by Susan Murphy
As a home-based worker, I often find myself craving a new environment in which to create. I’ve recently discovered co-working, which is basically a space where all types of workers can come together in one spot to work. These places are usually membership based, where you pay a monthly fee for a certain number of hours. Not only does a co-working space get you out of the house and force you to put pants on, but it has a bunch of other great benefits. Here are just a few.
Most co-working spaces are open concept, meaning desks are arranged around a room and you can just come in and sit down and get busy. But you’re often in close proximity to other workers, and that means an opportunity to get to know each other. Co-working spaces are all about connecting and collaborating, so it’s socially acceptable to introduce yourself to the person next to you and strike up a conversation. You never know who you’re going to meet or what kind of business connections you’ll make.
Co-working spaces are communities. I go to The Hub, and they have weekly and monthly events that keep the community bonded. For instance, once a week they have a “Wine Down”, where workers can bring their own wine and have a chance to mingle with other workers and network. Some workers will keep office hours, where you can go and get (often free) advice from lawyers, web developers, accountants and more. Events are one of the key things that sets co-working spaces apart from the local coffee shop.
Co-working spaces are not just open work spaces, but they usually have meeting rooms available too, that you can book when you want a little more privacy or to have a more intensive working session with colleagues or clients. Often some meeting room hours are included in your membership, or you can book the room for a small hourly rate. The co-working space I go to even has a larger workshop room that you can book for training sessions.
Co-working isn’t just about sitting in a room with a bunch of other people, heads down into laptops and not talking to anyone. They are vibrant, active communities where you can get stuff done AND make some great connections along the way.