In the age before technology, the local coffee shop served as a central gathering place for a diverse group of business owners and professionals to meet and share ideas. Now that technology has evolved to a new level, hundreds of co-working sites are popping up in major cities across the country.
What is Co-Working?
You might be asking yourself, what is co-working? Simply put, it is a professional work environment for people who work independently, but who share values and are interested in collaborating with other professionals on everything from mutually beneficial business opportunities to incubating new small businesses. A typical co-working environment provides resources such as WIFI, desk space, fax, copy machine and private conference rooms, at a cost far less than traditional office space. The business model for many co-working sites is membership-based pricing that really depends on the numbers of hours you would use the facility in a given month. Additional charges may apply for facilities that offer 24/7 access.
Benefits of Co-Working
While co-working can be more cost-effective than renting a traditional office, the real power of this arrangement is the sharing of ideas, information and networking with peers. Work at home professionals, freelancers and start-up small business can benefit by using co-working locations to avoid the distraction of their homes and overcome isolation. The benefit to those who travel extensively is that co-working sites can serve a valuable purpose as hub locations. For the emerging small businesses owner, the collaboration with other entrepreneurs in this environment can provide valuable networking and idea sharing and incubation. Often, co-working locations offer events, seminars, and social media based communities on Facebook, Twitter, etc., that help bring the community concept to life.
Tips for Co-Working
Whether you are embarking on a co-working situation for the first time or are an old pro, here are some tips to help you make the most of it:
Networking – Schedule formal appointments to develop your centers of influence.
Manage your time effectively by limiting idle talk.
Privacy & Security– Use private conference rooms for sensitive discussions and keep necessary paperwork under control such as financial and bank documents. Guard intellectual property and ideas closely.
Maintain proper office etiquette – Avoid loud cell phone conversations and manage your workspace so not to interfere with others that use the location.
Where to Find Co-Working Spaces
Here are some resources to help you find available co-working spaces.
Co-Working Wiki Here is a co-working wiki that has tons of resources and groups to get you started.
Co-Working in Connecticut Here are four co-working spaces in CT.
Co-working in Boston & Cambridge MA Seven different places to choose from in the Boston & Cambridge areas.
Co-Working in Rhode Island Here is information for those working in Providence, RI.
Co-Working in Westchester, NY Westchester Magazine’s article highlights some of the best spaces in the region.
Co-Working in NYC: Some people travel to NYC to do business but live in Westchester, NY or Fairfield County in CT. Here's some of the five coolest co-working spaces to check out for when you’re working in “the city”. Or check out New Work City for a different perspective.
We all have coworkers, but are you a co-worker? Tell us your advice for people looking to get started co-working.