Over the last few years, the way we work has seen a significant change. Working from home became the norm and as the world opened back up again, many haven’t wanted to return to their long daily commutes into an office. Renting a permanent office space solely for your own small business can be costly, and if it isn’t getting regular use, it can be a waste of resources, so some have opted to permanently work from home.
That being said, permanently working from home also has its pros and cons. While it keeps the costs down and can feel like a dream to work from home with your children or escape the rat race and busy commute of employment, it can also give you new challenges. How do you stay focused and not get distracted by the washing, ironing, TV, pets, etc? Do your friends and family not see you as being at “work” because you are “just at home” and they turn up expecting you to drop everything and have coffee or lunch with them?! And I guess the biggest downside is the loneliness — being inside those four walls all day, every day.
This is where the solution of co-working may come in. We have put together our top 5 advantages of co-working & details of how we at PPF benefit from a co-working space.
What is co-working?
Co-working spaces are an arrangement where people of different businesses share an office space under a flexible agreement that suits your needs. They come in many different styles and have different options; you can hot desk, which means you rent a desk for the day, either on an ad hoc basis, or for a set number of days. You can also become a resident of the co-working space and rent a desk each month, which is then yours to use every day. Meeting rooms can be available to book for client meetings or networking events.
Who can benefit from co-working?
Co-working is perfect for small businesses, freelancers, start-up teams, remote workers, or corporate teams that need space to work on ad hoc projects. Because co-working spaces are flexible and adaptable to your own needs, really anyone can benefit from them.
Our top 5 Advantages to co-working
1. An Increase in Productivity & Creativity.
With fewer distractions from normal household life, you’ll have more time to dedicate to completing your to-do list. You’ll have a bit more structure to your working day and will want to use the time more efficiently. The spaces are made to adapt to different work styles, providing a variety of desks and meeting rooms to tailor individuals’ needs, and bouncing ideas with other people can provide a creativity boost.
2. Flexibility & Cost Saving.
One of the reasons working from home appeals is the cost; you’re not tied in to leases, phone or broadband contracts etc. With co-working spaces, the terms are much more flexible. If you need to get out of your home office but aren’t ready to take on your own office and lease, then co-working is a great in-between.
3. Avoiding loneliness.
With other, like-minded, people around you, you’ll be able to socialise and banish that feeling of being lonely. There will be people to talk to and actually have a (grown-up) conversation with.
The above really does lead nicely to networking. Different businesses getting together and chatting – you’d have people to bounce ideas around with and to pick their brains (and they pick yours). The variety of skills in the space could be immense. You could find some new suppliers or even customers. Either way, it will be a great way to grow your network; co-working can be like a community of business owners.
5. Separation of work and home.
I read a post on social media the other day about working from home that made the point “are we working from home, or living from work?” — If you’re not careful, the lines can become blurred. By actually leaving the house to go to work, you’ll be keeping work and home separate. You’ll get more work done during the day (as we’ve seen above), and when you’re done for the day, you can then go home and enjoy family life without work getting in the way.
PPF’s Experience with co-working
As you may already know, PPF’s team all work from home remotely throughout the UK (or from wherever we have WIFI), and for us that works pretty well.
One of the key ways to make a remote team work, though, is to build connections and a good working relationship with one another. We have our weekly team meetings online and all keep up to date with one another throughout the week using Slack, but one of the best ways that we have built strong connections with each other is by meeting up once a month in a co-working space.
Although the whole team loves working from home, we also love our one day a month in the office together. I asked some of the team what their favourite part of co-working was, and this is what they had to say:
“It’s always so much nicer to see everyone in person rather than on a screen. A big plus for me is also being able to work, see the team, but also be able to take my fur baby with me” Caroline
“I love seeing the team in real life and catching up with everyone. It’s always a bonus when Caroline brings the puppy. Plus it’s a lovely place to work-much tidier than my desk at home” – Grace
“It’s great to have the mix and be able to work from home but also get the social side and spend time together as a team in person.” I love the energy that we have when we’re together-which I think you don’t always capture if you’re working together all the time as it’s then ‘normal’! And puppy cuddles are always good!” – Cheryl
“I love having a reason to dress my bottom half too! It’s always lovely to have a chat and a coffee while working, and I always come away excited for what’s to come!” – Ellie
We use The Residence Coworking in Bishops Stortford (they also have a place in Newport) and we highly recommend them. The space is stunning, the people are friendly, helpful, and a joy to interact with. A big bonus, if you can’t tell from the team quotes above, if you are in a private office or meeting room, you’re able to bring along your pooches.
If you are still unsure about giving co-working a go for you or your team, why don’t you look around your local sites and even book a desk for a day to trial it? If you are local to Bishops Stortford or Newport, The Residence offers your first hot desk booking for free, and they even have free coffee, tea, and cake—what have you got to lose? (Disclaimer: This isn’t a paid advertisement-we just love what they offer.)
Thinking about using a co-working space, but worried about what to do about your registered address? Check out our blog: What is a registered address and why do I need one? for some suggestions.