What is coworking?
The last 10-15 years have seen big changes in the way people work. As businesses searched for ways to cut costs and become leaner, new working practices emerged and evolved to a point where they have become acceptable alternatives to the traditional dedicated desk space. Co-working is a case in point, when the first co-working space opened in San Fransisco back in 2005 it took a while for people to realise the benefits. Today over a million people work in co-working spaces worldwide. You can find a variety of co-working spaces throughout the UK and including our own space at Cardiff containers.
Co-working is particularly attractive for start-ups and freelancers but as co-working has become more and more acceptable even large established corporates are beginning to see co-working as a viable alternative. Unlike the traditional office format, co-workers sit side by side with a wide variety of types of business. This makes them fertile ground for new ideas. Entrepreneurs are able to bounce ideas off one another in a safe environment and develop new products and services by joining forces with people with complementary skills.
How does coworking work?
Co-working is as much about the culture of the working environment as it is about the physical space itself. Co-working spaces often have a creative edge, offices are usually kitted out with trendy designs with communal areas and shared facilities that encourage a sense of community and make them a more enjoyable place to work than the rigid structure of a traditional office. Another feature of co-working spaces are short-term contracts, freelancers and start-ups don’t have to commit to long-term contracts especially when money is tight and ideas are being tested but not yet earning them a serious income.
What are the benefits of coworking?
Co-working spaces combine technology and a hospitable environment that really suits micro-businesses and solopreneurs. Also with the rise of the gig economy, there are many more people working independently who would rather not work from home or in cafes and coffee shops. The benefits include:
- A sense of community that encourages the sharing of ideas and makes them a fun place to work.
- Compared to working at home alone, co-working provides people with discipline around working hours away from the distractions that can interfere with getting work done.
- You are your own boss, the only person you have to answer to is yourself or your clients. Co-workers play hard, they also work hard but on their own terms.
- Cashflow is important to any business, the short-term commitment means that precious funds aren’t all swallowed by renting an office.
- Professional workspace in which you can be proud to meet clients for business meetings.
- Collaborate with other co-workers and even find new business partners.
- High-speed internet and other facilities mean that you can focus on getting your work done efficiently.
Technology and coworking
Fast internet connections are a must have for most businesses whether they are in co-working space or not. The popularity of cloud-based services that encourage collaboration and the ability to work from anywhere with an internet connection makes fast connections essential. The rise of the global economy means that more and more people are choosing to work in remote locations throughout the world. As long as they have fast internet they can share documents and work on projects as if they were sitting at the desk right next to you.
The rise of co-working is exemplified by the fact that the UK’s leading co-working provider is the largest corporate occupier in central London second only to the government. Today, there is a co-working space for every budget and every style of business. There is also a growing trend towards providing sector-specific space. Cardiff, in particular, has a focus on Welsh tech and the creative sector.
Should I join a coworking space?
The gig economy has given rise to a whole host of options for the self-employed and people that want to enjoy a portfolio career. Big corporates are also tapping into the potential of co-working spaces, opening up their teams to new ideas and different ways of working. As an alternative to home working, it is a real life saver for many people. Often just the routine of going to work makes a huge difference, added to the multitude of other benefits such as a sense of community and a professional working environment that we mentioned earlier.