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Coworking Questions & Answers

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WHAT IS COWORKING SPACE?

Coworking is an innovative concept where upandcoming enterprises, freelancers, startups, and entrepreneurs access top level office facilities at a fraction of the price. Coworkers achieve this by sharing work space which reduces costs. But the real beauty of coworking goes far beyond stylish office space in a central urban location.



WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY "COWORKING COMMUNITY"?

The cowork concept is much more than just sharing a physical space. When you enter into a coworking community, you get the opportunity to engage with a new class of creators and workers. They value both personal and professional growth while seeking meaningful relationships. When you place a group of forward thinkers in the same space, bold - even world changing - ideas are bound to materialize.



HOW MUCH DOES COWORKING COST?

One of the most attractive aspects of coworking spaces is their accessibility on a cost basis. Most facilities do not require a long term commitment or contract. Instead, a basic monthly fee pays for broadband access, tech support, community space, kitchen access, and personal work space.

Many locations also offer other amenities that can be used monthly or as needed. Some examples might be a personal phone line, office address, virtual answering service, larger private office space, or stateoftheart conference facilities.



WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR IN A COWORKING SPACE?

The good news is that nearly all cowork spaces have upscale, modern amenities. In fact, trend setting and cowork have become nearly synonymous. Still, it pays to inquire about certain aspects before joining. Some questions to ask might be:

  1. What type of internet access do you offer?
  2. What are the hours of operation?
  3. Do you require a long term contract, or can I pay monthly?
  4. Can I use the cowork address as my office address?
  5. Is coffee and/or refreshments included in the package?
  6. Do you have a conference room for use? How much does it cost?
  7. What if I want to add people to my team? How much space do you have?
  8. Is it possible to have a private office within the cowork space?
  9. Do you have answering and call forwarding services?



WHAT ARE THE COWORKING BENEFITS TO FREELANCERS?

In many ways, coworking environments were born from the need of freelancers to have their own professional work space. It's not always feasible for a freelancer to work from home. So they started hanging out in cyber cafes and other places where they could plug in and work. Inevitably, these independent workers ended up exchanging ideas and forming bonds. It was only a matter of time before spaces dedicated to these kinds of services and interactions started popping up.

Freelancers love these spaces because they are natural incubators for ideas. Also, the worker retains his or her autonomy while benefitting from being a member of a community. Finally, cowork areas are excellent places to make contact with new clients.



HOW DOES COWORKING HELP STARTUPS?

Coworking may have begun with freelancers, but it evolved into a startup's dream. In many cases, a new business idea runs on a shoestring budget. The best coworking spaces allow young projects to have access to the most stylish and trendy settings in town. Plus, if they land a big meeting, the startup can be proud of hosting guests in a pleasant atmosphere full of creative energy. Also, you may be surprised at the big names who are also leveraging the cowork space advantage.

The benefit of sharing space with other innovators cannot be overstated. Friendly support and collaborations blossom naturally, and solutions to problems made easier. For example, you might get a great software idea from your cowork neighbor while offering a stellar logistics solution in return. You may even find yourself combining with likeminded individuals bringing both objectives to fruition faster.



IS COWORKING JUST FOR STARTUPS AND INDIVIDUALS?

Many large corporations have become savvy to the benefits of the cowork concept. First of all is the economic advantage. Instead of dedicating a large upfront investment, these companies look for space where their team can be up and running immediately. Coworking provides all the services and amenities required to represent their brand in the most professional manner possible.

Big brands often need to find original ways to break free of corporate structures and discover new ideas. The cowork space is a fantastic place to recruit new talent, mine for golden opportunities, and win new clients. For instance, the multinational professional services firm, KPMG has set up an outpost in a cowork space to tap into a different vibe and generate new possibilities.



WHAT ARE SOME COWORKING TRENDS?

Besides the ongoing, day-to-day collaboration, coworking has evolved into a new brand of resource. For example, many cowork spaces will host seminars and talks of interest. It might be how to launch a new product or how to optimize your work time.

Community members love to support one another and share tips for success. The number of coworking spaces offering mentoring services continues to increase.

Also, more and more cowork spaces are offering services such as virtual address, phone answering service, message forwarding, and mail processing.



DO I HAVE TO BE SOCIAL TO JOIN A COWORK SPACE?

Absolutely not. All coworking environments are primarily about one thing: getting the job done. The benefits of community and social connection are perks, but no one is going to force you to engage. You can keep a low profile and still benefit from things like low cost, a virtual office address, and internet hook up. Still, you might be surprised as you start to hear and exchange ideas just how valuable the community aspect can be.



DO REMOTE WORKERS USE COWORKING?

