The Benefits of Coworking Spaces for Freelancers and Small Businesses
People around the work have been increasingly turning to the concept of coworking, resulting in it rapidly gaining in popularity. Coworking is a concept that can perhaps best be described as a group of otherwise unaffiliated individuals sharing a common workspace. Coworkers are not employed by the same organization, and a coworking space often includes a variety of freelancers and small businesses. The reason these arrangements are becoming increasingly popular is that there are a wide range of potential benefits of coworking spaces for freelancers and small businesses.
Networking. Coworking spaces greatly increase networking by increasing interactions between individuals. This can be particularly useful for freelancers who can develop new connections. Furthermore, people may be able to develop complementary partnerships. For example, a programmer and graphic designer may decide to launch a project together. As coworkers build their networks, increasing collaboration can be possible by combining different areas of expertise.
Cost-Effective. Coworking spaces can be incredibly cost effective, particularly for freelancers and new startup businesses. For individuals who want an official office location, leasing a space can be problematic as leases generally have to be at least one year in duration. Furthermore, the costs of leasing office space typically serve as a major source of overhead cost. Coworking spaces address these issues, generally renting space on a month-to-month basis for a much lower cost, since the space is shared. This has both logistical and financial benefits.
Balance. A coworking space helps to balance the benefits of having a physical workplace and working from home. Individuals who work from home often value the ability to control their own schedule and set their own hours. However, home offices generally make it difficult to separate work from other aspects of life and miss out on the added professionalism and structure provided by a separate working environment. Coworking spaces help the individuals blend these benefits, providing the ability to come and go as desired and set one’s own hours while also providing a structured environment and professional presence.
Socialization. While this is typically not something that is considered when thinking about employment, work is a major source of social relationships. For freelancers or individuals in very small businesses, this aspect of connection often is not present. Coworking spaces enhance the working environment by facilitating the development of meaningful relationships, adding a degree of socialization and helping workers avoid the loneliness that often comes with working independently.
Effectiveness. Research from the Harvard Business Review shows that people increase their effectiveness when utilizing coworking spaces. This is generally attributed to a combination of greater accountability through working near others as well as the ability for greater innovation. Ultimately, the reality that people typically enhance their performance when using coworking spaces means that they will see returns on this investment.
Job Satisfaction. People who utilize coworking spaces typically report higher levels of job satisfaction. This is attributed to the fact that coworking spaces typically create meaningful, reciprocal relationships. Whereas people working for a company are forced to work with one another, individuals in coworking spaces make a decision to work with one another. This generally results in greater efforts at creating a broader community that extends past the scope of work.
Amenities. Starting a small business generally involves the procurement of many different things including furniture and technology; however, many coworking spaces include with their rental the use of various amenities. This generally includes furniture, high speed internet, a shared kitchen, a shared printer/copier, and shared meeting spaces. This allows for freelancers and small businesses to attain many of the amenities that they would desire to function without having to purchase them.
Expertise. Coworking spaces make it easier for individuals to find quality expertise when needed. Have a business question? A coworker likely knows the answer. Need recommendations for a part-time accountant? A coworker likely has a good referral. The community atmosphere allows for coworkers to collectively leverage one another’s knowledge and experiences for the benefit of all. This expertise is a powerful benefit.
Overall, it is easy to see why coworking spaces are becoming increasingly popular. These types of spaces are particularly useful for freelancers that want to engage in a more social, team-oriented dynamic or small businesses looking to leverage their financial capital and give their business a boost. While there are understandably many different factors at play when deciding upon the ideal environment for work, coworking spaces certainly merit serious consideration for business needs.
SOMAcentral is a leading coworking space with two shared working spaces in San Francisco. SOMAcentral has been home to hot startups such as Instagram, Mashable, Etsy, TaskRabbit, Grammarly, Twilio, AngelList, Good Eggs, Instacart, Playfish, Getty Images, and countless others. To learn more about our spaces, contact us today!