Picture the scene: you’re working on a vital, time sensitive piece of work, or on the phone to an important client and the door bell goes. Or the cat starts screeching. Or the window cleaner needs a refill. It’s hardly the perfect environment to run your burgeoning startup.
The above scene may sound a tad ridiculous but it’s an increasingly common scenario as the vast majority of self-employed or freelancers choose to work from home. Sure, you can conduct your business in your slippers and catch up on that Netflix box set at lunchtime, but are you diligent enough to ignore the pile of dirty dishes or the persistent cat that wants to play?
Perhaps the answer is a supportive and friendly environment without the distractions of home? Shared coworking spaces could be the answer. They’re spaces that offer much more than a relaxed working environment with first class coffee. Although we can boast both. It’s about being connected to your peers, both professionally and socially; an environment where you’ll find support and get valuable feedback. More importantly, it’s about increasing your productivity as there’s less distractions and temptation to dip into housework or take a power nap.
With approximately 1.4million self-employed or freelancers in the UK (a figure which has grown 14% in the last 10 years) there is a growing danger that a lack of social interaction in the work place may lead to loneliness, isolation and lower productivity. But wait… why can’t you just work in the local café with its free wifi and great coffee.
Local cafes may boast free wifi and great coffee but they also come with an ever increasing list of distractions: crying babies; loud chatter; the clatter of cutlery and people chattering on their phones. People who use coworking spaces have more respect for others and treat it as it should be - a place of work, albeit a friendly, relaxed and supportive one.
It’s not merely freelancers who gain by using coworking spaces. Large organisations can also benefit by allowing staff to work remotely, even occasionally, far from the corporate office in a more supportive and creative environment. Being able to run shoulders with startups and freelancers benefits both parties. And there's also the cost and time saving by eliminating a commute to the office.
And the conversation is better than the cat’s.
Barry McDonald, Community and Events Coordinator.