Many conventional companies these days allow people to work remotely. While working from home might be possible, not everyone's situation fits home offices. Some people after relocating might not have the space to work from home. In cases like this, coworking can fill the gap.

Many companies might even be willing to pay part, or all, of the cowork fee. So instead of spending a lot of time commuting, you have access to a professional workspace thanks to coworking.



WHERE ARE COWORK SPACES LOCATED?

Most of those who choose cowork spaces desire access to city centers and urban lifestyle. For that reason, coworking communities are typically located in well known business or cultural districts. This can give instant credibility to any new brand since the cowork address becomes your business mailing address.

As the trend has grown, so have the options. The number of coworking spaces has boomed, and they are more varied in character and location than ever. You might be surprised to find one much closer to home than you thought possible.



WHAT'S THE BENEFIT OF A VIRTUAL ADDRESS?

A cowork space may allow you to use its address as your official business mailing address. This means they receive and/or forward all your mail to you. This can also improve your brand image. Many of the best coworking spaces are located in commercial districts or upandcoming trendy neighborhoods. You may even be able to publish this address on your website, company letterhead, or business cards.

The cowork space address goes far beyond just putting you on the map. The address is fully functional and legal - not only for potential partners or investors - but it also may satisfy government requirements for business registration.



DO COWORK SPACES HAVE ANSWERING SERVICES?

Some cowork spaces offer the added benefit of a dedicated phone line and answering service. This means any incoming calls are treated as if you had your own private office. More advanced services include forwarding messages by email or fax.

Many young companies aren't ready to hire secretarial or reception staff. These virtual services are a smart way new businesses can appear larger than they are without increasing overhead.



WHY ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF COWORKING VS. WORKING AT HOME?

For many, working from home offers comfort and freedom from commuting, so why change?

One reason is that the home environment can have many distractions. Even though cowork spaces are all about community and sharing, they are undoubtedly places of work. Cowork members are passionate about their projects and work hard to develop them.

This attitude is contagious, and can even help you improve productivity. You might also tap into new client pools which benefit any freelancer and startup. If you work exclusively from home, you limit your chances for getting out and making new contacts.



IS COWORKING JUST FOR INDIVIDUALS, OR CAN TEAMS JOIN?

One of most attractive aspects about coworking is the scalability. If you are a one, two, or three-person team, you can find plenty of room coworking. Even larger teams can find co-work spaces that accommodate their needs.

In many cases, start-ups don't have full time employees. The cowork space offers the exact kind of flexibility that a growing operation requires, without renting expensive office space.



WHAT KIND OF PEOPLE OR BUSINESSES MIGHT BE PART OF A COWORK COMMUNITY?

You name it and you're bound to find it. You might discover yourself alongside programmers, designers, writers, journalists, and entrepreneurs. All these people have something that just might work in synergy with your project, making life easier and better for you and the community.

Even Fortune 500 companies sometimes decide to test new waters in a co-work environment. Investors also have been known to hang out around co-work spaces. If you have the money to invest in new ideas, a hive of creativity is a great place to start looking.



WHAT ARE THE DISADVANTAGES OF COWORKING?

Some people require more isolation or privacy to get their work done. Cowork spaces are lively and full of interaction, which might be distracting. Still, most cowork environments have separate spaces when you need more privacy.

If you are a rather large organization, you might not fit into a cowork space. However, even big corporations often set up an outpost in strategic areas with coworking.



IS COWORKING REALLY WORTH IT, OR IS IT JUST A GIMMICK?

There might be reasons to be skeptical, but as the Harvard Business Review (HBR) points out, people thoroughly enjoy their cowork places. According to the report, cowork members thrive at a level 6 out of 7, which is a full point higher than most regular office workers.

The HBR observed that cowork communities foster a sense meaningfulness to one's work. Perhaps this stems from the collective energy produced from those striving to generate something truly new. Or maybe it's living free from traditional work boundaries.

The attitude of collaboration and solidarity have been cowork trademarks since the early days. The review goes on to name job control and a sense of community as more reasons why cowork places are so successful on many different levels.



WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THE "HUMAN FACTOR" IN COWORKING?

With today's technology, virtual enterprises have become commonplace. While the internet has produced opportunities never before realized, it also carries the risk of social isolation. If everybody ends up working from home, the human factor can get lost quickly.

Getting to know someone means seeing their face becoming familiar with their mannerisms. It might even mean offering a shoulder to cry on when things get tough. The cowork space delivers a unique answer to this question. While decentralizing the work space, it allows us to remain in contact with others. Even better, it gives us a chance to tap into a diversity impossible to duplicate in a homogenous corporate headquarters.


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