The Benefits of Coworking, Community, and Collaboration
Coworking, community, collaboration: that's a lot to take in. But it's not just a case of cute alliteration.
All of these terms are closely linked, and they combine to sum up a very special type of workplace that's taking the world by storm. Let's start with a de-brief:
'Coworking' refers to a type of shared office space, whose users typically work independently or for multiple companies. The space is often open plan, with a range of furniture (sofas, armchairs, bar stools and desks) scattered around so users can work wherever and however they like. Coworkers typically pay for the workspace on a monthly membership deal (like a gym) or on a pay-as-you-go basis, with different tariffs depending on usage.
The coworking movement was born out of a need for independent workers to beat the isolation of working alone. Many coworkers are freelancers, startup business owners or home-based independents, who miss the camaraderie of working in a traditional office. Coworking spaces not only fill this void; they pride themselves on their special blend of community and work hard to develop a rich sense of companionship and support for its members.
At the heart of a coworking community is collaboration. After all, building community requires people to pitch in - and the idea is to encourage members to share knowledge, socialise and support each other whenever possible. Members are often happy to do this; it links back to their original need for a social workspace and a supportive community.
Now you know what it's all about, let's take a closer look at the benefits of coworking and what you can get out of it.
Surround yourself with good company:
Whatever line of work you're in, there's a lot to be said for surrounding yourself with inspiring people. Coworking spaces attract all sorts of business people, many of whom are working on innovative new ideas, starting a new business or offering valuable services. Simply sharing space with like-minded professionals is a great motivation boost that leads to enhanced productivity - not to mention valuable resources and new business opportunities.
Get the answers you need:
If you're struggling with a particular business aspect or falling flat on inspiration, look around - the chances are, there's someone in your coworking space who can help. At the very least, they'll point you in the right direction of someone who can (because that's what a good community is all about).
For many, coworking is a natural step up from the home office. Transitioning a business from home into an office can be daunting, and if you're not ready for a full-time private office, coworking can ease you into it. It's highly flexible and in most cases, you can choose the commitment that best suits your business and your budget.
The coworking market itself is well established, even though it's only been around for the past decade. As such, coworking isn't just becoming more commonplace - it's also diversifying in its style and approach and today, 'coworking' has become a calling card for a rich variety of shared workspace.
Take UBC for instance. We're traditionally a business centre operator providing private serviced offices to SMEs. Over the past two or three years, we've received more and more enquiries from local business owners looking for coworking space as a step-up from their home office. So we took notice, and now all UBC centres provide shared flexible workspace.
We call it Venture Coworking, yet our approach is a little different from the 'classic' coworking approach. In place of pay-as-you-go memberships, we offer an inclusive package on a monthly basis. Venture clients get their own private desk (with comfy furniture and lockable storage) in a small shared office inside a business centre. You can use our business centre address to receive mail, your own dedicated landline number, and personalised call answering from on-site receptionists.
As for the community side of things, Venture clients are in a shared office with other professionals based within the same building as other business centre clients, ranging from startups to corporate names.
UBC Venture is cheaper than a private office too, starting from £199 pcm, so it's ideal for small businesses (we're running a special promotion on Venture Coworking until 30th June 2016 - visit the Promotions page for details).
All in all, coworking is a welcome and refreshing addition to the world of workspace, and we think it's definitely a change for the better. Why not come and see for yourself? Find out more online or get in touch to arrange a no-obligation tour.