As a freelance writer, I know the benefit of getting away for a retreat. While retreats are great for getting some fresh scenery and doing intense work, there are times when an extra dose of alone time isn’t exactly what I’m looking for. Sometimes I long to be surrounded by like-minded people and to have a sense of collaboration that comes from working in a shared space.
Working from home has many benefits — including convenience and flexibility — but it can also be lonely. research shows that long-term teleworking increases social vulnerability and leaves two in ten workers feeling lonely.
The repair? I suggest personal coworking sprints. Knowing that leaving the house for an in-person collaboration could make all the difference, I recently joined a friend to work for a few days the Hoxtona coworking space in Chicago, where I live.
Here’s what I learned from the coworking experience. I’m sharing the benefits I’ve discovered as well as some tips to consider when choosing a collaborative workspace for yourself.
Break the remote work blues
As a freelance writer, I work independently. The lack of interruptions keeps me highly efficient, but can also be quite isolating.
I’m not alone with this feeling either. Although technology makes communication easier, 64% of freelancers still report feeling lonely every day. While we can join industry-specific Slack groups or chat with our friends and colleagues on Zoom, nothing replaces face-to-face interaction.
This is exactly why I decided to seek out a coworking space and meet up with another freelancer for a few days of remote work in a vibrant, crowded environment.
Advantages of coworking spaces
For professionals who work remotely, coworking spaces offer many advantages. With 1.08 million workers Working in these spaces across the US, it’s clear that today’s remote workers use them.
My boyfriend and I accomplished a lot during our time at the Chicago coworking space. This increased productivity is not new. As a matter of fact, 74% of people feel more productive when working in a coworking environment. There are several factors that contribute to getting more work done, among others – here are a few.
- The change can make you happier. Newly published research shows a change of scenery and routine can be uplifting. If you feel like your work days at home are becoming one never-ending mass, consider switching jobs for a few days. In case it’s even more motivating, researchers have found that a happy worker is a more productive worker.
- You can explore new environments and meet new people to find new ideas. Coworking spaces can stimulate creativity. When you change your location, you meet people from different backgrounds and see things that you will never see at home. You can draw inspiration from these interactions and gain access to ideas that you may not have received from your own professional network. It’s a good idea to socialize between work sprints, which can help relieve stress. Personally, I love being among people, which is an extra portion of motivation for me.
- It becomes easier to hold yourself accountable. Taking a quick break at a coffee shop in the middle of the day can be a nice change – but working in a coffee shop (or a restaurant) comes with its own challenges. These facilities tend to be noisy and overwhelming, making it almost impossible to get anything done. It doesn’t help that most people chat while there. If we had decided to work in a coffee shop, we would certainly have done the same. In a coworking space, on the other hand, everyone works. In addition, the atmosphere itself is conducive to getting things done.
- Routine tasks are no longer an issue. Everyday chores eat up your time when you work from home. Remember to stock up printer paper and toner, make coffee and prepare lunch snacks. None of this was my concern working in a collaborative workspace. Working From offered free snacks and drinks so I didn’t have to prepare them myself and could focus more on my work.
- Well-designed spaces bring satisfaction. I love my home office, but coworking spaces offer a different work environment. Working From is elegant, spacious and well maintained. An organized and clean workspace can make everyone feel more productive and efficient. A 2017 to learn shows that employees report higher job satisfaction when measured cleanliness is better. Higher productivity consequently results in higher satisfaction. When you have a clean, beautiful workspace, you can focus more energy on completing projects as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Aside from increased productivity, coworking spaces allow for networking with professionals from other niches. Eighty-six percent of people report expanding their personal networks simply by joining collaborative workspaces. Expanding your professional network is key to running a successful freelance business. In fact, I get most of my gigs through referrals.
What should be considered in a coworking space?
Coworking spaces are popping up everywhere: they’re forecast to outperform 40,000 until 2024. My friend and I did some research before we found the right one. If you are planning to join one, here are a few things to keep in mind.
- Location. Choosing a coworking space near you makes commuting easier. But besides the distance, you also need to check the neighboring area. For example, The Hoxton was in a prime location. In our case, we were in a great area that was good for walking and had lots of great local restaurants (so we could easily grab a quick lunch). I’m also a big fan of Barnfox locations for retreat-style co-working trips, or SoHo House for meetings and video calls when I need a fancier backdrop.
- Furnishing. For maximum productivity, the coworking space you choose should have everything you need. Coworking spaces vary in terms of facilities, and some may require an additional fee. In our experience, we had easy access to printers, high-speed WiFi, and plenty of charging ports.
- facilities. Each coworking space is uniquely designed. Besides aesthetics, practicality should be your priority. We knew our space should have a communal kitchen, meeting rooms, common areas, and booths for taking calls. Having dedicated quiet areas allowed me to take calls without the noise of the common areas.
- Additional perks. Besides working in an environment where you can concentrate, it is equally important to choose a coworking space that meets all your needs. Gym, terraces, and free drinks are often part of the package. Make sure you check them out before making a commitment. In our case, we have access to a yoga studio at The Hoxton and other hotel facilities, so I was able to do some stretches after spending hours in front of a computer.
- Costs. Consider the membership fee if you intend to use the coworking space frequently. In my case, a day pass was only $30 and included access to two floors of beautifully landscaped workspaces.
Visiting a coworking space is a perfect way to break the monotony of working from home. This new type of collaborative environment may offer just the right combination of benefits for your workday.
Kaleigh Moore is an author and consultant for companies in the SaaS industry.
https://www.fastcompany.com/90739744/5-essentials-to-look-for-in-a-coworking-space?partner=feedburner&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=feedburner+fastcompany&utm_content=feedburner Top things to add to your coworking office list