Ever since the proliferation of austere cubical workspaces, people have longed for a freer life-work balance. Yet working from home or a cafe all the time carries its own drawbacks, especially in terms of logistics. Remote work has obvious benefits, most principally flexibility – but less structure comes at the price of other factors that can be less than conducive to motivation and flow.
Shared coworking spaces aim to remedy that for the success-minded entrepreneur and remote worker by providing an inspiring, open-format environment that simultaneously supports the needs for structure and flexibility. Are coworking spaces worth it in terms of your own specific needs? Read on to learn what exactly they are and how they improve work-life balance.
Are Coworking Spaces Worth It?
Coworking spaces have risen to meet the demand for new methods of facilitating an increasingly telecom-savvy workforce. While working from home was seen as a dream come true for some, others longed for the sense of community and collaboration that traditional workplace settings offered.
It’s no secret that people grew to dislike the rigid office-space settings of yesterday, but more thoughtfully set coworking spaces are seeking to capture the structure and efficiency of a formal work setting in a more flexible and freeing way. And as the world turns, this need is becoming essential.
For example, after the economic blitz of 2020, businesses had to adjust to huge e-commerce gains in the percentage of total retail sales. The market for e-commerce startups and financing opportunities were quick to follow, creating a new class of digital entrepreneurs.
The ability to earn a living with a primarily digital interface with both local and global economies, as well as increasingly decentralized payment systems, may be new – but these factors have changed the landscape of commerce forever.
And as this kind of work proliferates and demands more creativity and movement, coworking spaces meet several needs that arise within this new normal.
New Solutions to Old Challenges
The idea of remote work is nothing new, and people have always felt the drive to find a more independent means of accomplishing their daily work outside of a traditional office environment.
Even just time saved on the commute, which was nearly an hour for the average American in 2019, has driven this quest for office-space alternatives. Yet as early remote-work pioneers leveraged modern technology to work away from their company’s central HQ, they quickly discovered that it carried unique challenges of its own.
Physically, it’s difficult to put the same amount of dedicated effort into a full workload from a coffee shop or library. For one thing, basic security of one’s equipment (not to mention company trade secrets) was suddenly an issue, where even so much as stepping out for a breath of fresh air carried some risk of unattended equipment.
Expenses in time and cost also rose in certain ways, because instead of having the convenience of a cafeteria or break room for nourishment, one had to count on eating out more often or making other complicated arrangements.
Psychologically, it’s challenging to stay motivated when the social atmosphere goes from one of duty and utility (however drab a traditional office space can be) to one of mild aimlessness, as most coffee shops emphasize recreation over productivity.
Further, expending energy and mental bandwidth figuring out how to habitually shut down and re-setup one’s entire digital work environment without losing your train of thought takes its toll and increases forgetfulness.
Working from home is another alternative to working on the move – but it can be all the more of a double-edged sword. On one hand, it takes care of almost all of the physical challenges mentioned above, because one has immediate access to their own kitchen and other amenities. One can also simply leave their home office space as it is when they take breaks, which is helpful for staying in a flow state.
On the other hand, “short breaks” can easily spiral into personal activities, reducing motivation and productivity as the thrill of working in one’s pajamas wears thin.
Interrelationally, working from home can also put challenges on boundaries between family or roommates who often mildly struggle to maintain their own preferred way of using space. For those with children, difficulties easily arise as the remote worker must continually train their children to maintain their own independent flow and maintain emotional self-reliance.
Clearly, remote and independent work is not a miracle cure for workplace blues – but its advantages are also too hard to pass up. What’s needed is the perfect medium, where a wide variety of work can be accommodated, albeit in a highly flexible environment where when one is “on the clock” is more firmly under their own control. If you’re asking yourself, “Are coworker spaces worth it?”, then it begs the question: how worthwhile are the alternatives?
What Do Coworking Spaces Include?
Coworking spaces can be as varied as the needs they seek to fill. Generally speaking, they provide a comfortable atmosphere with like-minded people to bolster the productive mindset of everyone involved.
With a feeling of “separate togetherness,” those enjoying the amenities of coworking spaces can maintain a highly productive state of flow without fear of efficiency-killing distractions. With a combination of wide-open areas and smaller enclaves within the wider coworking space, the best coworking spaces have something to offer for everyone.
Shared workspaces are often created with a much more inspiring layout and decoration than traditional workplaces, and the most well-equipped coworking spaces even provide dedicated desks that are as classy as they are casual.
Some even go the distance with large event spaces for larger business gatherings or inviting outdoor areas for a change of pace. There are even private phone booths for confidential calls. On top of it all, the most accommodating coworking space will have all the amenities people may miss from their former corporate offices (but with none of the downsides) and even more, such as:
- Thorough and well-stocked cafe area
- Access to a full kitchen
- Reception area
- 24/7 access
- Mail and package receipt
- Flexible membership options
- High-speed and secure internet connection
- Business-grade printers, scanners, and copiers
Some coworking spaces are even set up to accommodate dogs and children, putting affordable office space well within the reach of single parents and those without yard access for their pets.
No matter where you live or what lifestyle you lead, the right coworking space can radically simplify your work routine with the perfect balance of structure and flexibility.
A Happy Medium
An affordable and thoughtfully maintained coworking space hits the right balance by providing the amenities of a modern office environment but giving you full control over how it is used (and when). It is at once totally flexible while still being highly conducive to the most streamlined workflow possible.
It’s also much more affordable than renting a separate private office while still maintaining a sense of exclusivity and professionality – perhaps all the more so as their level of demand continues to rise.
Moreover, members of coworking spaces feel an important sense of being part of something bigger than themselves in a place that honors their individual needs. It’s no longer necessary to choose between a corporate office environment that provides all the equipment for you or being totally bootstrapped as you strike out on your own.
Instead, you can simply rent the benefits of an office yourself on your own terms and maintain the freedom of not being tied down to a fixed schedule or routine.
What Makes Coworking Spaces Worthwhile?
So in the end, are coworking spaces worth it? Coworking spaces are worth it because your time and efficiency are worth it. They have as much value as you put into them, and there is no depreciation of their value.
In the time you have available for work, you can put as much or as little into them as you need, confident that you have the amenities necessary to stay focused on the task at hand.
As people experience the simultaneous benefits and challenges of shaping their own private business operations, it’s equally thrilling and intimidating to get used to it. However, there’s no reason to do it alone. If you’re seeking the most stylish and functional coworking space in Austin, Texas, begin working with Vuka to stay productive and social. Your work-life balance – and natural productivity – will develop like never before.