As a work-at-home solopreneur, I face a critical fork in the road every morning around 10 o’clock. Should I brush my teeth and change out of my pajamas, or should I just keep grinding away at my desk?
If this dilemma sounds familiar to you, it may be time to join a coworking space.
If you’re unfamiliar with coworking, it’s really quite simple. A coworking space is a shared office environment where all sorts of hackers and hustlers – solopreneurs, small business owners, creative types, etc. – pay monthly membership fees to get out of the damn house and get shit done.
Does more productivity and more human interaction sound appealing to you?
Well, push the cat off your keyboard and keep reading for five reasons you should consider joining a coworking space.
1. Be around other humans.
One of the biggest bummers of working alone is the lack of community. With a coworking space, you have coworkers.
Hey, it’s right there in the name! (And, as a bonus, those coworkers are potential customers and partners too!)
Aliza Scott, customer experience manager at Scott’s Marketplace, agrees. As a team member of a fully remote company, she decided to switch things up by spending one day a week at WeWork, a coworking space in Chicago:
I love working from home, but spending every Wednesday at WeWork is a great change of pace and has its own set of perks. Being in an environment where others are working on their own projects kickstarts my productivity, and the gorgeous workspace doesn’t hurt. With daily events, both structured and social, it’s also a great opportunity to network, learn about other burgeoning businesses, and break up the daily routine. Plus, all-you-can-drink coffee at the ready, all day, and beer on tap in the afternoon make the workday all the more enjoyable.
2. Get More Shit Done
There’s something about the buzz of an office that makes humans more productive. Maybe we see the other humans working and instinctively want to work to fit in.
Improving productivity is a major perk of coworking.
This is something Cindy Boynton, chief operating officer at Scott’s Marketplace, can attest to:
I look forward to our WeWork days because I get face time with my remote team and our productivity shoots through the roof! The environment at WeWork is collaborative and exciting! It motivates us to use the space to brainstorm ideas and host social events, and changes up the day-to-day remote environment routine. We often wait to meet at WeWork to wrap up projects so we can take advantage of the face time and the space. It is a great networking space too. They frequently have pop-up shops of local services, retail shops, and corporate organizations providing information about their latest trends and they even hand out samples of their products. We love the samples!
3. Separate Work From Home
Small business owners like us may not be 9-to-5 types, but we still need healthy boundaries to achieve work-life balance. Nothing helps create that boundary like a short commute to and from an office.
Michelle Steber, customer account manager at Scott’s Marketplace, enjoys breaking up her week by working from WeWork every Wednesday:
Our fully remote company has the awesome flexibility of working from home. However, on a weekly basis, our Chicago team meets at the WeWork Kinzie location to collaborate. I love my WeWork days! I take the train into the city, walk about a mile to the “office” along the Chicago Riverwalk, and then mix and mingle with my colleagues and other entrepreneurs.
4. Get all the Office Things
I’ll admit that I’ve totally had customer meetings at my dining room table.
If that’s not your cup of tea, coworking spaces often include conference rooms, in addition to printers, stamps, mailboxes, and more.
Hey, sometimes it’s the little things.
5. Grow Your Brain and Your Network
Coworking spaces love hosting events. Whether you’re looking for a midweek lunch ‘n learn or a Friday afternoon happy hour, your local coworking space probably has a stacked social calendar along with some awesome amenities (like food and booze!).
Michelle Steber enjoys the perks at her coworking space every week:
Along with the fruit water that’s truly a work of art, WeWork offers so many bonus goodies such as lunches, themed treats around the holidays (even pie on Pi Day 3.14!), and I cannot forget happy hours with the new addition of wine on tap. Need I say more? Aside from the perks, WeWork’s community vibe inspires and drives our team, and is an asset to the company overall.
I like being a part of the Galvanize community because it is a lot more than just a shared workspace. Each day you could be participating in an interesting workshop, mentor hours, seminars, and social events aimed at professionals in the startup arena.
But How Do I Pick a Coworking Space?
Convinced? Great! Now it’s time to actually pick a coworking space. Location and price are obvious factors in your selection, but there’s far more to it than that.
- Do you need a dedicated desk where you can leave your stuff or are you cool with grabbing a seat at a community table?
- Do you need access to meeting spaces or phone booths, or do you mostly work via email and messenger?
Don’t overlook the culture of the coworking space. Some offer a relaxed environment and attract a lot of creative types. Others are more formal and cater to professionals in more staid lines of work.
Fortunately, you don’t have to commit to a membership on your first visit.
Most coworking spaces offer a free first day or a low drop-in price for new folks. Plus, organizations like The Seattle Collaborative Space Alliance or Arizona Coworking Alliance offer passport programs so you can try a number of coworking spaces in your city.
“Our flexible WeWork membership gives me a ‘best of both worlds’ work atmosphere,” Michelle Steber said. “We have a Commons membership which allows us to pay per usage and hang in the main common area. Sometimes it can get a tad rowdy when they have their special events, but we love the lively atmosphere nonetheless.”
So what are you waiting for? Change out of your pajamas and go join a coworking space today!