When I started working for myself four years ago I set up our spare room for my home office. This room has a PC, desk, chair, filing cabinet, bookshelf and a bed. Whilst the bed may be handy for weekend guests, it’s mostly piled high with paperwork – making my office feel not very office-like.
Lately, I’ve been pondering whether to re-vamp the study and get rid of the bed or to rent an office space. A popular way of working is what’s called coworking, where you share a work environment yet work independently. One such place opened up in Castlemaine 16 months ago called Cohoots Coworking. I’ve attended a few business events hosted by the Cohoots team and the idea of becoming a ‘member’ has sat at the back of my mind for some time.
I haven’t acted on the idea of coworking before now as I was of the mindset “why pay money when I can work from home, at the library or in a café?” However, I’m increasingly distracted when working from home and there’s only so many café lattes you can drink in one day. I’m now viewing coworking as an investment and a commitment to time in a shared office without the diversion of domestic duties or long cups of tea in the sun.
The many benefits to sharing an office space include:
- Having a sense of being “at work” with people from a variety of businesses who are also there with the purpose of being productive.
- The practicality of access to the office facilities including meeting rooms, wifi, printer and bean bags!
- The social element, by which I don’t mean standing by the water cooler debriefing the latest episode of ‘Modern Family’ (not very productive). Just a simple, “Good morning” and feeling like you belong.
- Networking with other members – this I see as a side benefit – where you get to know the other businesses over time which may lead to referral opportunities.
I’m signing up for the 32 hours per month plan with Cohoots which translates into a couple of mornings a week in their Castlemaine office. The arrangement is pretty flexible to fit in with outside meetings and commitments. What I’m looking forward to most is having better focus and increased output. I have raised the bar with what I hope to achieve in my business and feel that my new work arrangements will help me reach these goals. Today is my first day and I’ve already written this post! So far, so good.