Coworking brings a lot of advantages to coworkers. Among the main benefits there’s an increase in productivity, business and happiness. So far I’ve listed 27 advantages of coworking (this is the updated list of the advantages of coworking that was originally included in The Coworking Handbook):
- Grow your business faster: be more productive, expand your network, receive your clients in a professional setting… Coworking spaces are made to help you grow faster.
- Expand your personal and professional networks: you will meet a lot of interesting people in a coworking space. Some will become friends, some will be professional contacts, some will be both.
- Facilitated introductions: the most important part of a coworking space is its community of members. The people running them and other coworkers look out to introduce members based on common interests and possible win wins.
- Find new clients and grow your income: joining a coworking space expands your network and makes it easier for you to get new clients. Make sure you introduce yourself and that your coworkers know what you do and the kind of clients you are looking for. This coworker got 25 times his membership in jobs thanks to joining a coworking space.
- Find talent and people to work with: you are surrounded by professionals with knowledge and networks you can tap into to find talent and feedback.
- Hire and be hired: coworkers tend to book other coworkers to work with them in projects. It is much easier to ask a person sitting close to you than to run an internet search and vetting process.
- Be more productive: get more done, faster and with lest effort.
- No distractions from family members: they are well intentioned, but they interrupt when they shouldn’t and this strains family relationships.
- No temptations from the fridge and TV: procrastination is easier to beat at a coworking space.
- Be more motivated to work by surrounding yourself of hardworking professionals like you: having other people around you focused in their work helps you focus in your own work more easily. Reduce effort and increase productivity.
- Be more creative: getting out of your home, having interesting people around you and engaging conversations will help you be more creative. There are so many ideas and projects in a coworking space community that you will be inspired.
- Share with soundboards that will improve your projects: the coworkers around you have a lot of experience in different fields. Talk to them to get their input and improve your own projects.
- Better work life balance: separate work from your home. End the cycle of days that get longer and work productivity that gets slower.
- Work in professional environment (get out of your home and your pajamas): work in a clean and professional environment that motivates you surrounded by other professionals.
- Get a professional working routine with your own schedule: adapt the use of the coworking space to your own schedule. Coworking is made to adapt to your needs.
- Work by yourself, not alone: focus on your own work while working with other people around you that could give you a hand if you need it or that will be open for a chat around a cup of coffee. It is a bit like if the support network of a large company was recreated with independent professionals instead of departments, and without the political backstabbing.
- Eliminate isolation: don’t isolate yourself at home. Be with peers that go through the same hardships and joys as you.
- Increase self confidence: a better working routine will increase your self confidence and make you feel better about yourself.
- Be healthier: being in the company of others has been shown to improve physical and mental health. Work / Life balance improves too. Getting out of your pajamas and having a welcoming place to go to every day will help you have healthier habits.
- Better Internet connection: why limit yourself to a home Internet connection when you can enjoy the benefits of a profesional line? Upload and download files at the fastest speed so you can focus on the work that ads value instead of waiting.
- Flexibility: choose a plan based on your needs and change it monthly to adapt to you. If you have a mission at a client’s or you are leaving for a trip you can just halt your membership instead on paying like with a traditional lease.
- Reduce your commute: if your job is far away, you can reduce your commute time and expense by joining a coworking space near your home.
- Complement your work from home: the flexibility of coworking spaces allows you to choose and change plans to adapt to your needs. You can work some days from home and others from one or more coworking spaces.
- Cost efficient: cheaper than renting an office and they come with a lot of extras like events and effortless networking.
- No utility bills: coworking spaces cover this expenses themselves so you can focus on your business.
- No dealing with service providers and repairs: another nag that you can discard. Just make sure that you pay your coworking bill and they will take care of getting everything running.
- And last but probably most important: happiness! Mehdi reminded me and he’s right. I’m much happier thanks to coworking and so are the people around me.
Coworking has disadvantages too, but they are very easy to address.
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I’ve recently added a new section full of coworking resources for all you looking for coworking information to launch your own coworking space, write an article, or doing some academic research for a paper. I’ve ordered them in 9 different categories:
- Coworking Books & Readings
- Tools for Coworking Spaces
- Community Building Resources for Coworking Spaces
- Coworking Statistics, Surveys, Research and Studies
- Coworking Associations and Organizations
- Coworking Conferences
- Coworking Finance Resources
- Coworking News, Magazines and Podcasts
- Coworking Checklists
In each one of this coworking categories is organized by themeyou will find a selection of selected relevant links. If you have any link you think should be added, please contact me.
I got tired of looking for links in my bookmarks and with Google and not having a central repository. I know that there are a lot of people having the same issues, so I decided to create and maintain these lists of coworking resources:
The link to the “list of lists” with these lists and all that may be included in the future is: http://coworkinghandbook.com/resources/
They have a lot of good links and references in them, but they are not perfect. If there’s anything that you think should be included please let me know :) If you think that they are useful, share them !
