What is Coworking?
Coworking has become the buzzword as we move towards 2021, but do you know what coworking really is?
Many of the members, event attendees, and digital nomads that we have met over the years have different definitions and attitudes towards coworking. Some believe it entails working in an open space where noise and distraction is inevitable, some believe it is a place to network and connect with others at an added price, and some believe they are created for the digital and tech community as they have a common goal and are all working towards a digital future.
In general terms, coworking refers to sharing a workplace with other like minded individuals or companies who have their own projects, with more opportunities to create synergies and collaborations with other members. The latter is what really defines coworking: the community. In coworking spaces, a community manager works to create an environment of trust and activities and events that allow members to get to know each other better, something you wouldn’t find in a rented office block. Coworking is, therefore, an evolution of collaborative work. Our member Deborah Reid from Localise Youth spoke to us about how coworking led to their internal collaboration with Big Dog Digital at our Dublin campus.
We are currently experiencing a boom in coworking. The rise of entrepreneurship, hybrid working and expansion has contributed to this. For professionals who need more than a computer and an internet connection to work, coworking is the perfect solution, especially for those in the digital and technology industry as they work on building a digital future- something you can’t do on your own.
According to the Global Coworking Survey report in 2019, there are over 22,000 coworking spaces around the world. They are all diverse in that some are small, some occupy entire buildings, and others specialized in specific sectors, such as Talent Garden, who support tech and digital communities.
Advantages of Coworking
1 | Become Part of a Community
In a coworking space, members are surrounded by entrepreneurs and newly founded companies. Sharing a workplace allows interaction with other entrepreneurs who are facing the same challenges as you. Of course, you don’t need to sit next to each other to be part of the community- people who occupy private offices are also part of the larger community through joining coworking events and social activities. The tech industry is rapidly changing with new updates and developments created every day, it’s important to keep up to date, acquire new knowledge and discover improvement strategies to adapt. A collaborative workspace will open doors to new ideas and ways of working.
2 | Networking Opportunities
One of the main attractions of joining a coworking space is the opportunity to generate contacts for future collaborations. Being surrounded by professionals with different abilities and specialties within a positive collaborative environment facilitates the creation of connections. You can share ideas and concerns with them. And not only that, it is possible that with these alliances and making your work known to reach new clients, partners or investors, you can expand quickly. Coworking spaces often have teams that want to get involved with their members, whether there’s free advertising or teaming up for an event or showcase, extra visibility is guaranteed in a coworking space.
3 | Save Costs
Joining a coworking space has the same benefits of having more value for your money. The average saving is between 20%-40%, taking into account the rental of space, furniture, electricity, water, and internet connection. As well as not taking on the burden of outsource these resources yourself, but you will also not pay the maintenance of the workspace- the team will take care of it for you! Finally, there are added services such as video surveillance, receipts of mail and parcels delivered to your work address sorted for you.
4 | Improve Your Scalability
As entrepreneurs, it’s difficult to decide how much space is needed if the company is growing and the team is expanding. This uncertainty is easier to control from a coworking space. In the case of sudden growth or changes in employee count, you can simply readjust your space or move to another suitable private office.
5 | Flexibility
When you are starting a company by yourself or with 10 employees, you may need to spend many hours in the office. Coworking gives 24/7 access to the workspace, along with passes that are flexible to your work schedule. This is increasingly useful for companies as the Hybrid Model is helping many companies return to the workplace after the pandemic. The flexibility allows members to work at their own convenience, take advantage of moments of productivity, and communicate with clients who live in different time zones.
6 | Work/Life Balance
One of the biggest problems entrepreneurs encounter is the difficulty in separating work from personal life. Thanks to coworking spaces, it is possible to create a structured work routine and achieve greater discipline. It also provides a break from the home office, and to avoid the distractions at home. Coworking spaces are created to encourage a new way of working where members can learn, grow, and connect with each other in an inspiring environment. All this contributes to greater personal well-being and greater performance.
Disadvantages of Coworking
1 | Investment
It is clear that renting your workspace in a shared space or private office is much more efficient than renting an office floor on your own. However, there is still a fixed monthly cost. If you have been self employed for a short time or your startup is not yet ready to invest in a space, it is clear that working from home or in a library or cafeteria, will be much cheaper.
2 | Commuting
When you work at home, it is easy to get out of bed, make a coffee and be sitting at your desk within 10 minutes. You don’t waste a minute commuting, and can sleep in that little while longer. In this sense, it is important that location is kept in mind when choosing a coworking space. Ideally, it should be close enough to home that members can walk, cycle, or be close to public transport.
3 | Stay Focused
Sometimes concentrating in shared workspaces can be difficult. The movement of people, a quiet conversation between coworkers, phone calls, are easy distractions. There is a greater diversity of stimuli in a coworking space, and these can be a disadvantage for those who need silence to work. However, this is simple to combat by wearing headphones or consider a private office in a coworking space to isolate yourself and prevent conversations around you.
4 | Lack of Privacy
When it comes to shared workspaces, some people assume that there is no privacy. This is noticeable, for example, when you want to make a phone call to discuss confidential matters. Although, in coworking spaces there are meeting rooms or areas enabled to take a private call or meeting comfortably. Coworking spaces also offer private offices to rent if you prefer them to flex desks.
5 | Changing Environment
A coworking space can be an ever changing environment. Coworkers and office neighbours will change often as that is the very essence of coworking. If you do not have a permanent position, the table where you sit every day will also change! If you don’t like changes, this may make you uncomfortable. If you are one of those who embrace every change and see it as an opportunity, it is not something you should be concerned about.
Is Coworking Right For You?
Coworking is not just a space, it holds a community that is designed to support you or your team and allow your business to grow and succeed. Coworking spaces work to surround you with facilities and opportunities to encourage the growth and development of your business whether you are in the early stages of the life cycle or are keeping up momentum with your business’ success. Networking events, workshops – virtual or not – can allow you to meet, socialise and liaise with business people with similar interests and goals.