For many a freelancer, working alone in the house is blissful, but there are a few of us who start to get a little stir crazy after a while. And of course if you’re meeting with clients, you may want a nice spacious office area to call your own: enter, the co-working space. Co-working is a relatively new concept, and in the past few years places like this have been popping up like daisies, especially in cities like London.
What is a co-working space?
It’s essentially a pretty office created so that small businesses and freelancers alike have a place to work. If you’re a freelancer or a solopreneur of some kind, you can basically ‘rent a desk’ – there are usually different plans available depending on how flexible you need to be. Similarly, some small businesses will rent out several desks or even a small office space within the building for their whole team, instead of shelling out for a building all of their own.
What’s good about it?
Most of the co-working spaces I have visited in London are pretty quirky and perfect for startups. They come with a range of differently furnished work spaces, from bean bag corners to stand up desks and more. This is good if you enjoy moving around a little when you work, and getting some different scenery each day. There’s also usually dedicated meeting rooms for you to book out, phone booths for any private phone calls you need to make, and some even have fun events to get involved in, like office yoga, breakfast clubs and massages.
What’s not good about it?
If you’re enjoying the freedom of freelance life, then renting a co-working space like this might not be what you had in mind. It sounds good in theory, but to get your money’s worth you’re going to want to go every day, and that means joining the morning commute and sitting in a professional work environment just like you perhaps worked hard to get away from in the first place. Not for everyone. Plus some of the better co-working spaces, especially in London, are pretty darn expensive.
Would I recommend it?
Yes and no. For me, going a couple of times was enough. I was given a free month membership at Work.Life Bermondsey, which I was really excited to try. I swore that I would make the most of it and go every day, however in the end it felt too much like the office that I had just left, and I slipped back into stressed corporate life. Though it was a great space to work in, with really friendly staff and good vibes all round, I just didn’t feel any more productive on those days, and ultimately working from home gave me more time to work without the commute eating away half of my day. In addition, I had so many client meetings booked in for that month that coming back to the co-working space after each was such a hassle, I’d rather go to the nearest coffee shop.
All in all, with the quantity of Caffè Neros I end up buying while I’m working out and about, I probably spend a lot anyway, so renting a co-working space could work for many people as a way of limiting spending and controlling finances for the month. Lots of people find co-working spaces to be much more productive than sitting in the house, so my recommendation is to try it out first. Most places will offer some sort of opportunity to try, whether it’s paying by the hour or a free day. Give it a go, you never know how you might feel about it.
Looking for a co-working space in London? Here are a few I recommended. Read my Time Out blog here.
Photo by Dan Gold via Unsplash.com Dan Gold