If your home office is starting to feel cramped but you can’t afford to rent a dedicated office, maybe it’s time for you to think about setting up shop in a coworking space.
Coworking spaces are shared work spaces that you can use as and when you need to. You can rent a desk or a dedicated office on a monthly, weekly or even daily basis. There’s no need to sign an expensive and restrictive rental agreement. You can run your business from a coworking space without breaking the bank or losing your mojo.
Each coworking space is different in its layout and amenities, but most offer workers a kitchen (kitted out with plenty of free tea and coffee), all the office supplies you’ll need and a range of events—from yoga sessions to business master classes.
The flexibility of coworking also means that as your business grows you can easily scale up. As you need to, you can rent more desks or offices. Most coworking spaces offer virtual offices, too, and you can rent out meeting rooms on an ad hoc basis.
What’s more, you’ll be part of a community of like-minded souls. Coworking spaces attract freelancers, entrepreneurs and owners of small businesses—all of whom have a drive to thrive and succeed in whatever they do.
How Can You Get Started?
Finding a coworking space that matches the needs of your business is vital. First, you need to work out what you want in terms of location, amenities and space. Also, some spaces specialize in specific sectors or run business development programs and incubators.
Next, you need to come up with a shortlist of coworking spaces that fit the bill. Book a tour of potential spaces to see if they match your expectations and needs. Sancar Ayalp, head of partnerships and business development at NYC-based The Farm Coworking, said: “During a tour, make sure you chat with the people in the space. It’s important to make sure the community is a good match for the ethos of your business.
“Also, check out the events on offer at a coworking space. This will give you a good idea of the sort of work that’s done there and the opportunities such a space could offer you,” Sancar added.
Maximize Your Time
When you start working at a coworking space, view it as an opportunity to grow and further develop your business. Here are five tips for maximizing your time at a coworking space:
1. Introduce Yourself
It’s an obvious point, but on your first day make sure you introduce yourself and your business to your fellow coworkers. A coworking community is a networking goldmine. Use it.
2. Go to a Few Events
Whether it’s a “lunch and learn” session or an exercise class, try a couple of events to find out more about the space and further integrate yourself with the community.
3. Use the Community Manager
Most coworking spaces have a community manager who can help during your first few days while you’re finding your feet. A community manager is also a great source of information, too. Whether you have a question about the space, its community or your business, make sure you make full use of their knowledge.
4. Consider a Work Exchange
A work exchange is a great way to network and a cost-effective method of getting what you need for your business. For example, if you’re a marketing company that needs a new website, try to find a developer in the coworking community to work with on this project. You could then repay the favor by helping the developer market their business more effectively with a killer social media campaign.
5. Run an Event
Once you have settled in, consider hosting an event at a coworking space. You’ll have a ready-made audience with the coworking community and help on hand from the space’s management team. It’s a great way to showcase your expertise and drum up extra business and interest in what you do.
Coworking spaces are passionate about seeing their communities succeed and grow. You’ll never be faced with the loneliness of a home office, the unprofessional atmosphere of a coffee shop or the high cost of an office rental again.
Instead, you’ll be part of a vibrant community in a space filled with amenities and expertise that you can use in a highly flexible manner. It’s a win-win-win situation all around.
About the Author
Gemma Church is “the freelance writer who gets tech.” A journalist, copywriter and blogger for the science and technology sectors and editor for the NYC-based specialist healthcare and tech space The Farm Coworking.