Everything You Need to Know About Coworking Space

Coworking is a relatively new concept that has been gaining popularity, particular among freelancers, start-ups, and entrepreneurs, since the early 2000’s. This blog explains the origins of coworking, the benefits it provides compared with homeworking or traditional office space, and also provides some handy tips on how to find a suitable coworking space that meets your needs.

What is coworking space?
Coworking refers to a style of work where individuals, often from different professions and backgrounds, share a common workspace while maintaining their independence as professionals. In a coworking space, people work alongside each other in a collaborative and supportive environment, rather than in isolated home offices or traditional corporate settings.

The term coworking was first used by software engineer Brad Neuberg in 2005 when he opened a shared workspace in San Francisco, which he called the "Hat Factory." This space allowed independent professionals from various backgrounds to work alongside each other in a collaborative and supportive environment.

While Brad Neuberg is often credited with coining the term, the idea of shared workspaces and collaborative environments has historical precedents. For example, artists' studios, hacker spaces, and other collective workspaces have existed in different forms for many years. However, the modern coworking movement as we know it today, with its emphasis on community, collaboration, and flexible work arrangements, gained significant momentum in the early to mid-2000s.

What are the benefits of coworking space?
Coworking spaces offer numerous benefits, here are just a few:

Cost-Effective: Renting traditional office space can be expensive, especially for smaller businesses and freelancers. Coworking spaces provide an affordable alternative, as you can pay for only the space you need without the overhead costs of managing a full office.

Flexible and Scalable: Coworking spaces often offer flexible membership options, allowing you to choose the level of access and amenities that suit your needs. This adaptability is particularly beneficial for businesses with changing space requirements such as start-ups and SMEs who often need to scale up or down within a relatively quick timeframe.

Networking Opportunities: Coworking spaces bring together individuals from various industries and backgrounds. This environment encourages networking, collaboration, and the exchange of ideas which ultimately drives innovation.

Community and Collaboration: Working in a shared space fosters a sense of belonging and community. This can help combat the isolation that freelancers and remote workers might experience. Collaboration on projects, joint ventures, and skill sharing can also result from the connections made in a coworking environment.

Access to Amenities: Many coworking spaces provide amenities such as high-speed internet, meeting rooms, printing facilities, kitchen areas, and more. These amenities can enhance productivity and overall work experience.

Professional Environment: Coworking spaces offer a professional setting that's conducive to work. This can be especially beneficial for individuals who find it hard to focus in a home environment.

Location Flexibility: Coworking spaces are often strategically located in urban hubs, providing convenient access to business districts, transportation, and other important amenities.

Increased Productivity: The structured environment of a coworking space can boost productivity. The presence of other motivated individuals can create a motivational atmosphere and help individuals stay focused on their tasks.

Work-Life Balance: Separating work from home can improve work-life balance. With a dedicated workspace in a coworking environment, individuals can mentally separate their professional and personal lives.

Reduced Loneliness: For remote workers and freelancers, loneliness can be a challenge. Coworking spaces provide a sense of companionship and social interaction, reducing feelings of isolation.

Learning Opportunities: Many coworking spaces organize workshops, seminars, and networking events. These events offer valuable learning opportunities that can help individuals develop new skills and knowledge.

Elevated Creativity: The diverse and dynamic atmosphere of a coworking space can stimulate creativity and innovation. Exposure to different perspectives and industries can lead to fresh ideas.

Professional Image: For freelancers and small businesses, having a professional address can enhance your credibility and make a positive impression on clients and partners.

Geographical Spread: Some coworking networks have multiple locations across different geographies. This can be advantageous for individuals who travel frequently or need temporary workspace in different cities.

How do I find a suitable coworking space?
Finding a suitable coworking space involves considering your needs, preferences, and work style. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you find the right coworking space for you:

Assess Your Needs: Determine the number of days per week or month you'll need the space. Identify any specific amenities you require, such as meeting rooms, high-speed internet, printing facilities, etc. Consider your budget and the affordability of different options.

Location: Choose a location that is convenient for you, whether it's close to your home, clients, or transportation hubs.

Research: Use online platforms and directories dedicated to listing coworking spaces, such as Flexi Offices, Instant Offices, or even a simple Google search for "coworking spaces in [your city]." Read reviews and testimonials from other users to get a sense of the space's atmosphere and community.

Visit the Spaces: Narrow down your options to a few coworking spaces that seem promising. Schedule visits to these spaces to get a first-hand experience of the environment, layout, amenities, and overall atmosphere.

Consider the Community: Pay attention to the types of professionals who frequent the space. Does the community align with your industry or interests? Talk to current members if possible to get insights into the networking and collaboration opportunities the space offers.

Amenities and Facilities: Evaluate the available amenities, such as meeting rooms, quiet areas, kitchen facilities, and event spaces. Ensure that the facilities meet your work needs, such as the availability of power outlets, ergonomic furniture, etc.

Membership Plans: Understand the membership plans available and how they match your intended usage. Some spaces offer day passes, part-time plans, or full-time memberships.

Trial Period: If possible, see if the coworking space offers a trial period or a short-term membership. This allows you to experience the space before committing long-term.

Atmosphere and Culture: Consider the overall vibe and culture of the space. Some coworking spaces might be more focused on collaboration and events, while others might emphasize quiet productivity.

Flexibility: Choose a space that offers the flexibility to upgrade or downgrade your membership as your needs change.

Contract and Terms: Carefully review the membership contract and terms, including pricing, cancellation policies, and any additional fees.

Security and Privacy: Ensure the space provides adequate security measures to protect your belongings and sensitive information.

Accessibility: Check the accessibility of the space, especially if you have any mobility concerns.

Gut Feeling: Trust your instincts. If a space feels like the right fit and aligns with your work style and goals, it's likely a good choice.

Remember that every individual's needs are unique, so take your time in evaluating different coworking spaces before making a decision. Your chosen coworking space should enhance your productivity, foster collaboration, and provide a comfortable and supportive environment for your work.

Why Choose a Blueprint Operated Coworking Space?
At Blueprint, we offer a range of spaces to suit a variety of individual requirements; from secure, private office suites for when you need those quiet moments of calm, to hot desks, co-working desks and breakout areas when you need a more dynamic environment.

In addition to the features listed above, our venues in Sheffield and Stirling also have a welcoming, light and airy atmosphere, with a strong focus on community and collaboration, leaving you free to concentrate on being the best version of yourself.

So what are you waiting for? Get in touch with our friendly team to arrange a tour of your nearest coworking space and see first-hand what it can do for you and your business!