3 Great Things About Co-Working
I work in a co-working space and have done since fairly early on in my freelancing journey.
The place I’m at in Hull is called C4DI, which stands for Centre for Digital Innovation, although I’m not sure I’m contributing much to that. It’s a funky pointy building that overlooks the Humber Estuary and houses a co-working space as well as lots of permanent offices.
With my membership I can sit in the co-working area downstairs and work to my heart’s content as well as use meeting rooms and attend a variety of events.
It’s definitely helped my business and I’m pretty sold on the whole co-working thing. Here’s 3 great things about working in a shared office. Plus, one slight downside.
One regularly cited downside of self-employment is the loneliness that can come with working for yourself, by yourself. There’s a distinct lack of office banter in the home work life. No ‘water cooler chat’, if you like.
With a shared office, this certainly isn’t true. Now it could be that for you, working on your own is a major perk of what you do. For many writers, designers and other professions which are often done by introverts, not being in a room full of other people can be exactly what you want.
But after a while it’s nice to know there’s other people out there. And you may want to build relationships with people who do similar things.
The great thing about a shared office is no one’s forcing you to be there. So, if one day you really do just fancy being in your own space, you can be. You can stay at home or maybe find a coffee shop.
But the opportunity to meet people and actually make friends is there. I’ve met like-minded people on a similar career path to me and people who are a bit further along who I can look to for advice and support.
The occasional murmur of office banter breaks out and there’s usually someone to speak to at lunch if I fancy a break from the screen.
Also, cool things happen when people in the same field bump heads. Things like creating a cool event for creatives. Which as it happens, me and two fellow co-workers, have done.
Click here to find out more about our event Creative Point and the next event which features none other than copywriting supremo Glenn Fisher!
Find Your Flow
Travelling to a workspace each day can help to switch my brain from home mode to work mode. Getting into a mindset which is conducive to work is often a case of traveling from A to B. Going from my bedroom to my living room, doesn’t quite cut it unfortunately.
There is something about going somewhere designated for work that makes me more productive. Frankly there are just too many distractions and not enough accountability at home.
Getting up and ready and having some kind of commute (although not necessarily at the same time as everyone else, thankfully) is a pretty healthy way of breaking up the day.
In the office, even though I’ve got no manager peering over my shoulder there is still a sense that I’d be transgressing in some way if I wasn’t doing work. When everyone else is furiously typing away, you feel like you should be too.
That’s not to say it’s some magic fix. Oh no. There’s still procrastination aplenty. But I find it’s the difference between 20 minutes of distraction and 2 hours.
Ok, I’m definitely just ill-disciplined but one of the great freedoms of self-employment is being able to acknowledge that you work in a certain way and moulding your day around that.
Bumping into opportunity’s
In a place where there are not only other freelancers working but other small and medium businesses working in the offices upstairs, you never know who you might meet and what work may come of it.
At C4DI, community is heavily encouraged, so there are fairly regular events and opportunities to meet other businesspeople and make genuine connections.
I’ve got work by collaborating with other freelancers and obviously every relationship you build is yet another connection that may be able to refer you on in future.
Not only that but one of the best projects I’ve had has come through getting to know people who work in and around the building.
You never know where something might come from. Being a part of the local business community is always going to have benefits.
The slight downside of making friends
Now obviously all this does have a small cost. But it really is a small price to pay.
When you get to know people and enjoy spending time with them it can mean that you’re not so productive! I could never understand why people would go to the library together ‘to work’. Whenever I tried it, I got nothing done!
The distraction of chatting with co-workers is very much there and sometimes the office isn’t the most productive place to be. It’s not really something to complain about though as having a chat is a good thing to do and I can always just whack my headphones in or decamp to a different location nearby if I really want a stretch of focused work.
It’s also that very spontaneous interaction that has led to some cool projects popping out of the woodwork. Projects like a certain creative event that I definitely haven’t already mentioned, which you should definitely check out if you’re in the area!
Do you have a co-working space near you? Maybe you pop to the library or know a group of people that use the same coffee shop? Or maybe you’re quite content with your home office. That’s also fine.
Co-working spaces, incubators and shared offices are becoming more and more common and are popping up all over the place. Whether you’re in a big city like London or Manchester, which have loads or somewhere smaller like Hull, there’s bound to be something nearby.
Check out what the offering is and how much it costs. Some are super flexible with the way you pay so you can fit it around your life. It’s definitely worth trying out.