The hype around co-working spaces for independent workers

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The hype around co-working spaces for independent workers

In the past few years, shared co-working spaces have become popular with independent workers and freelancer professionals all around the world. This is largely due to co-working spaces counteracting the often-felt sense of isolation that working independently can bring.

So are they really worth the hype? Or do the benefits really depend on what motivates you in your work day?

To help save you time and some pocket money figuring that out, here are some commonly agreed-upon advantages and disadvantages to co-working spaces.

Advantages

Network while you work
In this communal office space environment, you’re bound to come across a whole range of people who can quickly become a valuable network of referrers or even collaborators!

The old adage of ‘it’s not what you know, but who you know’ really applies here. Treating your co-working space as an opportunity to network outside of your usual arena and build connections may be just what you need to take it to the next level.

Be around those who inspire
Sometimes just being around those who have their heads down working on their goals is enough to inspire us to do the same. It can be so easy to allow for distractions when you work from home and there’s no external standard set or motivation to compare to. But get yourself in the same room with inspired, driven individuals and some of that is bound to rub off!

Lower your costs
If you freelance or work independently out of an office because that environment works for you, you might want to look at co-working spaces. You get the same office environment with facilities at less than the expense of renting your own office, and you don’t need to commit to a long lease either.

Disadvantages

Outside distractions
Sometimes other people can be distracting. This can be particularly so when you have more vocal workers around you (and it makes it even worse when their business is none of yours!), or maybe the environment in a co-working space is almost too social. It’s important to ensure the collaboration and networking advantages of co-working spaces are kept as a positive, with planned break times to chat or catch up so that your focus while you’re there is on your own to-do list. This is where it’s really important to hone your skill of not reacting to those around you and focusing on the bigger picture of your own work.

A return of ‘office conflict’
If you left permanent work in part due to office politics, you might want to really carefully consider co-working spaces before leaping right in. While all offices (co-working or company) have their benefits in interacting with others, it’d be almost negligent to avoid mentioning the risk of conflict in the close working space when co-working. Where there’s proximity, there can be disagreements, and where there’s diversity in the kind of work being carried out, not to mention the styles of work of those involved, it’s important to approach the whole idea with the notion that less-than-shiny things might come up. Having said that, conflict can usually be fairly simply resolved if everyone approaches it calmly and levelly.

This list is by no means conclusive. There are a lot more to both the advantages and disadvantages of co-working. But hopefully now it’s just helped you to get an understanding of what kind of thing might crop up for you, on either side of the coin.

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