So, you’re busy trying to get your start-up off the ground, grappling with book-keeping, trying to keep abreast of the latest digital marketing tools, and of course providing products and services that satisfy your customers – the last thing you need is to be working in a busy office space surrounded by other people running their own enterprises, right?
Well, wrong, actually …working in a co-worker space could be just what you need to boost your productivity and to allow opportunities for creativity and innovation, argues freelancer Kate Dawson.
Below I outline five ways that co-working can help your business to flourish:
1. A co working space providing the right working environment, for erm, working
So why leave the house, when all you need is Wi-Fi and to be close to the kettle, I hear you cry? Well, we all know that by 11.00am the laundry will be screaming to be done and you really ought to water the plants. Heading down to the library might take you away from the household chores, but illusions of enjoying some quiet working environment will soon be shot when the local book club start jabbering away about the latest Jodi Picoult. A café is another low-cost option but making telephone calls can be tricky and you never know whether you’re going to find a seat from one day to the next.
2. You are more productive in a co-working space.
There’s nothing like the gentle hum of somebody else beavering away on their laptop or clinching a new contract within your earshot to give you a gentle kick up the proverbial. You’re more likely to pull your finger out when you’re surrounded by other people who are happily getting on with their work.
This is backed by research by Deskmag and Deskwanted, which found that:
74% of co-workers are more productive,
86% have a larger business network,
93% have a bigger social network,
Over two thirds feel more creative and collaborate more on projects
A third reported an increase in income. 1
3. Co-working prevents loneliness and helps you feel good about what you do
Being a freelancer can be lonely and may lead to moments of doubting what you’re doing. Working with others helps provide that all important sense of purpose and as you may frequently be asked what you do, you can really hone that elevator pitch and get more confident describing and selling your business to others. Co-workers may also be willing to give you feedback on new products you are thinking of developing.
4. Many co-working spaces offer opportunities to hone your business skills and network
Coworking spaces provide opportunities for collaboration and support from users. You’ll be surprised how many people are willing to help you with a problem or issue if they can. Many co-working spaces also host networking events, workshops and social events to help their workers gain new skills and to promote the cross-fertilisation of ideas.
5. Being part of your chosen co-worker community helps you build your brand
Many co-worker spaces offer something a little bit different and distinctive both in terms of the environment and their outlook on the world. Perhaps the building has some interesting heritage or is part of a wider community venture. Selecting a co-worker space whose values chime with your own, not only reflects your personal identity, but can also make you more appealing to your clients.
What is co-working?
Coworking is a self-directed, collaborative and flexible work style that is based on mutual trust and the sharing of common core objectives and values between members. Co-working first emerged as a style of working for digital start-ups, but now sole traders, those running micro businesses, as well as people who take on part-time projects and students are all reaping the benefits.
Research by Cushman and Wakefield published in May 2018 states that there are now around 3,000 flexible working spaces in the UK, two thirds of which are outside London – equating to around 5% of all office stock.
These co-working spaces are ideal for start-ups and SMEs not quite ready to lease private office space, but many users are beginning to see co-working as a long-term solution to their office requirements.
Nigel Timperley, who provides consultancy to energy firms, has been using the co-working space at Monkey Park for two years and says that camaraderie of fellow co-workers is a key draw:
“People are social animals and I certainly feel more positive about work when I’m around others. I can feel a bit low at home, shut away in my office working on my own. My productively seems to shift a gear when I’m at the co-working space. I think it’s something to do with other people being busy around you,” he said.
“Coming to Monkey Park also gives me some structure to my working week, which helps me to be more focussed and productive.” Nigel added.
Simon Redding, founder of Monkey Park Works in Chesterfield says: “Co-working is about far more than simply providing affordable and flexible desk space; it’s also about providing an environment that is conducive to creativity and enabling friendships to form that are good for your business.”
Monkey Park Works is currently undertaking a survey of co-working needs in the Chesterfield area in order to improve its offer. Respondents will receive a one-day free pass to its co-worker space located in Chester Street, Chesterfield (to be taken by Friday 21 December 2018). To complete the survey please click here. The survey closes on Sunday 11th November 2018.
Kate Dawson is a communications consultant working as Well Read PR. She specialises in helping the public sector, charities, social enterprises and businesses working to improve their communities to tell their stories more effectively.