To co-work or not to co-work: The pros and cons of working away from home
Co-working spaces started sprouting up all over major towns and cities in the last couple of years. Instead of coffee shops and libraries, freelancers and small businesses can now work out of a stylish, modern building for much less than it costs to bag some private office space.
For some, it’s the ideal alternative to working at home, particularly if they live with other people or have a young, and demanding, family. For others, it doesn’t make much sense to have to commute to an office after they packed all that in to become a freelancer in the first place...
Which co-working camp are you in? Time to find out.
PRO: You can collab with other freelancers
Working alongside people in different industries and professions has its benefits. Being around so many other freelancers and small businesses can bring in a few work opportunities, and that’s often without pitching or faffing around.
Most spaces will have either a physical or digital jobs board, where your co-working mates can advertise for other freelancers to come and work with them.
CON: It’s definitely pricier
Some co-working spaces are cheap and cheerful, while others offer all the bells and whistles for a big, chunky Direct Debit payment. The more you spend, the more privacy and exclusivity you can usually expect to get.
Location is a big factor too. If you live in a big city, like London or Manchester, you’ll be lucky to find a decent space for less than £200 a month. If you’re in a smaller town, there’ll be less choice but cheaper membership prices.
PRO: Feel part of a community
Even the most introverted and solitary of beings can find it hard to work on their own all day every day. Working side-by-side with fellow freelancers is great for more than just getting new work, you can share your successes, moans about clients, and more.
If you’ve ever felt like your full-time employed friends ‘don’t get it’, co-working could be one of the best decisions you ever make.
CON: You can’t always choose who you work alongside
Some co-working spaces offer hot desking, where you can work at whatever desk is free and pay a slightly cheaper membership. That’s fine, unless you’re going to be coming in a bit later than usual and you end up next to the toilets, a noisy chewer, or the grinding, whirring espresso machine.
For some, it’s not enough to have space to work, they need to be in control of their environment too. One week of hot desking and your home office’s small problems might start to seem manageable after all…
PRO: Access to loads of extras you wouldn’t get at home
Now there’s more competition, co-working spaces have a lot to offer. As well as unlimited broadband, there’s usually unlimited tea and coffee to keep you refuelled. Some spaces have free parking, a gym, and meeting rooms to hire when your clients visit.
If you choose the right one, co-working spaces aren’t just a good place to get down to business, they’re great for meeting people and impressing your clients too.
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