A buzzing office can be invigorating.
There are a lot of benefits to working in an office — like innovation, increased communication, and accountability — but the landscape of work has changed dramatically over the past few years. Hybrid schedules and working from home have become more normal (and even beneficial for many!), so it’s no wonder that the benefits of coworking spaces have become more widely known too.
Coworking spaces — where you can rent an office or desk independent of any one specific workplace — have seen substantial growth as more people seek out work space that offers more flexibility and more perks than a conventional workplace.
Gone are the days of gray or beige walls, stuffy cubicles, and traditional hours. Coworking spaces capitalize on the pros of offices, like community and collaboration, but add features that often get overlooked in company-based work spots, like the ability to come and go on a schedule that suits each individual.
A coworking space might be ideal for you if:
- You have the freedom to work anywhere, but do best in an office
- Feel motivated by having others around
- Like collaboration
- Want more networking opportunities
- Benefit from a more structured day
You don’t need to work full time at a coworking space to reap the benefits, though it’s an option. Most spaces have a variety of memberships, like renting a desk or an entire office that you can use as often as you need.
Even better is that coworking spaces are popping up in more places. It’s not just an amenity for city dwellers anymore. Suburban and rural regions are adding them too.
Coworking spaces can kickstart motivation
Working from home has its perks, but how often do you find yourself distracted by household tasks, a chatty roommate, your spouse, or kids? Sometimes the main pitfall of a home office is, well, that you’re home.
Coworking spaces bring the psychology of modern office design to those who need it to be most productive. There will always be distractions in a shared space, but they won’t pull you away from your work in the same way a sink full of dirty dishes can at home.
Plus, research has shown that seeing other people works as an automatic motivator.
Even if you’re not working in a coworking space full time, it can create just enough division in your life to be motivating.
Sitting in a place that’s meant for work sends a signal to your brain that it’s time to be productive. Instead of lingering to-do lists and slow-paced days, you may find that just an afternoon is all it takes to encourage your brain to finish all of the things that can be difficult on a normal work from home day.
“I honestly feel the most productive that I’ve felt in over a year. It has been heavenly,” one coworking space user told the New York Times after a stint of working only from home.
For some, having others around in a professional setting can be all it takes to tackle big projects or get in the right headspace for brainstorming.
The power of networking
The biggest benefit to coworking spaces is that they are melting pots of experience and perspective. People who use communal offices can work in an array of different industries. Some may be veterans in their field, while others are at the beginning of their career.
That blend of varied experiences can be especially beneficial if you thrive on innovation.
The other people in your coworking space may help you see a challenge in a new light, encourage you to think differently, or nudge you in a direction you hadn’t thought of before. That experience can be true in a traditional workplace too, but you get the added benefit of working with people you may have never even met before at coworking spaces.
Just like any other office, the best way to get started is make an effort to introduce yourself to your officemates and form real connections. Invite a fellow worker to grab a quick coffee, take a walk, or head to happy hour.
You never know what kind of opportunities or ideas will present themselves when you’re open to them. Some of the world’s biggest brands and companies were born out of coworking spaces (Instagram, Uber, Spotify, and Indiegogo are among the ranks).
Most people find themselves in a coworking space because they like the social aspect of office life, so while it may seem intimidating and a little scary to jump in, the people there are likely looking for the same interaction as you are!
Enhance your work-life balance
You might assume that working remotely creates a better work-life balance, but surveys have found that for many, the opposite is true. A New York Times survey revealed that most Americans working from home were adding as much as three hours of work to their day during the pandemic.
“On the surface, for example, remote work appears to give workers more freedom to do their work wherever and whenever they choose. But even though employees may feel more productive when they work from home, we may just be working more, not more efficiently,” writes digital strategist Elizabeth Spiers.
It’s difficult to create division when you work at home and are home at work.
“My husband will sometimes come home and turn on the TV, and I’m like, you turned on the TV in my office!” one survey respondent told the NYT.
Even that dreaded commute can serve as a much-needed buffer between your two worlds — a time to decompress from the stress of the day and leave it all behind.
That’s another benefit to working at a coworking space: it creates some division so that you’re more able to create boundaries between life and work, as hard as it can be sometimes.
Even before the pandemic, many workers were sliding into a work environment that was more flexible, more casual. The result is a big blurred line.
Coworking spaces give you a place to be in work mode, so that your home can remain a place of rest and comfort.