Coworking takes many forms for different coworkers
Guest blog by Thomas Scott, CEO of Brand Journalists and a CoLab member:
Coworking has gained in popularity over the past few years and coworking spaces are becoming more and more common in cities across the country. But what is it that makes these spaces so functional?
As a coworker who started out working from home, purchased a desk membership, moved into a shared office and built a successful business in a coworking environment, here are some of my observations about what makes a coworking space work and what it should look like:
Coworking should be flexible. Coworking spaces leave room to grow. A common success story in the coworking world, members often start out with a shared desk in a co-working room and find themselves getting busier and bigger before too long. The ability to transfer into a more dedicated space, such as a reserved desk or small shared office, outgrow that, hire employees and end up in a small, private office is what co-working spaces are all about. The flexibility to grow as your business grows.
This hits at the core of coworking – besides being attractive to freelancers and work-from-home folks, coworking centers serve as business launchpads and incubators. For this to work, coworking spaces need the structure to accommodate this growth. This means ample shared desks in open rooms, available conference rooms with white boards for meetings, shared offices and private office suites with lockable doors. Without this structure, coworkers move out when they grow and with them, some of the energy diminishes. Being around others who have built successful businesses is motivating for the rest of the community.
Coworking should be fun. An essential part of the coworking experience is that it is collaborative, social and fun. It’s a place to think out loud, share ideas with neighbors, get advice on projects and simply hang out.
A good coworking space inspires creativity and is designed to encourage having fun. This means lounge areas, ample tables, creative art and color schemes and even games like ping-pong and Foosball. After all, if coworkers wanted stuffy office space, they would rent an executive suite.
Coworking should be affordable. One of the large draws for a coworking space is that it is geared towards social and creative types who are working from home or struggling to work in coffee shops. Because of this, coworking spaces should be priced below other small business office options. Included services are a must – no extra charges for Internet, printing or use of the fax. In most spaces, such as CoLab in Nashville and Orlando, conference and training rooms are also included and usable by appointment. This makes it both functional and easy on the budget.
Curious to see what one looks like? Take a tour of Nashville’s CoLab Coworking space and drop by our corner of the building and say hello.