In the age of digital nomads, wanderlusts, barefoot executives and laptop lifestyles, the phenomenon of coworking spaces makes total sense. In addition to sharing facilities, resources, knowledge and ideas, a coworking space can also be a great place to network, host meetings, give seminars, as well as socialize, and make new friends! Coworking offers many potential solutions to the everyday challenges encountered by many conscious entrepreneurs, who also find themselves, by default ‘solopreneurs’ whereby they run their own business as predominantly a one-man or one-woman show, and spend a lot of the time working by themselves.
What is Coworking?
A coworking space is like a shared office where entrepreneurs, the self-employed, remote working contractors, and independent professionals can work from and base themselves. Coworking spaces are normally fitted out in a similar way to normal professional business premises with:
- a receptionist to greet guests & answer phone calls
- high-speed Internet & wifi
- copying, scanning & printing equipment
- meeting rooms & spaces to give presentations or seminars fitted with audio-visual equipment
- kitchen, tea, coffee, & cooking facilities
- lounge and chill out areas to relax & socialize
The advantages of coworking for conscious entrepreneurs
Coworking spaces have become increasingly popular around the world. If you are only in a certain city temporarily and just need a place to work from, or if you live there long-term and need a permanent professional base to conduct business in, and bring clients to, this relatively new way of working offers the following benefits:
- Cheaper & more flexible than renting a traditional office
- Full suite of business facilities & services as required
- Separate your home life & professional life
- Breaks the isolation of working at home alone
- Like-minded people & complementary businesses
- Ability to network & collaborate with others
- Plans, options & prices to suit all work styles & budgets
- Camaraderie, social, personal & professional development opportunities
My experience of coworking
Spending the whole day enclosed in my apartment working by myself, it can be so easy to get distracted by domestic duties, household chores and the incredibly tempting call of a super comfortable and too-easily-accessible bed for extended sleepins or an impromptu siesta!
Instead of having my peaceful and sacred sanctuary of leisure, relaxation and meditation invaded with a barrage of emails, Skype calls, virtual meetings, and technology issues, I’ve found that my work-life balance has improved as a result of having my living and business spaces in different locations.
When I work from a Coworking space, I really feel like I’m actually ‘going to work’ as it compels me to wake up and get out of bed at a set time as well as get showered, shaved and dressed before physically going out into the world and arriving at ‘the office’, where I’m greeted by my fellow coworkers who all either work for themselves, freelance or are employed as a remote worker. This international mix of highly motivated, intelligent, interesting and talented people makes for some great conversation, far removed from the awkward and unproductive ‘office gossip’ and ‘petty politics’ of traditional workplaces which I’d been used to most of my life.
Not only have I improved my Spanish and made some invaluable business connections, but working alongside such nice and similar souls, we often organize social and cultural outings after ‘office hours’ as friends, which has been great in terms of me being a relative newbie in the city.
A great example
Since I arrived in Buenos Aires, Argentina, I’ve been working from Central Coworking. As per its namesake, it is very well-located close to the ‘microcentro’, downtown, and Recoleta areas and only a short subway or taxi ride to the trendy fashion, cafe, restaurant, bar, and business district of Palermo. Within a short walking distance there’s a plethora of great places to go out for lunch or grab an espresso, including several vegeterian, natural and organic establishments within a few blocks!
We had an idea, which turned into a product, which became a space and service.
Run by Marina and her efficient support team of family and friends, the atmosphere is traditional, warm and homely, while still offering all the bells and whistles you’d expect in a modern coworking space. Both open plan and ‘premium’ private offices are available, accompanied by a variety of meeting and seminar rooms including a super cool ‘library’ room packed wall to wall with business books and law texts! This funky shared office set up offers a good choice of solutions for solopreneurs, as well as small and medium-sized businesses alike.
In the funky kitchenette and ‘relax zone’ you can get as many cups of coffee or tea as you like, however I’d recommend trying the local brew ‘yerba mate’, which Marina normally prepares in the afternoons. Drinking this is almost ceremonially as the green tea-like leaves, soaked in boiling water in a small wooden cup is passed around the hot desks to be consumed communally through a bent metal ‘straw’. As a bonus, in addition to being a popular Argentine custom, this natural beverage is full of antioxidants and is great for your digestion, focus, concentration, weight control and cardiovascular health, all beneficial for those of us who are sitting planted in front of a laptop for a large part of our day!
Another thing I find really admirable about this progressive coworking space is their commitment to conscious and eco-friendly practices such as separate bins for organic, recyclable and disposable waste, not to mention the standard inherent reduction in environmental footprints and energy use from coworking spaces in general, due to the shared use of facilities and resources.
Other highlights include monthly ‘after office’ drinks and get-togethers for clients and staff, which is a great way to meet, network and get to know some of the other coworkers. Regular professional development and business improvement seminars are also held onsite, with coworkers normally getting a discount to attend or even sometimes the opportunity to present alongside!
A smart solution for modern work lifestyles
So whether you are seeking some company during the day, a change of scene from your home, a less expensive, noisy and distracting environment than a cafe, or you just need a base or on-call hub for all your essential business functions, coworking spaces are definitely an option worth considering!