Beginner’s Guide to Coworking
It’s a huge part of what Indycube is about, and something that has become increasingly popular over the past few years, but what exactly is coworking?
What is it?
Coworking usually involves a diverse range of workers, usually working independently for separate businesses and projects, who share a space and its facilities. Coworking spaces often comprise shared desk space, break out areas and communal kitchens, but can also have workshops, testing labs and make-a-spaces. If you’re intending to use a coworking space, you should be aware that the space may be quiet sometimes or very busy at other times - people may well be on their phones or having lively conversations, so it’s common for coworkers to be listening to music via headphones if they’re focussing on a particular task.
How does it work?
Typically, a person or team will hire desk space, meeting rooms or other facilities, either on a pay as you go basis or on a regular plan. Flexibility varies from space to space and provider to provider, with some places needing a minimum commitment of a month or more, and some allowing booking slots of a day or even 30 minutes. At Indycube spaces, we offer PAYG desk days and rolling monthly plans, with plans for hourly bookings in the works. Some spaces can guarantee the same desk for the same person at all times, whereas other spaces have a batch of hot desks that anyone can use. If you’re particularly attached to a specific desk or spot, it’s worth checking with your coworking space how it works there. ‘Full time’ users of Indycube spaces can have the same permanent desks (as can half and part time users, in quieter spaces), whereas hot deskers aren’t guaranteed a particular desk. Each provider varies in terms of what they include in the price per desk or per month, but Indycube provides free tea, coffee and wifi to every user of the spaces.
So many reasons. The main one that we hear time and time again is company and the social aspect, as most independent workers would otherwise be working from home by themselves, with no one to bounce ideas off or have a coffee break with. Loneliness and isolation are highlighted by our members as being key drawbacks of working for yourself, so coworking can certainly alleviate this pressure. There are also all sorts of distractions at home, from kids and pets to TV or the laundry, so having a change of scenery and working from a productive environment can work wonders for motivation and effectiveness. This is, of course, a bonus for both independent workers and employers of remote workers. Cost can also be a factor - some small businesses may wish to have a dedicated, serviced office later down the line, but may not need or be able to justify the cost for this yet, so shared office space can be a great, affordable and flexible solution. Another key benefit is the potential for collaboration and networking with other coworkers, as there is such a range of skills;many businesses come to ‘skills exchange’ arrangements and other collaborations. A chat by the kettle can provide both welcome relief from your work and a useful contact for a new supplier, and on particularly difficult days a friendly face can make all the difference.
All sorts of people use coworking spaces - freelancers (whether full time or alongside another job), the self-employed, small business owners, contractors catching up on admin and remote workers who are employed by an organisation based elsewhere. Some coworking spaces have a particular client base, such as techies, writers or marketers, but many spaces are open to all sectors and specialisms (including Indycube.)
All over the UK, and still spreading. There are undoubtedly more spaces in cities such as London, Cardiff and Bristol, but other towns and villages are slowly having spaces open in their areas too. Indycube hope to continue bringing coworking spaces to rural areas, and you can see a full list of our spaces here.
That’s all for now - coming soon: What the Heck is a Jelly?