There was a time not that long ago when working in an office meant that you were surrounded by people who were employed by the same company and were often committed to the same project.
All that changed in 2005, when Brad Neuberg opened up the first coworking space called “The Hat Factory” in San Francisco. Since then, coworking has caught like fire and has spread across the country.
Before you start hunting for an office for rent, you may want to consider a coworking space. They’re ideal situations for freelancers, independent contractors and other nomadic workers who long for the camaraderie they’re missing by being apart from a physical office.
Pros and Cons of Coworking Spaces
Coworking spaces are great commercial real estate solutions for some independent workers, but they’re not for everybody. Before you jump into this latest trend in commercial real estate, consider these things:
They’re spaces for sharing ideas. Many creative professionals have found ways to connect to one another using social media and other virtual tools, but in a coworking space those people are literally right in front of you. If you thrive in an environment where you can share ideas with others and don’t mind helping out when you can, a coworking space may be a perfect fit.
You’ll be invited to all the best parties. Like a corporate office, many coworking spaces have office parties and group celebrations. If this is the kind of thing you’d rather avoid because you’re an isolated and brooding artist or are simply trying to avoid excessive sugar, coworking might not be the best fit.
Desks are cheaper than offices. Renting a professional office for one can mean a large expense with a long lease, but coworking spaces are generally much less expensive. If you just need an escape from your house so you can focus, instead of a private place to work, a coworking space can be an affordable option for sole proprietorships and individual freelancers. You’ll have a business address just like at an office, without all the responsibility that comes with a long-term lease.
You’ll have to do the laundry later. Unfortunately, leaving your home office also means that you can’t do those little things you generally get done during your work day. You can’t walk the dog over lunch, or throw in a load of laundry or stack dinner in the slow cooker. These time savers that you’ve done for years without really considering can add up and you may find that you’re spending too much of your free time doing chores if you start coworking.
Coworking spaces can be a great experience for the right type of worker, but they’re not for everybody. If you’ve been missing the office experience, it won’t hurt to give it a try — most coworking spaces don’t come with excessively long or binding leases. And who knows, coworking might be the perfect working environment for you.