By Kimberli Lowe-MacAuley
Are you considering dipping your toes into the world of remote work? Or, perhaps you’re a veteran freelancer updating a few of your routines. If so, you might be wondering whether a shared workspace is an ideal match for your needs.
But after a bit of research, you may be left with more questions than answers. The term shared workspace covers several different dynamics, so it can be hard to decide if it would be a good fit at first glance. In fact, you might have found advertisements highlighting community workspaces in a large, open area. Now, you’re wondering how you’d balance that with the need for quiet focus? What about Zoom calls or meetings with clients?
The reality is that collaborative desks and workstations are only one type of shared workspace. We’ve gathered some information to help you understand your options and make a more informed decision.
What Is a Coworking Space?
Shared workspaces, or coworking spaces, cover a multitude of setups. But essentially, a coworking space is a unique office solution offering remote professionals access to high-quality facilities and amenities. While there are variables in how each is presented, there are three basic types of shared workspaces.
— Collaborative Workspaces
Collaborative workspaces are open-plan environments that allow you to work among like-minded professionals in a supportive environment. You’ll generally find that these spaces offer amenities, such as high-speed internet, printers, and equipment access.
Companies providing hybrid remote work options might utilize collaborative workspaces during in-office days. Teams can work on projects, share ideas, and train in one location.
— Shared Workspaces
Similar to traditional office spaces, shared work environments offer professionals the option to work outside of their home office. In this type of space, members will generally bring their own laptops but gain access to services, like a printer or meeting room.
This type of setup might be very alluring to companies with remote professionals who still need to meet with clients. And for freelancers or remote workers, shared workspaces offer a chance to beat isolation and create a separate workspace away from home distractions.
— Shared Office Space
Most often offered by larger companies looking to offset their overhead, this type of workspace is precisely what it sounds like. Unused office space gets leased out on a long-term basis to smaller companies. These offices generally have dedicated desk areas and access to amenities, such as fast internet and videoconferencing equipment.
Who Uses a Shared Workspace?
Coworking spaces are used by a wide variety of professionals, from startups to remote employees, but they also offer appeal to small businesses and digital nomads.
— Entrepreneurs and Freelancers
Shared workspaces can be great for entrepreneurs, freelancers, and other professionals who need access to a dedicated workspace. This can especially appealing if you have a small living space or have others in your home making dedicated office space unavailable.
Those who travel frequently and want the flexibility of working on the road may also find a shared setup appealing. There are several options available that allow you to rent desks part-time or full-time at any location a managing company offers. This provides the freedom to set up shop without the long-term commitment of leasing a traditional office space.
— Remote Teams
Are you part of a team that primarily works remotely? If so, a shared workspace can offer the chance to get together on those occasions when everyone is in the same town. You’ll get a sense of camaraderie and team spirit, even if you’re only meeting for one day. This setup is often more economical for businesses with distributed teams, as they don’t have to support the overhead of larger office space.
— Digital Nomads
If you dream of being a digital nomad, shared workspaces might be the solution for spotty internet service or quiet space away from family or travel companions. You can plan your travels around cities with shared workspaces available. You’ll have the freedom to enjoy your work-from-anywhere job without the headaches of facilitating remote connectivity.
The Benefits of Coworking Spaces
Shared workspaces offer a variety of benefits for remote professionals and businesses. While the offerings vary, you’ll generally discover you can access typical business amenities, such as high-speed internet, printers, videoconferencing equipment, and meeting rooms. But the benefits go beyond those more obvious ones.
— Community Amenities
Depending on the type of workspace you choose, you may gain access to community features, such as on-site gyms, cafes, coffee bars, and more. You’ll also join the local business community, networking with other professionals. Additionally, many shared workspaces organize regular events and seminars to help members grow their businesses.
Shared workspaces are usually cheaper than renting an office space on your own. Depending on the setup you’re looking for, you’ll generally get far more for your money by going with a shared workspace. This is especially true if you’re looking for short-term access or relocate regularly.
Aside from the overall rental, consider that you won’t be responsible for any incidentals, such as connectivity, furniture, decor, and general cleaning and maintenance.
— Professional Impact
When you’re a freelancer who meets with clients, you might choose to meet with them in an office setting, either in person or virtually. When you utilize shared workspaces, you’ll be in a professional environment, adding credibility to your business. Gone are the days of meeting in cafes and fighting for seating.
The Drawbacks of Coworking Spaces
Along with all of the perks, there are some drawbacks you’ll need to consider. One of the obvious considerations is not having complete control over your environment. A new space may be more noisy and busy than others you’ve used before. Ask yourself if you generally prefer to work in an isolated environment. If so, a shared workspace with an option to reserve private office space might be better.
Additionally, depending on your business needs, you may need more amenities than are provided by your local shared workspace. Before committing long-term, ensure you understand what is and isn’t included. Every coworking space is different, so you might simply need to shop around for shared workspace options.
Adding a Shared Workspace to Your Remote Routine
Overall, shared workspaces can be an extremely affordable solution for remote workers looking for professional office space without breaking the bank. With access to a variety of amenities and community resources, they’re often a great way to combat isolation and create a better work-life balance.
If your career goals include finding a remote job so you can occasionally work from a shared workspace (or another location), FlexJobs can help! With daily postings in over 50 career categories, our jobs board has something for everyone! Take the tour and discover all of the resources a FlexJobs membership has to offer.
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