01 . Jun . 2020
Coworking has taken over the world. If you’re any sort of creative freelancer, many of your industry colleagues probably rent a workspace—we’ve all heard horror stories about dream jobs working from home that turned sour without anybody else around. We’ve also heard about coworking spaces that weren’t up to scratch: that lacked crucial amenities that make it possible to do good work.
Not only do coworking spaces have desk rental costs, they’re usually in locations that mean you’re more tempted to buy a nice barista-made coffee or a slice of pizza for lunch, and that can add up; access to amenities is often a double-edged sword for those on a budget. If you factor in other costs like transport, it can definitely add up.
I’ll say this: the cost of a desk is usually not the problem. Coworking spaces aren’t free, but they’re often built around freelancers and small business owners, and they charge accordingly. The costs associated with them are usually the same costs as working in an office: food and transport.
Generally speaking, coworking spaces will have pricing tiers you can slot into: larger companies are going to pay more, while freelancers can get a reduced rate. At that rate, desk costs are unusually nominal, though that’s not true across the board and if a coworking space costs you more than a day’s wages per week, I wouldn’t bother with it.
One of the big advantages of coworking spaces is their flexible location. If the office is a two hour commute away, then you just do a 2 hour commute; if a coworking space is two hours away, well … you find a closer coworking space. They’re springing up like mushrooms in most major cities, and that gives you a lot more flexibility in finding and choosing somewhere that suits your day. Larger cities like Delhi or Kolkata will have a lot of spaces in the city center, but will also have ones in their outer districts that are more accessible for people whose budget means they can’t afford expensive inner-city housing.
This also helps with money: you can find a coworking space that costs less to reach, or maybe one in a part of town where lunch is more affordable. Don’t be content just working in the first place you find: choosing the right space can have a huge positive effect on your life and your work.
If you’re a parent who needs to bring their children to the office, you’re going to need a very different space than somebody without kids. The same applies if you have accessibility issues—you need to find a space tailored to your particular needs. Offices rarely give you the option to choose somewhere that best suits your needs, but that’s a big part of why coworking spaces have taken off: if somewhere doesn’t have what you’re looking for, you can move onto the next space.
In addition to standard office facilities, Zioks has a daycare, gym, cafeteria (and cafe!), medical room, and a rec room for blowing off steam. We think it’s important that our coworking members are happy, comfortable, and well looked-after.
Other critical things for any good coworking space to have:
Luckily Zioks has all five!
One of the major advantages of coworking spaces is how they allow easy networking and collaboration in a way that’s less rigid than a standard office—new people come and go all the time, and proximity means you often end up making friends who can lead your career in interesting new directions.
This one is hard to tell from the outset, but it’s something to ask yourself once you’ve been there for a few weeks? Do I value networking and close associations with my coworkers? Am I getting it? Of course, for many coworking members it’s not about that—perhaps you value privacy and just like having the amenities or the human hubbub to help keep you focussed. If you do value that though, keep it in mind when deciding whether to stay at a coworking space.
Related to that, if you’re looking for a space with a lot of events and group excursions, then you should find out what they have on. Some coworking members prefer not to attend this sort of event and will avoid spaces that make them mandatory. Find out what your prospective coworking space has planned in this regard—it’s easy enough to ask before signing up.
Some people prefer the isolation and control of working from home—for everybody who went stir-crazy without office noise around them, there’s somebody who genuinely enjoys working in their PJs. There’s nothing wrong with that! I do work from home sometimes: I like the quiet, I like the comfort, and I like having access to my own kitchen, but also if I work too long alone I turn into a mad hermit. I’ll generally work three days from home, then two in a coworking space, and I love having that flexibility.
It took me a while to calibrate the best balance, and it might take you some time as well. That balance might even end up being “no days in the office, every day from home,” but it could also mean “I just like to work from the couch on Fridays”, and you’re going to want to do a bit of self-reflection to figure out where the balance lies.
This all comes together around one big idea: coworking gives you control. If flexibility is your primary issue with office life, then it’s a compelling proposition. Don’t like a coworking space? Keep your job, and find another office. Do you prefer to work nights? Find somewhere open 24/7. Do you need a constant supply of caffeine or you’ll have a monster headache? Find the place that does the best coffee. As more coworking spaces spring up, your options will only increase. It’s not the right pick for everybody, but if you’re on the fence, I’d recommend trying it out and seeing how you feel.
If you think coworking is for you, then we encourage you to checkout Zioks, we’re one of the top coworking spaces in Salt Lake, Kolkata. If you want to learn more about coworking, the history of coworking is a good place to start.