Dear Sam: I am an independent freelancer and often end up working by myself. I have considered coworking to help myself form a professional network and perhaps get a change of scenery that may even increase my focus and productivity. What are your thoughts on coworking? – Blair

Dear Blair: I am a strong advocate of coworking! Currently, my company has two private offices in a coworking space in Columbus and there have been so many benefits. While we do not work in an open community space, many around my private offices do, and I see those solopreneurs get to engage in discussions with like-minded peers. For instance, one coworker might be a public relations specialist who may provide passing wisdom to an individual just launching his/her business. In our space, we have so many careers represented from human resources consulting to real estate, web development, training, health and wellness, and even a new sports franchise! It’s amazing what interesting discussions are started in our community kitchen and what expert advice you can glean while just grabbing your morning coffee!

There are other benefits of working in a shared space, whether you choose to have private offices like I do or you select a more communal setup where you work on a laptop in a community hall. Let me walk you through some things to consider if you are thinking about coworking.

Investment in an Office
Coworking is an affordable option for those seeking a space to work. Most coworking spaces have several plans providing flexibility for their members; some offer plans for a certain number of days per week or hours per month. Some coworking spaces also offer private offices, dedicated desks, conference rooms available for hire, and, of course, communal workspaces. Finding an affordable workspace can prove to be difficult, but coworking will be a much more affordable solution.

Style of Working
When you are consistently working by yourself, it can become lonely. Coworking provides you with the opportunity to interact with others when you may actually not have any coworkers! Being around different perspectives can help to improve your work focus and spawn creative ideas! Something else that people struggle with when working from home is not having a clear separation between home life and work. When this happens, many people have a hard time “ending” work which can be detrimental to your home life. Pushing yourself to get out of your pajamas, head to an office, and be around others who are also focused on work can provide an amazing boost to your productivity and psyche.

A lot of coworking spaces provide their members with perks, such as gym memberships, access to networking events, technology equipment to rent, high-speed internet, private spaces for important phone calls, conference rooms available to rent, and amazing training programs for their members. While these perks will vary based on the coworking organization you choose, each space has its unique perks whether a vacation home you can rent or free coffee and snacks in the kitchen!

I hope this can help shed some light on coworking and the potential benefits to you and your business.