As a mobile worker, you can set up shop just about anywhere, from your sofa to your local library or favourite coffees shop. Or, of course, at a coworking space. As the coworking movement grows, you’ve probably learned that these flexible spaces provide mobile workers with desks and office amenities at reasonable prices, as well as offering stellar networking opportunities. But are there any less often heralded benefits of joining a space?
To get some ideas, we emailed a variety of space owners and community managers to get their thoughts on the under sung benefits of coworking, rounding up their suggestions of less often cited reasons to try coworking.
“Some people simply need the routine of leaving the house (and any undone household tasks) and then going to a designated workspace,” says Don Ball, co-founder of CoCo Coworking in Minneapolis. And discipline isn’t just for those that struggle to work enough, but also for those who struggle to stop working. “If you’re telecommuting, it can be near impossible to achieve a healthy work-life balance. Having to leave your house every day and actually put on pants can change how you approach the day and create a clear separation between work and home,” says Colin Loretz, community manager at Reno Collective Coworking.
“When you rub shoulders with other professionals in the same or adjacent disciplines, it allows you to get a glimpse of the different ways in which people position and sell their skills. For example, a copywriter might discover that other writers are considerably more prosperous because they are positioning themselves as ‘content strategists,’” CoCo’s Ball also says.
Get to know a new city. Recently moved? Several space owners suggested coworking is a great way to tap into your new community. “We’ve had several members that recently moved to Denver and gravitated to our coworking community because they needed a place to work, but also because they were new to the city and needed to meet people to introduce them to the city and events,” says Craig Baute, owner of Creative Density Coworking in Denver.
“We have lots of people that are new to Austin. We help acclimate them to the city. We tell them where to get their drivers license (can be a nightmare if you get this wrong), yummiest tacos and where to find ‘x’,” writes Liz Elam, founder of Link Coworking in Austin, Texas.
It’s green! “Turn down your AC, turn off the lights, TV etc. and work in a shared space. I don’t often see this mentioned but it has to be great for the environment for thousands of people worldwide to share lights, power, internet etc,” adds Elam.
Develop your local community. “Coworking is also a way to help local development as some projects coming out of spaces are made by locals for locals. It is a way to contribute to your community in a wider sense. Coworking is an alternative resource for education, accessible to everyone, community driven and applied to the community’s needs,” notes Konstantina Zoehrer, co-founder of loft2work in Athens, Greece. And it’s not just crisis-stricken Greece that’s looking to coworking to boost local economies. Rural and less connected communities are trying to boost employment and support local businesses by opening coworking spaces.
So what if these less common reasons to cowork have convinced you to ditch your office (or local café) and join a coworking space – how do you convince you boss, if you have one and need her approval, to sign on to the idea? Shareable has tips on swaying your supervisor to give you the go ahead, while Office Nomad has covered the ins and outs of negotiating the nitty gritty details with your boss.
Photo credit: mdanys