For many people, getting away from coworkers is initially seen as a perk of going freelance. When you’re first toying with the idea of going independent, you relish the idea of never having to see Ted the bad breath guy from accounting or Linda the passive aggressive HR lady again. When Sartre said “hell is other people,” we can only assume he was talking about irritating middle management types.
However, anyone who’s freelanced or put in a request to work remotely knows that it doesn’t take long for a creeping feeling of isolation and loneliness to creep in. As annoying as some coworkers can be, you start to crave any companionship whatsoever when you’re cooped up in a home office by yourself all day.
This is one of the reasons why coworking is on the rise. Coworking involves working in a space with other people, but they aren’t your coworkers, per se. Rather, they’re fellow freelancers, entrepreneurs and independent workers. You all might be working on different projects for different companies, but you share a common workspace.
This isn’t like renting an office in a suite. You aren’t just renting a space, but you’re rather renting the experience of being around others. While there’s plenty of opportunities in a coworking space to have the quiet you need to concentrate, socializing isn’t discouraged. There’s no boss making the rounds to tell you to cut the chatter or to tell you that you can’t hold the meeting outside the office. You can come and go as you please.
If you’re an independent worker who’s been feeling lonely as of late, here are four coworking space benefits.
1. Be A Part Of Something Bigger
Human beings are naturally pack animals. We want to feel as if we’re a part of a larger group. Freelancing satisfies our urge to be independent and to make our own decisions, but it fails to satisfy our deep need to belong.
Coworking is really the best of both worlds. You get the independence of being a freelancer while enjoying the feeling of being amongst others. No more feeling isolated at work or feeling as if your social skills are being neglected in favor of your career.
2. All The Good Parts Of An Office, None Of The Negativity
You’re not likely to find a lot of troublemakers in a coworking environment. Troublemakers in traditional office settings are usually people who have to be there for the paycheck, are bitter about it and take that bitterness out on their coworkers.
One of the benefits of coworking is that you’re surrounded by positive, energetic people who want to be there. You get the good aspects of an office setting without any of the petty gossip or office politics. You can return to enjoying getting ready to go out into the world in the morning, without the fear that your boss will yell at you for being late. You can enjoy getting together with coworkers after work for happy hour, without the fear that the office bully will force his way into the outing.
3. Have A Place To Meet Clients
One of the issues with working from home is that you don’t have a place to meet clients or hold meetings. Sure, it can be great to hold the meeting outside the office, but there’s something about having a designated office space that gives your enterprise a feeling of legitimacy.
This is why so many freelancers and entrepreneurs end up renting office spaces. Some office spaces can be great, but remember, an office doesn’t do much to quell the feeling of isolation that so many freelancers struggle with.
When you cowork, you’ll generally have access to meeting areas and conference rooms that can be used to entertain clients should you need to hold a meeting. It’s a very valuable added bonus to a coworking arrangement.
4. Network and Meet New People
When we’re kids, we meet our friends in school. In adulthood, we tend to meet new people in the work world. Sadly, many freelancers often find themselves short on friends. It’s not because they’re antisocial or unpleasant, but merely because they’re not spending their days out in the world interacting with others.
In a coworking space, you won’t just make new friends, but you can make valuable business connections too. A graphic designer might be able to throw some clients in the direction of the web marketer he coworks with and the web marketer will owe him a favor. Networking is an essential component to any growing freelance business. Coworking gives you easy opportunities to make valuable business connections.
It’s admirable to leave the nine to five world of salaries and bosses behind in favor of pursuing your own enterprise. However, if you miss the sense of community that an office provides, don’t think you’re alone. Remember, we’re social beings. We’re not meant to spend eight hour blocks of our days completely isolated and alone.
If you miss the feeling of belonging that an office provides, give coworking a try. You’ll find that getting ready to go to an office every day improves your overall morale and zeal for your job. It’s nice for home to finally be home again and to be surrounded by others while you chase your entrepreneurial dreams.