Co-working: The Middle Ground Workspace
Photo by wili_hybrid.
Most freelancers I know work from home. It’s often seen as one of the perks of freelancing: it means having a five second commute to work and being able to work in one’s pyjamas.
However, there are plenty of downsides. It can be hard to focus, especially with the lure of the television or the video game console. Plus, it can be lonely, given the limited social interaction.
There are, of course, means of changing the scenery and gaining a little more interaction. Some freelancers will work out of a Wi-Fi equipped coffee shop while others will rent office space elsewhere in search of a better place to focus.
But there are still disadvantages. Coffee shops aren’t very private and they aren’t a real workspace while renting an office can be fairly cost prohibitive if the businesses isn’t bringing in a lot of money.
So, enter co-working, a middle ground between the two.
What is co-working?
Co-working is essentially a shared workspace where everyone in the facility pays a portion of the costs to make it affordable. It’s hardly a new concept — artists have been renting out lofts and sharing the rent for studio space for years — but it is quickly gaining popularity among folks working in other fields.
Co-working locations have been starting up in cities across the world, a list of which can be seen on the Coworking Wiki. The locations tend to host freelancers from a variety of fields, from programmers, writers, web designers and almost any other type who’d normally tote a laptop to a coffee shop.
Pricing varies but in reading up on the subject, I’ve noticed that most large locations offer different options, including the ability to buy a day pass for those who only need a part-time office or just want to see if the facility works for them.
Along with providing a desk or table to work at, most co-working locations also include some basic office amenities like conference rooms, printers, faxes and of course, an Internet connection. Plus, as the name implies, co-workers.
Indeed, one of the strongest appeals of co-working is being surrounded by other freelancers all working away and once again having that camaraderie in the workplace.
Not available everywhere, but it could be
Not every place in the world has an established co-working location (looking at the wiki, it seems more prevalent in North American than anywhere else) but it could be a worthwhile project to organize. Like all the artists in lofts, it doesn’t take much the find a group of like-minded freelancers and split the rent on a small office.