Coworking is a great way of bringing a diverse group of people with all different areas of knowledge and insight together in a single workspace. It’s a way to work independently, but not in isolation. It can help build a strong community of entrepreneurs who are free to share ideas and references.
No longer just for the tech crowd, the concept of coworking has evolved into something suitable for just about any profession. Many people still have their reservations and misconceptions, though. Here, some of these are brought to light and debunked.
1. Coworking is only for startups & freelancers.
While it is true that startups and freelancers make up a majority of the coworking population, the opportunity is not limited to only them. The setup is ideal for anyone who may have flexible work arrangements and remote or virtual work options, even if they work for a larger company.
2. There is too much noise and no privacy in coworking spaces.
By working in an area with many other entrepreneurs, many people are under the misconception that getting work done is nearly impossible due to noise and distractions. However, every person in that area is there for the same reason: to get work done. The clicking of keys will be almost constant, but for the most part the noise level remains pretty low. Some people thrive with a bit of buzz from the social fabric of coworking spaces, but if you’re not one of those people, make sure to bring headphones just in case.
One of the Golden Rules of coworking is having respect for others. Many of these types of spaces have separate areas for video conferencing and phone calls, and even if there is no such area, respect would lead the one with the call to take it outside of the working space.
3. Members of coworking spaces must collaborate.
You don’t get to choose who else decides to utilize the same coworking space as you, and it may be that you have no interest collaborating with them. It’s okay; your peers won’t ostracize you if you would rather keep to yourself. Those who want to team up can, and those who don’t will be left alone. Furthermore, just because you choose to work with one or two of your coworking partners doesn’t mean you have to work with every one of them—you’re allowed to choose who you do and don’t work with.
4. Coworking spaces are the same as shared working spaces.
Coworking spaces are a great way to find a sense of belonging and continuity for the employee or independent contractor who wouldn’t have an office otherwise—it is an alternative to moving from coffee shop to coffee shop, or feeling isolated by working at home. Coworking places a group of entrepreneurs of different skill sets and background into one area, forming a community. Where shared offices keep workers divided, coworking offices are open and free, allowing interaction and innovation. If you get stuck on a project or are looking for a new perspective, you are surrounded by people who may have the resources to help.