With more and more companies adopting remote working policies and with the rise of entrepreneurial startups, coworking spaces have multiplied like rabbits. From 2012-2013, for example, the number of coworking spaces in the U.S. grew 83% and coworking memberships have more than doubled.
At Formstack, we transitioned into a remote company in 2013. We have team members from all departments working remotely across the country, and often from various coworking spaces. I’m one of those employees. I work from a coworking space that I cofounded in Bloomington, Indiana called Cowork Btown.
With experience working remotely from a coworking environment, here are five reasons why coworking works.
1. Social Interaction
Let’s face it: Working from home can get mighty lonely. Sometimes it just helps to be around people to break up your work day. And studies have shown that social interaction is important to your health. Some of my really good friends are people who work, or have worked, at my coworking space. Establish relationships with the people in your coworking space, and you’ll be able to learn from and bounce ideas off one another.
A natural side effect of working around new people is getting to know them better. Growing your network by working at a coworking space is a huge benefit. You’ll likely meet some talented people who can help you get where you’re going. You’ll probably even come across someone who’s been where you’re wanting to go, and you can ask them for advice.
3. In-Person Meetings
The nice part about working from your computer is the ability to work from anywhere in the world with a solid internet connection.
But not always having the opportunity to meet face-to-face with clients or coworkers can have its downsides, so it’s a good idea to be able to meet in person from time to time. Some discussions should just never happen over email, chat or voice calls. (Video conferencing can be a close alternative if geographic distance is an issue.)
The good thing is that most coworking spaces have a dedicated room for in-person meetings. This can be a great space to sit down with a new client, discuss projects and have brainstorming sessions with your team, or pitch a group of investors. These rooms can also be a great place for phone calls. Nobody wants to be that guy walking around the coworking space on the phone all day.
Just keep in mind these rooms must typically be reserved for a specific time. Don’t just schedule a meeting without scheduling the room, or you could be in a pickle.
4. A Guaranteed Place to Work
One thing coworking spaces have to offer, that coffee shops don’t, is a consistent place to work. You won’t have to stress about finding a power outlet or that loud group sitting next to your table.
Coworking spaces are often located in business districts, and are often within walking distance of a store, post office and local restaurants. Many offer perks such as a shared coffeemaker, and maybe even morning snacks, and some spaces might even have their own cafe. This is a nice convenience that can save you some cash and prevent that morning run to Starbucks.
5. It Could Be Your Third Place
I talked about how a coworking space helps give you a way to get out of the house or office and an opportunity to socialize and network with others.
Now let’s talk about the concept of the third place (or third space). The third place helps an individual establish a sense of place or belonging in an informal setting outside of home and work. Some common characteristics of this third place include a welcoming environment, close proximity, often food and drink, and both new and regular faces who congregate there. But probably the most important characteristic of the third place is that an individual’s status in society does not matter.
If you work mostly from home or mostly at the office with an option to work remotely occasionally, a coworking space could act as your third place. Coworking spaces will often have social activities or meetups that resemble a third place atmosphere.