Remote workers, freelancers and self-employed people highlight among the advantages of their work the opportunity to set up an “office” wherever they want. In this article, we tell you about co-working spaces: what they are, what they are, and their advantages and disadvantages.
Lockdown showed that workers in most areas do not have to work from an office. And some didn’t have one to begin with. But working from home all the time is not the best option. Children, pets, and a fridge and a sofa all interfere with concentration.
You can try to organize your workplace – find a separate room, lock the door and discipline yourself so that you will not break down for another cup of tea, spontaneous cleaning or help with homework.
Or you can go to a place where everything is already taken care of for you: a co-working space. These specialized spaces are suitable for individuals and small companies.
What is co-working
Coworking is collaborative working. In the modern sense, it means a space where people gather and work together as a team or individually. More about what co-working is in this article.
History of origin
The first co-working center was opened by Brad Newberg, a programmer in San Francisco in 2005. He did not have enough business communication at home, many things distracted him from his work, so he proposed to meet in a special place to work. Participants were also encouraged to meditate, eat lunch and ride bicycles together.
Now urbanists are looking at such centers through the concept of ‘third places’ – not work and not home, but an urban public space where people can come together to interact and socialize.
Co-working is a space that balances the immediacy of working at home/café with the discipline of the office.
A cafe is not really suited to teamwork or focused work. It’s noisy and crowded; people go there to eat and relax, not to work. Meeting in a cafe for a working meeting of several people is not a good solution.
Renting an office to organize work is expensive and cumbersome. You have to pay for rent and other services, furnish the space, keep it clean, run the internet and buy equipment.
Co-working does not require an office routine, but it also does not distract you with an informal environment.
They usually come equipped with:
- tables and chairs,
- Internet and power outlets,
- meeting rooms,
- office equipment,
- a dining area,
- seating area,
- a gym,
- even sleeping pods.
For a fee, a person or team gets a place where they can stay together and solve work tasks without being tied to a fixed office.
In addition, such centers are often used for various events: lectures, master classes, trainings – residents can attend them free of charge.
Who is suited to working in a co-working space?
People who are not tied down to an office and work from home may need:
- A change of scene – to work in a more formal environment and get in the mood for work;
- Getting out into the world – socializing and making friends, both personal and professional;
- meet up with colleagues – to plan meetings, discuss work tasks and brainstorm.
You can meet marketers, programmers, designers and journalists working remotely, freelance or as self-employed people in co-working spaces.
It is also not uncommon to find people traveling on business, or teams who need to hold a big meeting or conference.
The centers are also great for start-ups. In the initial stages, teams work for an idea and it is not practical for them to rent an office, but it is extremely convenient to gather in a cosy space and adjust the number of seats for participants on their own.
But it is not only start-ups that choose such spaces. And well-established businesses, instead of renting an office, may prefer to work in a center that is immediately equipped with everything they need.
- If you work alone, rent space for a month or come in on convenient days and pay only for them.
- If you work as part of a team, book individual spaces, a room or part of the space and meet for common tasks or day-to-day work.
Types of co-working space
The division of centers into types is very arbitrary. They all share the same purpose, but among them we can distinguish the following.
There are spaces for everyone without restrictions; there are also spaces for specific groups – for example, only programmers or seamstresses.
These are spaces where teachers and educators come together to teach children.
Workshops where people create: drawing, sculpting, sewing, dancing and many other activities.
A looser format where people can relax, help themselves to sweets and tea/coffee or work. They also often host creative evenings and concerts. You usually have to pay for the minutes you spend there.
They can also be:
- Outdoor or indoor – outdoors or indoors;
- Furnished or not so furnished – some have everything up to and including sleeping pods and some don’t even have a printer;
- Segregated by gender and other characteristics.
Advantages and disadvantages
To conclude the article, let’s summarize and consider the pros and cons of working in a space that is open to all.
The advantages include:
- A full-fledged workspace – setting the mood for work without being tied to the office;
- An inspiring environment – connecting with people and making connections;
- Technical equipment – printers, wi-fi, electricity;
- Additional options – language learning, sports, educational training, creative master classes;
- And, for that matter, free tea, coffee, and cookies.
On the downside:
- Working among strangers – someone’s abundance of “newbies” doing all sorts of work (someone may talk a lot on the phone, think aloud, or type deafeningly) can be stressful;
- Cost – for people who are used to working from the office or from home, the thought of paying for a workplace may not be a good thing at all;
- Terms of the contract – the fine print can hide the penalties for violating the center order.
- Co-working gives a great opportunity to replace a boring office with a modern and equipped place to work.
Text by Юровский Кирилл