The Lowdown on Coworking Spaces

Coworking spaces have been getting a lot of love lately. In fact, according to AllWork, there are 14,411 coworking spaces in the world today, and by 2020 the number of people who belong to a coworking space will grow to over 3.8 million. 

If you’re a freelancer or small business owner, you may have wondered what all the hype is about. And perhaps more importantly, if coworking spaces are worth the cost of admission. Here are some pros and cons to using coworking spaces, so you can decide if becoming a member is the right move for you.

Let’s start with some reasons why you might want to invest in a coworking space:

It helps you establish a routine

When you work from home it can be hard to determine set hours or stop working at the end of a particularly busy day. Even if you have all the best tips for working at home, some people find it easier to focus and get into a rhythm if they work from a dedicated office space. Coworking spaces allow you to create the feeling of a normal workday by giving you a specific place away from home to be productive. They also help you sign off at the end of a workday, instead of letting your office hours bleed into your personal time while working from home.

You get lots of office perks

Coworking spaces offer a range of amenities including Internet service, coffee machines, printers, meeting spaces and more. AKA…all the things you’d normally get from your employer’s office, but you might not have at home. These amenities alone could be a great reason to join a coworking space—especially if you want to skip out on buying your own printer.

It’s more affordable than leasing

Joining a coworking space generally costs a lot less than leasing your own office space. So if you need a space outside of your home to work, but don’t want to throw down the extra cash or commit to a lease, a coworking space is a great compromise between a home office and a real office.

You crave human interaction

In a recent study of remote workers by Buffer, loneliness was cited as the top struggle of working from home, with 21% of survey respondents noting it as an issue. If you agree with these findings, a coworking space might be the cure for your loneliness. Going into a coworking space gives you plenty of people to make small talk within common spaces like kitchens and elevators, so you don’t feel like a complete outsider to society. It will also force you to get dressed in the morning!

You also might enjoy another side effect: a sense of community. For instance, The Wing offers events and meetups for liked minded members, turning their coworking space into a social club as well. Now that’s getting your money’s worth!

Your membership is tax deductible

If you are an independent contractor or LLC, you can most likely deduct the costs of coworking spaces from your taxes, since they are technically a business expense. But like most personal finance advice, we suggest you double check with your accountant or financial advisor before claiming the expense.

Now that we’ve seen the bright side of coworking spaces, let’s take a look at some of the cons to working in one of these spaces:

Can be pricey

Depending on what coworking space you go to and how much office space or privacy you require, the cost of working from one of these spaces can be quite an expense. For reference, access to a shared workspace at WeWork starts at $190/month. But if you consider the amenities and increased productivity, it could be very well worth the price.

Lack of privacy

Although coworking spaces offer the community freelancers craze, on the flip side you can’t control the other people working around you. Which means that other coworkers who are having loud meetings or want to chat when you have a deadline could be a real distraction. If you have your own space, whether it’s a leased office or a home office, you’ll have more control over what goes on around you.

You can’t customize your workspace

Goodbye, favorite wall art! Coworking spaces come completely furnished and decorated, which is convenient, but you also miss out on making the space your own. This can be especially tough for people who like to have certain items around them to feel comfortable while they work.

The hours might not match your workflow

If you’re working on something with unconventional hours or if your workflow often bleeds into late nights, many coworking spaces will not be able to accommodate all of your working hours. Some are only open from 9-5, which means that after hours or weekend work may have to be done elsewhere. Before you sign up, make sure to double check the hours of operation and make sure it will work for you.

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