Five benefits of coworking spaces6 min read
The Gig Economy means more people are moving from traditional office spaces and 9-5 schedules, to working remotely from the rest of their team or freelancing. Because of these shifts coworking spaces are sprouting up all over the world to cater to what the next evolution of work looks like.
As an entrepreneur who started out at my kitchen table, and is even drafting this article from that very same table, I have found great value in coworking spaces that help the work-life balance of being an entrepreneur and having a life.
Here are five of those benefits.
1. Office away from home – So your family doesn’t hate you
As nice as it is to work from a home office, there are definite benefits to having a place to go to focus and set your mental energy to “work-mode.” This creates a very definitive line of availability to your family and your clients.
I don’t work from a coworking space all of the time, so I do try to have places in the house set up to be work spaces as a signifier for myself and my kids that work is getting done. But there are times when it’s important to draw a physical line for everyone, something a little more tangible than the sign I hang on the door to my home office when I need to work interrupted. (My sign does have a P.S. that interrupting in the case of loss of limb or housefire is okay.)
It’s easier to put yourself in home-mode (or in my case, mom-mode) when you’re not “at work” when you have an actual workspace you go to regularly.
2. Maintain sanity/contact with the outside world
After leaving my corporate job and launching into my entrepreneurial endeavor it was nice to stay in my pajamas until I absolutely had to get dressed. I often joke the book covering my entrepreneurial journey (after the millions are made) will be called, “I may never wear pants again.” But while working from home is a great option, it’s nice to have balance. P.S. Don’t steal my title!
The first couple of weeks of working on my own I was focused on recovering from the crazy 80-hour work weeks and beginning to deal with a completely different type of stress. Except this time, I didn’t have anybody to talk to about it, or to relate to. By week three I was feeling lonely and was starting to go crazy. I found a couple of local coffee shops to work out of for a change of scenery, but people at coffee shops weren’t necessarily conversational. They didn’t want to talk about work, can you believe that? To their credit I was starting to be a bit desperate for human conversation and may have come off as a bit crazy.
About this time I was invited to present at a coworking space on the other side of town and realized just how starved for human interaction I was. This was my first introduction into the coworking space and I was hooked. The environment buzzed with the energy of people who were in the same mindset as me and who were thrilled to have conversations about crazy ideas and projects. I had found my tribe, my people.
3. Accountability- We all need that sometimes
Because we all need to be in #GSD mode sometimes it helps to have a space where you feel guilty perusing Facebook. When I’m in an open work-space I convince myself there are people watching my screen to see if I’m being productive can really help. I know no one is really watching, but I like to pretend. There is also a general energy of productivity and the hum of business happening that keeps my energy and creativity flowing.
The conversations being had are great for accountability. When everyone is working on cool stuff and getting things done you also want to be checking off cool stuff on your list so that you can share and keep your co-coworkers updated on the progress of your ideas. When someone asks how that project you are working on is going it’s nice to have a positive update.
4. A place for new ideas collide
One of my favorite things about a coworking space is that everyone is working on something different. Now, I know the same argument can be made in a traditional office space, but Dan from accounting is working on something different than I am. Sure. He is. However, in coworking spaces you can have someone working on something revolutionary within a different industry, a new technology, or just something awesome like a project to better humanity. These aren’t things that you are going to find in a traditional office space.
As a creative person I thrive on bouncing ideas off other people and feed on creative energy. It’s important to find balance in the creative ideating and the working, but working from home in a silo for too long is destructive to my creative process.
When you’re open to collaboration you never know who you’ll find either. A coworking space was where Reid and I first collaborated on a project which has opened a new world of possibilities for both of us and preceded the launch of our company.
5. New opportunities
If you’re open to collaboration and conversation than a coworking space is filled with an abundance of both. Through coworking spaces I have: Found a new business partner, launched a startup, worked on several projects and gained clients based on relationships built in these spaces.
The trick is to introduce yourself to anyone you have the opportunity to, listen more than you talk, offer your experience or expertise as a collaborative tool rather than a client building pitch and being genuine in your friendships. I’ve also found the more people I can connect to each other the more opportunities come my way. It’s that whole karma thing.
This isn’t really a top five thing per se but if you have a fur child most coworking spaces in the Phoenix area that I’ve visited are dog friendly. This is handy considering a third of our company is canine, but it also means there are other dogs available to hug during the day as well. It’s a quality of life thing.
Coworking spaces in Arizona
Here is a list of coworking spaces in the Phoenix Metro area. We’ve frequented Gangplank, CO+HOOTS and most recently are officing out of Galvanize. Let us know in the comments if we’ve missed any!