How to tell if a co-working space is right for you

Joel Svensson

Mobile technology has made it possible to carry a virtual office around in a backpack. However, one still needs internet access, a comfortable workspace, and a suitable place to meet clients. Enter co-working.

For a monthly fee, co-working services like Hub Australia allow business owners and professionals to use communal offices. Members are free to interact with each other, enjoy a coffee from the kitchen, and use the meeting rooms as required.

However, it may not be for everyone, so ShortPress wants to help you determine whether or not it’s right for you.

Consider cost

Co-working spaces can vary from 100 to 800 dollars per month. Prices vary according to frequency of use and benefits. Typically, working full business weeks with minimal benefits will cost you between 200 and 400 dollars per month. While this is pocket change compared to office rent, it’s certainly not an insignificant cost.

Many co-working spaces have trial plans for under 50 dollars per month, allowing tentative co-workers to get a feel for the environment.

Much like having a gym buddy, most people tend to be more disciplined when they have others around them.

Allow others to inspire you

Staying motivated is a key challenge of self-employment. Waking up and heading into a co-working office may help you switch into “work mode” more easily. Much like having a gym buddy, most people tend to be more disciplined when they have others around them. Being answerable only to one’s self can be an obstacle to motivation, and co-working can help avoid that.

In addition, being exposed to other hard workers, swapping ideas and collaborating, may also inspire your own creativity.

Maximising flexibility

Co-working spaces are low-commitment, low-cost and can often be booked at short notice. Many growing businesses need a space to meet clients, but can’t yet commit to a five-year lease. Co-working spaces are an excellent solution to this particular scalability barrier.

Networking opportunities

Making connections is an essential part of practically any business. In a building filled with entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and other professionals, it would be harder not to network; potential clients and collaborators are everywhere.

This may also solve that other perennial problem of self-employment – isolation. If you work from home, you know it can be a very lonely experience, and using a co-working space will get you out of the house and interacting.

Some co-working users have reported difficulty in committing to extended periods of uninterrupted focus because of the noise.

Beware of distractions

Networking and socialising like this runs the obvious risk of being too much fun. Some co-working users have reported difficulty in committing to extended periods of uninterrupted focus because of the noise. Many co-working spaces have private rooms than can be booked to eliminate just this problem – but depending on your plan, this may cost extra.

Whether or not co-working is right for you depends on how you like to work, how fast your business is growing, what your networking goals are, and of course affordability. As with any workspace, getting the most out of co-working is all about fit – and co-working certainly gives you a lot of options.

Joel Svensson

Joel Svensson is a Melbourne-based freelance writer specialising in politics and business.

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