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What is coworking space? A place for freelancers and startups

4-minute read

Catriona Smith

24 June 2022

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Coworking spaces are places for freelancers and companies to work on a flexible basis. They offer shared facilities, furnished desks, and a community atmosphere for those that might usually work alone or in small teams.

Whether you’re a solo entrepreneur or a growing company, coworking can be a great way to boost productivity and build your network. Read on to find out the benefits of coworking, and how to find a space that works for you.

Similar to hot desking, coworking gives you access to fully furnished desks and shared facilities without the long-term commitment of leasing an office.

Freelancers like copywriters, designers and photographers might find a flexible coworking space inspires their creativity. While others might just like the change of scene or the social interaction these spaces can bring.

Even if you run your business from home most of the time, you could use coworking spaces for business admin like filling in your tax return or bookkeeping.

5 benefits of coworking spaces for your small business

When it comes to coworking space benefits, here’s a rundown of the top five reasons you might want to try one out for your small business.

Flexibility

Coworking spaces offer different rates so you can pay for the number of hours or days in a month you need, or opt for a longer-term commitment. For example, WeWork has a monthly membership giving you 24/7 access to hundreds of locations globally. They also offer hot desking where you can book a desk for an hourly fee.

Business networking

While the idea of networking can sound intimidating, the nice thing about coworking spaces is that you can get to know people easily just by sitting next to them or chatting over a free coffee. You might just meet the marketing expert you need to help you find more customers.

Community and connection

From film nights to drawing classes, many coworking spaces put on events for their members to help create the feeling of community. It can be nice to meet lots of different people if you usually work alone without a team around you.

Cost-effective

The cost of a coworking space depends on the company running it, and how many days or hours a month you pay for. The idea is you only pay for what you need. If you’re a growing business looking to bring your team together without the risk of leasing an office or hiring a permanent desk, then coworking spaces can be a cost-effective option.

Extra perks

Access to a gym, fitness classes, and free tea and coffee are just some of the perks you might find at a coworking space. For example Platf9rm in Hove hosts events like comedy nights, yoga, and even wild life drawing.

Free coffee is a perk at some coworking spaces. Photograph: fizkes/stock.adobe.com

How to find a coworking office space

When you start looking for a coworking office space, you’ll want to ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What’s your budget?
  2. How many days a week do you want to use the space?
  3. Do you need a 24 hour coworking space?
  4. How far from home are you willing to travel?

Once you’ve thought about the basics, you can start comparing your options.

Do you want free tea and coffee included in your membership? Does the atmosphere suit the work you do? For example, if you’re going to be in a lot of phone calls and meetings then you might want to hire a private meeting room, whereas if you’re just catching up on admin then you could enjoy an open plan workspace.

The most important thing is probably going to be super fast wi-fi, which usually comes as standard. Most coworking spaces offer a free trial day so you can get a tour and see if it’s going to work for you.

Serviced office vs coworking space – what's the difference?

A serviced office is pretty similar to a coworking space, with a few differences:

  • managed by a facility management company
  • option to lease whole floors or private offices
  • there's usually a receptionist who can greet your clients and guests
  • less focused on building a community

Meanwhile, a virtual serviced office is an option if you want a fixed office address, managed phone calls, and access to meeting rooms. This is particularly useful if you work from home and don't want to give customers your home address.

You might also want to look into getting a virtual landlord line number.

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Top coworking office space locations

Here’s a rundown of coworking spaces in some of the UK’s creative cities:

Coworking space Brighton

  • Platf9rm is a coworking space in Brighton and Hove offering meeting rooms, fully furnished workspaces, and regular socials
  • Projects has two locations across the city and many perks, including a paddleboarding club – so you can make the most of living by the sea

Coworking space Bristol

  • Origin Workspace for flexible memberships in the heart of Bristol. Fitness classes, socials, and a beautiful roof terrace are just some of the benefits
  • Spaces – Castle Park has designer workspaces and collaborative areas

Coworking space Birmingham

Coworking space Edinburgh

  • WeWork has a global network of 700 locations, including George Street, Edinburgh
  • The Melting Pot has a range of membership packages depending on your needs

Coworking space Glasgow

  • Clockwise Glasgow offers 24/7 access in the heart of the city
  • Collabor8te has flexible memberships for coffee meetings right up to unlimited hours with meeting room access

Coworking space Leeds

  • Avenue HQ is set in a historic building with everything you need to work, plus cafés, breakout areas, and a rooftop bar with panoramic views when it’s time to relax
  • Wizu has four Leeds locations and offers flexible memberships and excellent perks like free breakfasts and events

Coworking space London

  • WeWork has five locations in London and 24/7 access
  • Huckletree Shoreditch has a range of memberships, a library, and space for interactive workshops and pitch sessions

Coworking space Manchester

  • WeWork has four locations in Manchester
  • Huckletree Ancoats is a historic building with a creative feel – it’s even home to an imaginarium meditation space and podcast studio

Do you use a coworking space to run your small business? Let us know your experience in the comments section below.

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Photograph: deagreez/stock.adobe.com

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