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Coworking spaces: Everything you need to know

  • coworking spaces
Article
Published 2 months ago

The freelance and entrepreneurial economies are thriving, especially among the Millennials and Gen Z working population. In 2016 there were 55 million freelancers in the USA, and it’s estimated that by 2020 freelancers in the US will make 50% of the total workforce. But where do freelancers and digital nomads work? You have definitely seen them in the cafés or the park, however, with more than 10,000 coworking spaces around the world, remote work has been redefined. Here we look into the benefits of coworking spaces, the etiquette for deskmates, and we give you tips on how to choose the right coworking space for you.

Coworking spaces vs. working from home or a café

coworking space

Romina, a Mexican expat in Mauritius and entrepreneur, has been working from a coworking space for the past five months. Having experienced it all (working from home, a café, or an office), she says: “A coworking space is a middle point between working in a café, at home, and at an office. The atmosphere is very relaxed and friendly, but also inspiring and productive. As an entrepreneur or freelancer, working away from home and drawing a barrier between work/home is important to keep a rhythm and stay focused. A coworking space comes with the necessary tools to succeed at that — great wifi, stationary equipment, and a network of freelancers that can help you with your tasks. Still, you don't need to dress up to go to work or stick to a formal schedule.”

A shared space means meeting new people, exchanging ideas, and being part of a community. While it’s okay to sometimes feel like staying in the comfort of your own home or snuggle in the corner of your favourite coffee shop, a coworking space can help you focus on your daily tasks and long term goals with a sense of routine. And you don’t even have to worry about the opening hours, as most coworking spaces welcome coworkers 24/7. If you are still wondering whether it’s worth joining a coworking space, think of all the amenities that you cannot always afford at home — ergonomic furniture, chic interior design, fully-equipped meeting rooms, Wii consoles, etc..

Other benefits of coworking spaces

networking

Reportedly, people working from coworking spaces are more productive and happier. There are many reasons linked to the effectiveness of coworking spaces — reasons that stem from favourable social interaction and the healthy atmosphere. For example, in a coworking space, you can share your ideas and information about your project without feeling threatened, as there’s not that much direct competition or need for strategies to win at office politics. At the same time, it’s not just about you and your goals — you are part of a social movement, which shares the same values of collaboration and learning.

In a coworking space, you are part of a community, which can improve your motivation, and help you create structure and discipline to boost your productivity. At the same time, you can gain a great sense of fulfilment by bringing your skills to light, and giving guidance or support to others.

The coworking space etiquette

coworkers

As in every space where you co-exist with others, there are some regulations for your benefit and others. At the end of the day, everyone should be able to produce work, achieve their goals, interact with others or sit quietly and work in silence. So, what are the dos and don’ts of coworking spaces?

  • Know the noise policy before you burst into laughs with a fellow coworker, or ask a question to a mate five desks away.

  • Remember that coworking spaces operate on a community basis. So, no matter how busy you are with your work, or how many unanswered emails are waiting for you, make sure you dedicate some time to introduce yourself to the other coworkers.

  • There’s no doubt you have a life outside work, but do your best also to attend events organised by your coworking space, or after-work drinks. In one of these outings, you may end up meeting an investor for your genius idea!

  • Usually, coworking spaces offer soft or hot drinks for free, or even snacks and wine. But before you make the mistake of indulging into someone else’s food, ask around to learn what's usually in offer and what is off limites (unless you brought it).  

How to choose a coworking space

coworking space

In a coworking space, you will find different types of professionals (freelancers, entrepreneurs, small businesses) and personalities. But you have control over your wants and needs, so try to define these before becoming a coworking member.

First, consider why do you want to work in a coworking space. For example, if it’s to interact with others, or to gather your team around a table and discuss the next big project, schedule a tour before registering. Look at the common places — is there a lounge or a meeting room? Do they provide the necessary equipment (projector, conference phone, etc.)? Remember that this is the place where you should be able to engage, chase your passions, be yourself, find or offer help, network, and keep yourself motivated.

Romina goes to a coworking space three to four times per week: “It has a lovely atmosphere. I enjoy the fresh and positive attitude of the people working around me. We often have lunch together or go for after-work drinks, so it has become like a family; we all know and support each other's' projects, which is fantastic for the early stages of an enterprise. I also like the location. It is an accessible meeting point for people from the North, West and the highland cities, so no problem at all to arrange meetings. Being inside Vivea Business Park in Mauritius also has its perks — it is safe, clean and simply beautiful, so I'm always happy to come back here.”

Coworking spaces are built around the science of how people work and bring the latest productivity trends. There are coworking spaces for all tastes — the environmentally conscious coworker, the pet owner, for women only, or for the active and fit. Regardless of your type and interests, there’s one thing for sure — you are in search of a stimulating environment, and the coworking space of your choice should cater for this.

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