On Google, the address listed for the DC Dev Shop is 810 7th St NE, Washington, DC 20002. What you might not realize is that this address is actual our coworking office at WeWork. DCDS is currently a pretty small shop and when going into business in 2017, we needed to decide on how we wanted to work. The traditional options tend to be working out of a leased office space, working from home, or working in cafes and coffee shop. But in the past decade, the presence of coworking spaces as grow tremendously in most major cities. Coworking is a pretty recent buzzword, but the number of coworking spaces globally has risen from 14 spaces in 2007 to 14,411 in 2017. Working out of one of these spaces ourselves, we see the benefits of coworking every day, but we thought we’d point out the best parts of working in a coworking office.
Networking and Synergy
The main, and fairly obvious, benefit to working in a coworking space is the potential for networking. When you are in a coworking space, you aren’t just with the same small group of people or by yourself in your house. You are working in a space with many different individuals in all different industries and walks of life. They might mostly be startups or freelancers, but often the people in a coworking space have all sorts of different knowledge, skills, and connections. Getting to know the people in a coworking space can be very helpful when trying to learn a new skill or software, or even to connect you to potential resources and clients for your business. Also, many people find it beneficial to work with equally motivated and creative people, as it creates a synergy that you usually only get in a well designed team. Great minds might sometimes think alike, but they also provide you with feedback and new ideas to grow your business.
Creates structure in a less structured job
Let’s face it, when most people work from home they are nowhere near as efficient and effective as they are outside their house. After all, at home it’s much more likely that you will remember you need to clean your kitchen, or, more likely, you will accidentally sit down for a 45 minute session of watching YouTube videos of people matching dogs to their owners (we’ve linked that below for your lunch break). Either way, working in a coworking space gives you structure and accountability the same way a normal office would. It’s much easier to focus on your actual work when you have a designated “work” space that is outside your home. This creates a separation between your work life and your home life that 1) makes it easier to focus on work, and 2) makes it easier to turn off work problems when 5 pm rolls around. Also, getting outside to go somewhere each day is a great way to get some fresh air and to step outside of those same four walls.
Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, loneliness is one of the top ways to put a damper on your mood. Working alone day-in day-out can be very isolating, and not talking to others tends to make us focus more and more on ourselves, which usually leads to self-criticism and self-doubt. In a coworking space, you are constantly surrounded by other individuals. If you’re extroverted, this can be great because you have neighbors to chat with and bounce ideas off of. If you’re an introvert this can also be great because even if you don’t want to talk or be super social with anyone, just being surrounded by other people helps fight off that feeling of being completely alone. Since most people in coworking spaces tend to have very personalized and independent work lives (just like you), they are energizing people to surround yourself with.
Reduces Uncertainty in your Work Environment
One place that many freelancers and individuals traditionally go to work are cafes and coffee shops. This can be good because it gets you out of your house and gives you a bit of an office vibe with people constantly coming and going. But the problem with cafes is their uncertainty. You never know each day whether one table will be open, whether any tables will be open, how noisy it will be that day, or whether the employees will ask you to leave after a certain period of time. Coworking reduces all that uncertainty by giving you a desk that is your desk for as long as you pay for it. Also, many coworking spaces have an area that simulates a cafe, if you really like that atmosphere. They also usually have an area that is quiet where you can take calls and video chats, both of which are next to impossible in a public coffee shop.
It gives you a lot of resources
Coworking spaces aren’t just a desk for you to work at, they also provide you with tons of resources and amenities. Although every coworking space is different, most offer a cafe or kitchen with drinks like coffee and tea, public working spaces, quiet areas for calls, conference rooms, and free printing and copying. Some even offer benefits like a free gym membership, free parking, free lunches, and special events just for members. In addition, another resource a coworking space can offer is the ability to travel. Many chain coworking companies, like WeWorks and 1776, have offices around the United States and the world, and can allow you to work from different locations. This means you can travel easily for work, or take a part-time vacation to Paris and still keep up with your workload!
Office flexibility and cost control
The nature of a coworking space is that it tends to foster freelancers and startups, so they tend to offer much more office flexibility than traditional office spaces. A coworking space is much cheaper than renting your own office and most coworking spaces allow 24/7 building access with your key card. Also, most office buildings require you to take care of utilities and make sure that you pay for at least a one year lease. With a coworking space, your facility and utilities are taken care of for you and you can rent a table or desk for a few days, a few weeks, or a few months. No matter what, it gives you more power over your money and company costs, allowing you to truly focus on your work.
Coworking isn’t just a trend, it’s becoming a common way of work and way of life for many people around the world. Between 2015 to 2017, the number of individuals in the world working out of coworking spaces grew from a little over 520,000 to 1.74 million, and this number is expected to increase to 5.1 million by 2022. With the benefits of flexibility, cost reduction, and networking and social opportunities, it is easy to see how coworking is changing the way new businesses and freelancers work and interact, as well as just changing the way that all modern businesses operate.
If you’re interested in working in a coworking space, we’d love to recommend WeWork, whose website we’ve linked here. Schedule time to visit WeWorks Apollo (our office!) here. If you are looking for more of a startup incubator, then consider 1776, whose website is linked here.
Also, as promised, here’s that video of people matching dogs to their owners!