In 2015 the Bureau of Labor and Statistics estimated that one third or 53 million Americans are working as a freelancer, and I imagine that number has increased over the last few years. This has been such as a change in our workforce that Sara Horowitz, Executive Director of Freelancers Union has called the movement the ‘Industrial Revolution of our time”.
Working as a freelancer, while allowing for certain freedoms, also has its own unique set of challenges. Some of these challenges can be overcome by working in a coworking space. These office spaces can be beneficial to both the digital nomad as well as someone who just needs some time away from a home office.
What is a coworking space? The definition put forward by the Harvard Business Review is ‘member based workspaces where diverse groups of freelancers, remote workers, and other independent professionals work together in shared, communal settings.’ The coworking spaces near me have options for an occasional day visit, a short work week of 2 or 3 days, a full week during business hours, or 24/7 access. Many have opportunities to have your own desk space, meeting room space, or just a place to hang out and use the wifi and drink coffee.
How can becoming a member of a coworking space improve your work performance?
- Your work tends to be more meaningful to you and often involves something you care about.
- There is little competition among coworkers as the members are often from different companies and working on completely different projects.
- There is little internal politics or a need to feel like you fit in with the rest of the office employees.
- Because the members of the coworking spaces have very diverse backgrounds (and maybe not the resources that would be available in an office environment) there are often opportunities to collaborate with other members who may be in need of your special skill set. This allows for learning opportunities as well.
- Depending on you coworking space agreement, you may have access to your space 24/7, giving you the opportunity to work when you need or want to.
- While we appreciate the ability to work when we like, we also like to have structure and routines. A coworking space can provide just enough structure to keep us disciplined and motivated.
- There are still opportunities to socialize, but it’s more on your terms. If you want some socialization, head over to the cafe area. If you prefer to work undisturbed, there is likely a quiet spot where you can spend some time.
- Your coworking space may offer opportunities for additional learning, collaboration, and relaxation. Coworking spaces near me this month offer discussions and learning centered around the Python programming language or WordPress, games at lunch and a community lunch, networking events, volunteer opportunities and of course beer 30, a celebration and relaxation time where members can bring their own beer and celebrate a week well done.
It may take some time to figure out what type of community fits your work style and personality. Most do not require a long commitment so you are free to explore and find what works for you. I have my eye on one that is expanding into a new space within the next couple of months. I hope to be able to spend some time within that community to be able to surround myself with other creative minds that have an understanding of what I do and how I work.