energized.
For business owners, being in a diverse community opens up opportunities for creating connections.
In fact, connections are one of the main reasons start-ups and entrepreneurs pay to work in coworking spaces, as opposed to renting an office space. Coworking puts you near people who could potentially help your skills or business to grow.
Managers of coworking facilities normally work to cultivate the right vibe for networking and socialization. None of that is forced, of course. If you want to focus on your work, you are free to choose an isolated workstation. But if you want to grow your connections, you can simply transfer to the shared table or office a few steps away. You choose when and how to interact with fellow co-workers.
Coworking spaces buzz with creativity, intellect and motivation. They expose you to people coming from different backgrounds – bloggers, photographers, graphic artists, writers, business owners, mentors, CEOs, etc.
This presents a platform for meeting influential persons, accomplished entrepreneurs, and great thinkers. There’s a potential to “pick their brains” or use your co-workers as a sounding board for your business ideas.
4. Emotional support
If you constantly experience self-doubt as a small business owner or a freelancer, surrounding yourself with fellow entrepreneurs and professionals will give you a much-needed emotional boost.
Being amongst peers can inspire you to push through those moments of self-doubt. Every co-worker you meet will have a story to tell and a lesson to inspire you.
Renting an office space comes with overhead costs and extra obligations. Can you commit to a lease? Can you afford to pay monthly utility bills? Can your capital cover a custom fit-out or renovations? For startup or small business, this excess baggage may be too heavy.
If your business model requires a physical location, a coworking space allows you to rent one on a much shorter term with limited conditions. It’s also easy to scale up your office space as your team grows – switching plans can be done without much hassle.
Shared offices free you up from the usual obligations of renting an office, so you focus more on directing and growing your team.
Some coworking spaces, like Open Mind Coworking Space in IT Park, host community events that foster collaboration among its members. In other words, they help their members to collaborate and upgrade their skills so there is constant workflow for everyone.
Working alongside people who are passionate and goal oriented will inspire you to work more diligently. The work culture in coworking spaces supports productivity, learning, and success.
Another way coworking facilities help you become more productive is by offering amenities for recreation and relieving stress. It’s no secret that stress can cripple productivity. You’ll often be given access to a napping station or areas for table tennis, chess and air hockey.
Coworking statistics reveal that 64% of co-workers are better able to complete tasks on time; 68% were able to focus better while coworking; and 91% have better interactions with other after coworking.
Bottomline: Coworking hubs nurtures effectiveness and productivity, leading to increased income and higher chances of success.
If you haven’t considered coworking spaces yet, you could be missing out on these really cool benefits.