Flexible and collaborative workspace options have grown exponentially worldwide. Start-ups have built companies worth billions of dollars by providing flexible workspaces, while more and more competitors and local providers have emerged over the years.

For Work Folk, our goal is to provide a collaborative work space for freelancers, entrepreneurs, and start-ups to foster and nurture their best work under our roof. This guide is an introduction to what co-working spaces are, what the different flexible options for workspaces are, and other services that can be offered by a workspace provider.

The Difference between a Co-Working Space, Hot Desking and a Private Office Space

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Co-Working Spaces are best known as shared workspaces. It incorporates a business services provision model in which individuals can work independently or collaboratively in a shared office space. The space provides a professional work environment along with office equipment and amenities that can be found in a typical office. They offer a suite of office-like amenities such as open desks private meeting rooms, kitchens, coffee-making facilities, and more. Often, they also offer a vibrant community where occupants are typically freelancers, entrepreneurs, start-ups and small teams who want to take advantage of a flexible and budget-friendly space.

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“Hot Desking” is a scheme within co-working spaces. A hot desk or open desk means that every day you need to pack up your belongings and store them in a locker, or take them home with you. This is suitable for some people who wants to sit next to someone new every day. The drawback here is that in a crowded co-working space, memberships may be oversubscribed and you’re not guaranteed a seat every time unless you call ahead. This contrasts with dedicated desks in co-working spaces where there is a specific space dedicated for your exclusive use.

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If you have a team that you want to work with or if you need a private, dedicated space for your team’s office equipment, then having a Private Office Space is more suitable for your business. A private office space provides a sense of security and offers workers the advantage of escaping from the perceived peering eyes and ears around the office. Typically, private, serviced offices are open to you 24hrs a day through your own private key. The privacy of your own space allows your team to focus better in a space they can call their own. You can also leave your belongings within the space and even customize it depending on your needs.

Advantages of Working in a Co-Working Space

There’s no real accountability when you work from home, it’s too easy to get distracted by your bed, your TV, and lose valuable time. Family-related chores will always present themselves especially if you’re young and still live in your parents’ home. Not to mention if you have a family of your own and your kids are all over the place. The separation of work from home is important for many of us and also allows you to breathe some fresh air and feel alive instead of spending most of your day at home.

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Research shows that people who use co-working spaces are more efficient due to the energy and mindset adjustment that is generated by the interaction and accountability a co-working environment creates. That means co-working spaces are more cost-efficient because of the financial benefits it creates.

Working alone is isolating and affects your productivity levels. Having co-workers and interaction is a social need and the idea at of co-working space is that although you are working by yourself, you are surrounded by people who can help you out, especially in forming networks. Co-working spaces will boost your network and in turn connect you with the most relevant people for your business, help you gain potential clients, suppliers or even help you meet potential business partners. You are also guaranteed to meet high quality, talented, and like-minded people to add to your network that might help you advance your career. This will be a huge opportunity for you to improve your social life as well since it allows you to fill in the gaps and make new friends with interesting people in new places.

One of the highlights of working at co-working spaces is that it tends to reduce the customer’s uncertainty on where to work or if a coffee shop is crowded or not to work on backlogs. Co-working spaces usually have isolated Skype booths and conference rooms for you to use with fast connection. Some other reliable advantages of co-working spaces over coffee shops include access 24 hours a day in case you are on a deadline. In general, uncertainty takes time and energy that could have been put toward working for your clients, and it makes you feel less happy in general.

Co-working spaces provides a great platform in conducting important meetings with your clients and associates since they offer conference rooms which are usually free for members. It makes a much better impression to invite people to a co-working room than to your home or a coffee shop and will show how serious and dedicated you are to your trade.

In case you have decided that it is time to get an office, a co-working space makes a lot more financial sense than renting your own office. Renting an office includes taking care of installing infrastructure and taking care of utility bills that drain cash and time. The staff in the co-working space will take care of that for everyone. Moreover, regular office rental requires signing long term contracts, usually for a minimum period of one year.

On the other hand, private offices are great for those professionals whose work demands discretion. An office space that is partitioned by walls or some other material can ensure that conversations between clients are kept private. Professionals who work with sensitive information also need to work in space that shields them from unwanted intrusions from others. More than that, private offices also help maintain an easy flexible way to scale company without worrying about overhead or other admin.

Co-Working Spaces Make for Great Event Spaces

Co-working spaces often take up entire floors and feature open designs that aren’t constrained by bulky equipment. And what’s even more inviting is the combined space in the public area and kitchen can accommodate small gatherings or crowds in the hundreds. Instead of having a flat and gray office design, co-working spaces have more color and vibrancy, making it more fun and easy to be in.

It is also a great venue to expand networks. Each co-working space is part of a much larger network that includes big and small businesses, entrepreneurs, and freelancers, many of which do their everyday routine in the same building. Businesses don’t need to waste hours reaching out to other brands- they have a vast directory of potential audience guests in the same location.

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Co-working spaces aren’t just literal spaces. Each space has different design and a set of amenities like furniture, technology, and resources that a business may need to host a great event. That might include equipment like projectors, remotes, and microphones for presentation events, or even beer on tap and liquor selections for those who prefer having a chill drinking session.

Planning events can be a lot of work for one or two people. The co-working space team helps with this by assisting you to ensure your event runs smoothly. The team can help with ordering food, checking-in guests, troubleshooting tech issues, or introducing the speaker of the night.

Events in Co-Working Spaces

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Great events call for a successful working environment, and the tried-and-true favorites are events that foster active participation from both the renters and the members of the co-working space. Co-working spaces hold monthly events that people in their space can join such as marketing consulting, legal consulting, trainings which helps the freelancers and startups in building their business and exercise employee productivity.

From panel discussions and product launches to mixers that encourage mingling, co-working spaces are just the spot for hosting community events for both members and non-members.

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Professional Networking

Co-working organizations host events for both in-house members and renters that provides a guarantee to establish connections and network with fellow entrepreneurs. They are diversified across industries, allowing you to have access to networking opportunities right at the doorstep of your workspace.

Seminars and Workshops

Seminars and workshops are excellent ways to increase awareness of your firm. If marketed properly, you will not only get the word out about your business and what it has to offer, but you’ll entice people to want to learn more about you and what you can do for them. Once people decide to attend a seminar, you have an excellent opportunity to discuss your services and value proposition in a relatively relaxed and comfortable atmosphere.