Tuesday, December 20, 2011 at 2:41PM
by Isabella Woods
Most entrepreneurs can't wait to quit the day job and leave the cubicle behind forever. It's something they dream about when trapped in wage slavery and they have detailed fantasies about what it will be like to shake the dust of the office from their heels and never look back. Why, then, are so many of these people choosing co-working. Let's take a look at what co-working is, first. In a nutshell, it's about having a shared work environment while remaining independent. Many solopreneurs and independent contractors have discovered that going it alone just isn't as much fun as they thought it would be. It's not that they miss the office politics and the boss cracking the whip. Instead it's about missing some of the advantages of office life - and that's what they get back when they use co-working space.
An End to Solitude
Let's face it, some people just aren't cut out to work alone. They just don't function the same way when they are sitting at home in their PJs trying to get motivated to work. Some people get lonely and miss the company and co-working allows them to get that company without the disadvantages of being employed. Frankly, offices are social places and human beings are social animals. When we work alone, we may be going against what comes naturally. Getting into a co-working space with people with complementary interests can meet that need. We like to shoot the breeze with colleagues round the water cooler or the coffee machine, and that's what we get with a co-working space. This is a trend that's taking off all around the world.
When you work on your own, you need a whole bunch of equipment to stay in touch with the world. The best co-working spaces give you access to WiFi, phone services, meeting rooms, fax machines (for those still using them), scanners, printers and other office equipment whenever you need it. All this at a fraction of the cost of cheap office insurance. You don't have to pay to rent the whole building, just for your space - and it's affordable. You can get a space that's yours on a semi-permanent basis or just use a space when you need it - first come, first served. Of course, you could work from your local coffee shop as many entrepreneurs do, but is that really the best place to work when people are shouting out their coffee orders in the background? That might work once in a while, but it's not a great solution for every day. And a coffee shop isn't a great place to hold a business meeting, that's for certain. If you want a workspace that says you're a professional, a co-working space is your best bet.
Starting the Day Right
There's nothing like having to get out of bed and go to the office to make you feel like you're running a real business. This gets you ready to be successful. You feel professional and you won't run the risk of sitting around all day playing on the Wii while you wait for the orders to come in. As you build relationships with your fellow co-workers you will get that other major advantage - accountability. When you swap stories about your business efforts, someone will come back and express an interest in how you're doing. You want to have something to tell them, don't you?
Another advantage of a coworking space over a home office is that it enables you to limit your work day and make a clear distinction between work time and home and family time. That can be important. Entrepreneurs are famous for focusing on the new idea or business to the exclusion of all else. Everyone has to come up for air sometime, and having a coworking space allows you to do just that.
Co-working has become so popular that companies are jumping on the bandwagon and experimenting with this as a new way of getting the job done. If you want to find out more about coworking in your area, the Coworking Wiki is an excellent starting point. It includes links to several coworking projects as well as a