A co-operative workspace can be a great springboard for new entrepreneurs as they build a startup. So what are co-operative workspaces, and how do they benefit new businesses?
The Concept Of The Co-op Workspace
A co-operative workspace is a communal office space where freelancers and businesses can rent space for as little as a day, or on a longer term basis.
In return for a small rental fee, occupants get access to an office environment, internet, heating and lighting, and other people!
You may be a freelancer wanting one day a week out of your house, or a new business in need of a permanent space for a small team (on a small budget). The flexibility of co-operative workspaces allows entrepreneurs and business owners to focus on growing their business without the long-term commitment of a serviced office contract.
Minimise Office Overheads With Co-Operative Workspaces
Co-op spaces are typically much cheaper than a private serviced office. This is because amenities are shared by other freelancers and businesses, so the costs for overheads are split.
Instead of working from home and reducing your tax bill based on your usage of a home office, utilities, and the internet, a shared office space lets you more accurately manage your cash flow in one payment.
Avoid Isolation With Co-Operative Workspaces
Another huge bonus of shared office spaces is that you get to be around other, business-minded, people all day. When you’re a new entrepreneur or freelancer, it’s likely that you’ll spend all of your time working from home. Then, you spend your free time at home, too. You can go days, possibly weeks, without seeing your friends and family.
The mental wellbeing of an entrepreneur is vital to the success of a business, and isolation is the fast-track to declining mental wellbeing. Shared office spaces allow you to spend time in the company of other people – who realise you’re there to work.
It’s not like having your family around the house, who are nice company but don’t know when it’s time to work. Co-space sharers are in the same boat as you, so they get it!
Your Co-Sharers Are Your Friends
When you get to know your regular office sharers, something special can happen. You’ll often find that these are also new entrepreneurs with big ideas, and a need to do things on a budget.
You might be a design agency, and a business in your working space could be a new architect firm. Combine the two and boom! You have a perfect synergy to build a great working partnership, grow both of your businesses, create a portfolio of work, and bounce ideas off of each other.
You’ll often find in co-working spaces that people are willing to listen to your ideas, even if they don’t work in your field. This fresh perspective is a great way to make sure your business is headed in the right direction, and you can offer the same in return to your new co-sharer friends.
5 Top Co-Operative Office Etiquette Tips
When you get a desk in a co-operative working space, there are a few basic rules to follow if you want to get the most from your co-operative office environment.
- Keep casual conversations to a minimum. Try to remember that people are at the office to work and not socialise. You can always go grab a bite to eat at lunch or a drink after work instead. Say hi, exchange a few words, then go and get on with your work.
- When you use the communal kitchen, take a few minutes to introduce yourself to other people in there. Then go and get on with your work. (See point 1).
- Walk around the building the first few times you’re there. Get to know the businesses you’re sharing with. Hand out your business card. Then go and get on with your work.
- Need an icebreaker? Bring cakes. Share cakes. Talk to people while you share cakes. Then go get on with your work.
- Be tidy. No one like a messy Matilda or an untidy Ted. Ensure all perishable foods are removed daily, make sure you have some desk and VDU wipes in your top draw and always wash and dry your mug before you leave for the day.
In essence, treat your co-operative working space just as you would a normal office. Tidy up after yourself, be kind to others, and you’ll soon find people start to approach you for your opinion, for your business skills, or for simple conversation.