Coworking – Is it right for you?

Coworking should be a pretty straightforward concept for you to grasp, but, just in case you’re not familiar with it, it’s a space you rent to work in alongside others. That’s it in a nutshell. Of course, different spaces will offer different specs but the bog standard, run of the mill coworking area will offer you a desk and WiFi. More ‘exclusive’ (read more expensive) spaces will have luxury amenities like 24/7 access, lockers and even, get this, complimentary coffee.

Co-working, if done correctly, can be a fantastic way to focus your mind, get s#1t done and meet some new, friendly faces. However, if you do it wrong, it can be an absolute nightmare. You can chat garbage all day, procrastinate and spend a lot of money on nothingness. There are, as with all things, good and bad aspects to coworking and in this article, we will have a look at them and you can decide if it’s for you.

I’m a big fan of coworking. In fact, I am currently sharing a coworking space with my cat. It works well for us. She is currently taking a rather large chunk of her 17-hour sleeping break and I am typing. Later on, she will stare out of the window for 4 hours and I will sleep. Then, she will climb on my head and sleep some more. We have it down to a fine art.

Fundamentally, the first question you need to ask yourself is ‘Do I like working with people?’ If the answer is yes, continue. If the answer is no, co-working is not for you!

The good.

*Renting a space can be a great way to focus your mind on the task at hand. I know for a fact that if I was renting the chair I am currently sat in by the hour I would have finished this article 2 hours ago. I wouldn’t have spent so much time avoiding anything that remotely resembles work. You might be more motivated knowing that watching a cat gif on Reddit is costing you money.

*Meeting people is easy. Coworking spaces can be a great place to meet people. These can be business contacts or even, real-life friends! Hopefully, you’ll find yourself surrounded by some cool, hip young funsters that are everything you’ve been searching for and more.

*A change of scenery is always nice. Sometimes all you need is somewhere concrete to separate your work and home life. A different outlook could spark your creative genius into life.

*Exercise. If your coworking space isn’t too far you can walk to work, get those muscles moving, that blood pumping and be fired up for a full day of ‘YEAH! Let’s do this thing!’

*It means no worries, for the rest of your (coworking) days. Imagine never having to worry about finding reliable Wifi again. Not having to unplug, pack up, cart with you, pee, wash your hands, cart back to the table, unpack, plug in and resume working again everytime you need the toilet. In a decent coworking space, you can just leave your stuff on the side and pee freely, unburdened by the worry of theft or weighed down by your laptop bag. It’s what dreams are made of!

*Networking and job opportunities. You stand a much better chance of meeting people relevant to your job in a professional coworking environment rather than, say, sitting in your pants and falling down a wiki rabbit hole.

The bad.

*Money, money money, must be funny, in a rich man’s world. Coworking spaces aren’t free. They may not be overly expensive but they certainly aren’t free. Unless you are committed to actually going and working, it’s pointless. Different spaces will have different memberships ranging from day use to monthly passes. The cost can escalate quite quickly. If you only need a space for a day or two, 100% go back to the cafe or local library.

*People are strange. Not everyone likes everyone else. Whilst coworking might give you the chance to meet some absolute superstars, you might also meet some absolute nauses. It must be quite grim signing up for a 3-month membership only to find yourself working next to Andy ‘Annoying’ and his partner, ‘Shouty’ Sheila.

*People are not strange. Some people like each other. Your new best friend might be one sign up sheet away. That’s great until it comes time to work. Distractions and fun don’t often equate to productivity.

*Some people are strange. Jealousy. Fortunately, I have never been the victim of professional jealousy, I mean, seriously, read what I write and be jealous, I dare you, it’s literally impossible. However, I am reliably informed that it does exist. Nothing screams ‘anti-fun’ more than working close to someone who is jealous of your work. ‘Whoops, did I knock that coffee over your laptop? Clumsy me!’

*Limitations. Not all coworking spaces are created equal. Some will have very rigid, very limited hours. Perfect if you think ‘That’s cool, gives me an excuse to finish at 3 pm’. Not great if you have a late night deadline to meet.

*Coughs and sneezes spread diseases. And now you’ve got it. Beware the great unwashed of the coworking world!

The mediocre.

*The temperature is probably clement. Although you could always wear a sweater I guess.

*Free printing maybe, if not free then at least it’s cheaper and easier than finding a print shop.

*Might get some biscuits laid on?

If you’ve any tips for your fellow digital nomads regarding coworking, let them know in the comments section.