Coworking spaces are all about promoting collaboration, community, and bringing together people of diverse backgrounds and disciplines. They have been growing in popularity in recent years, for entrepreneurs, creatives, and freelancers. Larger companies have also taken notice and begun to utilize these spaces. They see them as a place for their employees in various cities across the world to work from, and as a way to give individuals who may need more work flexibility an avenue to be productive.
Erynn Lyster is the owner of The Commons, a coworking space in Calgary. She says that, “the biggest benefit is connecting with people who you may not normally run into in your day to day professional life.” In coworking spaces like The Commons, you can often find people with very different professions chatting over coffee. While they may share the same values, they often have very different backgrounds and skill sets which often leads to opportunities to learn and collaborate.
These spaces can be an excellent opportunity for digital businesses to grow, especially sole proprietors or freelancers. Working from home can get quite lonely when you have no one to interact with or bounce ideas off of. This is one of the reasons Erynn Lyster first decided to try out a coworking space. After working for a number of years from home as a graphic designer, Lyster began to feel the loneliness of working from home. “Although the freedom was nice, it was really socially isolating and just kind of awful,” she says. She fell in love with the sense of community and ended up buying the space when it went up for sale, converting it into The Commons.
Another huge benefit of coworking spaces is that people have more control over their job. Whether someone needs to work long hours and finish a project or wants to take a break in the middle of the day, they are able to so because of the flexibility coworking spaces provide. While the same can be said of working from home, the physical process of creating a routine around going to work, is shown to increases productivity. Because workers have a balance between independence and structure, they are often able to work to their full potential.
These spaces are such a great opportunity for digital businesses because of the technology and materials that are often available for members to use. These otherwise expensive startup costs, augment the many tools and software application used by these businesses, which naturally lend themselves to being on the go. The added support and coworking environment, leads to knowledge sharing and innovation – a key ingredient for any digital business. And the great coffee that’s generally included in their membership, provides another incentive to get out of bed in the morning and start working!
Several digital companies that began as members at The Commons including InkPlot, Full Blast Creative, and talonX , went on to outgrown these coworking spaces and moved into their own office space. These companies took advantage of the sense of community and made the most of it through collaborations.
“I do think that it makes a huge difference to be around different people who are as passionate about their business as you are. Just being in an office fuddling with other people’s creative ideas and seeing them succeed and get excited is a huge benefit for your business that you can’t really quantify otherwise,” Lyster says.
Coworking spaces give companies who are just starting out an avenue to get their feet on the ground while interacting with others. Every coworking space has slightly different membership options and atmospheres. Before picking a coworking space make sure you consult with your team about your needs and find the best one for you because a new environment can be very stimulating for creativity! Here are a few to consider:
Photo courtesy of: Jodimichelle on Flickr