Date: 28th March 2015
Shared workspace, collaborative space, coworking – whatever you like to call it – is fast becoming a common way of doing business. For remote workers, startups, visiting creatives, techies, small home business owners and entreprenuers, working in a shared environment is often the smart way to go. Let’s look at a local example and some of the benefits of coworking.
The community collaboration that came about as a result of Wanaka’s bid to win the Gigatown Ultra Fast Broadband competition brought people together to create economic and lifestyle opportunities. One of the opportunities that evolved was The Cell, a collaborative working space in the former police station in downtown Wanaka.
The Cell works as an incubator-style workspace designed to connect entrepreneurs and creatives with like-minded individuals. Hosting ultra fast wireless internet, the latest printing technology including a 3D printer, users will have 24/7 access to private meeting rooms, a kitchen, shower and changing facilities and lockers.
“By encouraging and fostering our local talent, we are growing a community that becomes not just a holiday destination, but a centre for innovation, a town where business success and lifestyle can be equally achieved. And by harnessing the collective creativity of our community we are setting a benchmark for other small towns not just on a national stage, but internationally as well,” co-founder Kelly Good explained.
So we’ve got the space, let’s take a look at the benefits of coworking and why it may be a good fit for you (from a blog by Kat Haselkorn).
Many individuals who work out of coworking spaces otherwise work alone. These are the folks who used to hole up in coffee shops nursing a cup of tea and praying the wifi wouldn’t disappear. For many entrepreneurs and small business owners, coworking allows them time to socialize and network with other professionals and have someone to talk to occasionally throughout the workweek.
Networking is a major perk of coworking spaces but sometimes it goes a step farther. Many small business owners find that the “stranger” at the desk next to them actually provides a service their own company can benefit from. Wandering around the shared workspace and striking up conversations from time to time allows you to learn about all the other businesses in the room. This can be useful from a professional standpoint or simply help you get to know your neighbors.
It’s not all about you. Working in a shared space every day means you get to watch other business partnerships thrive. A startup that originally has just two or three employees, might grow over time, hire freelancers from within the coworking space full time and move to a corner office. This is typical of coworking spaces. They have some of the brightest most industrious minds in the field all working together. That frequently leads to success!
Of course, everyone benefits from the office amenities. Coworking spaces like UberOffices in Washington, DC offer free coffee, happy hours, frozen yogurt machines, and massage chairs. The 24/7 accessibility also means that night owls can get work done when a normal office may not allow them access.
For many startups, renting space and furnishing an office is simply out of their price range. This is especially the case if the company grows quickly (as many startups do) and the business is forced to upgrade to a larger space just a few months in. Coworking space allows for low overhead and a variety of different office sizes so as a company grows they can stay onsite for optimal collaboration.
Coworking isn’t for everyone, but for those who are self-employed, freelancing, or starting a business, the benefits are enormous and can lead to a happier, healthier work/life balance and plenty of professional development opportunities.