Whenever it comes to contracts the law in each country is very different, for coworking space contracts and agreements and for everything else. The best alternative is to work with a lawyer firm, but it is expensive and not available to everyone. Even if you can afford it, you should always do your homework and learn as much as you can. The lawyers are going to ask you what you want covered in the document anyway, and the less creative work they have to do the best they can concentrate on what is in the current contract and the cheaper it will be for you.
The best option is for you to talk with other entrepreneurs, with entrepreneurs’ associations, with government agencies or university departments that could help you, and to check how other businesses (even better if they are coworking spaces) are doing it. There are lot of people out there helping small businesses, and a lot of legal documents available from the websites of many companies.
One of the many advantages of running a coworking space is that there will be many entrepreneurs among your coworkers. Ask them for examples and for advice!
Be smart with your cut and paste, understand what you are using and change the names.
Keep in mind that just because it is not written it does not mean you do not have a contract, but if it is written it is much easier to prove the existence of the contract and to refer to it in case of any discrepancy.
The most common contracts and agreements that you will probably deal with are:
The constitution of your business as a legal entity. This changes from country to country, in some you need a notary, in others you just have to pay a small fee and fill a form. Try to see if there’s an entrepreneurs association or a government agency that can help you understand the differences, obligations, advantages, etc.
Partners agreement. It defines who does what, how are decisions taken, what happens if somebody leaves or cannot work (eg: the CEO goes into a coma and cannot continue his job), how do you vest the stock of the company, how can the stock be sold, how can new partners enter in the business, how can the partners leave, etc. When you are starting a business everything is rosy and awesome, but things can go wrong for many reasons (most of them legitimate). It is not a matter of not trusting each other, it is a matter of making everything clear from the beginning, to make it easier on yourselves if anything goes wrong. When things get ugly it is extremely difficult to agree on anything, better to prevent. Also, if one of you owns the brand (trademark or copyright) the conditions to use it should be stated here.
Lease, sale of the space, or shared revenue agreement with the landlord. Be careful with these, they are very important for your future. Make sure that in any case you can open your business without any special permissions and if you need to get them figure out the time it will take and the probability of not getting it. You can always include clauses that will void the contract in case something does not happen, like getting that permit, securing a loan or the funds for the business, finishing repairs, etc. Find out how far does your personal liability and that of your company extend.
Terms & Conditions, membership forms. Your contract with the users of your space. Be clear, concise, and make sure to include a reference to its changing nature. You will be improving it and changing things over time. Most of your clients will go through them before signing up. Depending on your legislation and your personal preferences their acceptance when signing up may suffice. If not, you will have to put them on paper and have them sign it as a membership form.
Special conditions for the organization of events. Sent to the organizers, even if it is a free event that you are sponsoring: you want to make sure they understand they are responsible if anything breaks or there’s an issue.
Personnel contracts. Very tricky, make sure you have some good references and that you understand them well.
- Insurance. There’s not much that you can change here. Make sure you comply with local regulations and understand what is covered and what is not. Unless you are obliged by law, do not insure the property of the coworkers: they should care for their own equipment and for the grand majority it is not worth it.
What is your experience with contracts and agreements? How would you recommend others to proceed? What is that one thing you absolutely wished you knew before?
Last week we published the mega-list of coworking advantages. Now it is the turn of the disadvantages. We have included some of the possible answers you can use.
- I work better from home
- Maybe coworking is not for you, but do you think that coming once a week could be beneficial to you?
- How many contacts do you make at home?
- Just like any other office
- You can concentrate better if you use headphones
- You can isolate yourself in a meeting room
- Some spaces use white noise to reduce distractions
- Some spaces have quiet rooms, more like a library
- Too quiet
- It may be just that you are over worried about making noise
- Move to another room
- Talk with the managers and see if they can have a regular office like room
- Get away from the noisier people
- Put on your headphones to reduce interaction from other people
- Isolate yourself in a meeting room
- Educate your coworkers into how and when to interact with you
- Privacy and confidentiality
- You only share what you want to share
- Get a desk with your back to the wall and in a corner
- Use a locker for your sensitive documents
- Isolate yourself in a meeting room to make sensitive calls
- Reduce the volume of your voice when talking on the phone
- The other coworkers came to work, not to listen to you
- I don’t want to share my project
- Some people are too intense
- Get away from them, you may even be able to move to another room
- Tell them to leave more space for you
- You have to pay
- You get a lot of value for little money
- Thera are a lot of advantages of coworking
- If you only care about money and not about value you are not ready to cowork
- You have to commute
- Find a space that is close to you and that you like
- You have to shower and brush your teeth
- If you are filthy, nobody will want to be around you
- It will improve your self confidence and the image you project about yourself
What would you add?