Coworking is not for everyone, but many freelancers, teleworkers, and small business owners are finding it’s just the right fit. According to the latest results of Deskmag’s Global Coworking Survey, coworking communities continue to pop up around the world at a phenomenal rate. Why? Many say they are happier and more productive in a coworking environment. And it just makes good business sense.
As a business owner, you carry a heavy burden on your shoulders. Day-to-day demands alone can be a challenge. Add strategic planning and marketing to grow your business, staying up to date on the latest trends, maintaining equipment, and everything else involved and it can be a lot to stay on top of. If you are doing it alone, while working from home or a coffee shop, it can be incredibly isolating, not to mention overwhelming.
Thankfully, coworking communities offer a great alternative for those who find themselves tired of working in isolation. Cowork Frederick, located in downtown Frederick, MD and built around the belief that together is better, is one such community. In the four years since it opened, many local business owners and freelancers have found coworking to be an indispensable part of their work week and a boon to business. Here's why:
One of the perks newcomers note about coworking is the ready-made office environment. There is no need to outfit an entire office; desks, chairs, and office supplies are all readily available to members. With a shared work space last minute trips to the office supply store because the printer is out of toner is a thing of the past. Long-time member Kimba Green says,
"Maintaining an office is time consuming and I would prefer to just walk in and start working. Cowork offers everything I could need and the luxuries that only a larger office could provide.”
Leasing a private office can be expensive and not everyone needs – or wants – a private space. Coworking offers the opportunity to share space and equipment with other members at a fixed price. Add in things like utilities, WiFi, and office supplies and coworking becomes an even better deal. This pretty much guarantees coworking is a more affordable option than maintaining a private office. For some, a shared work space may even be more affordable than maintaining a home office.
Your company is growing from one to two people. You don’t have budget (or a desire) for a fixed office. Where are you going to put them? The dining room? Working from a coworking space lets you to accommodate your new hire/partner (and the next) -- all without a long-term lease. Downsizing is just as easy. The coworking model is built on flexibility, essential to the start of any company.
In addition to shared, flexible work areas and (for some) more private desks, many coworking spaces offer meeting rooms. Cowork Frederick is among them. We have a “Collaboration Room”, suitable for smaller meetings to gather requirements, review contracts, or discuss plans, and a “Conference Room” for holding workshops, board meetings, design sessions or classes for larger groups of people. A proper meeting space with amenities like reliable, high-speed WiFi, speaker phones, projectors, and a whiteboard lets your clients know you are serious about your business. That level of professionalism is difficult to pull off at a home office and out of the question at a café.
When April comes around and it is time to submit your taxes how complicated would you like filing to be? Itemizing deductions for a home office is a tedious process. Anyone who has been under the scrutiny of the IRS knows how stressful an audit can be! The statement you get from your coworking space makes claiming a business expense straightforward, unlike those tricky home office deductions.
Working in a private or home office by yourself not only gets lonely but can also lead to a creative rut. Mental stimulation and the opportunity to converse with members from a diverse range of professions is yet another benefit to being a part of a coworking space. For many, these small, serendipitous interactions help them generate new ideas. The results can lead to small improvements to their businesses, but for some coworking members like Sam St-Phard the benefit of these interactions can be huge. Sam fully embraced the spirit of connecting with his fellow coworkers to learn and grow his business. In his time here he has reached out to members who are experts in everything from social media marketing, entrepreneurship, and environmental issues. Sam says,
“Being in a community of ‘free flowing’ ideas and information has enriched and edified me as an entrepreneur. The growth I have experienced as an entrepreneur has, in large part, been due to the Cowork Frederick Community and has translated into the growth of SSP Benefits.”
Humans tend to adapt to their environment. Many find their energy level – and pace of work – drops in the quiet spaces at home. Coffee shops can be noisy and distracting. One of the aspects of a traditional office many freelance and business owners miss is the inspiration that comes from being around others who are engaged in their work. Matt Edens says,
“Working at home, the quiet is strangely distracting. It’s hard to stay focused, to stay motivated. The energy at Cowork Frederick is work-oriented. Seeing others focused on their respective businesses creates a bit of peer pressure that helps me stay disciplined in completing my own tasks.”
Coworking environments can also be described as tremendously supportive communities. When you are launching your business, having a group of people that are able to offer advice, cheer you on, hold you accountable, or simply lend an ear can make all the difference. Running your own business has many challenges. Luckily, with coworking, being alone doesn’t have to be one of them. Beth Conny notes,
“Cowork Frederick feels like home to me - a place where I can work hard and relax, and sip tea while having incredible conversations with people I would never have met otherwise. We’ve become a family of sorts. When support’s needed, it’s there. One week, it may be help with a computer; the next, with a client; the next, making gluten-free muffins. I like that.”
Coworking provides a bounty of networking opportunities. Coworking boosts accelerated serendipity, those moments when you suddenly realize you’re in the right place, at the right time, and in just the right conversation. Many coworking spaces host happy hours, events and seminars, providing plenty of chances to network without having to, well, network. Teddy Galloway says Cowork Frederick is where he goes to be inspired and motivated by other entrepreneurs.
Is your current working environment providing you with everything you need to make your business thrive? If you can’t answer that question with a definitive ‘yes’, you owe it to yourself to try something new. With the option to purchase a Day Pass, giving coworking a try is a low-risk venture that just might be just what your business - and you - need.