Nothing sounds better than the flexibility of working from home.
There’s no commute, the dress code is relaxed, and you can make yourself as many homemade lattes as you’d like.
The idea of having a home office can sound great. The reality though is that working from home comes with its own challenges.
The disadvantages of working from home
One huge drawback of the home office is the interruptions; the surprise visits by friends and family, the piles of laundry, the irresistible dog who’s begging for a hug, the kids who want attention, the cat who insists on laying on your keyboard.
The constant distractions can prevent you from getting your work done.
Then there’s the isolation, the blurred lines between work and family life, and the realization you can never really escape your job.
The many downsides to working from home aren’t always obvious until you’ve tried it.
The solution to work-from-home distractions
The good news is there’s a solution to home office distractions: coworking.
The coworking space was designed as an alternative to the traditional office. Entrepreneurs, freelancers, and solopreneurs have helped to turn shared office space into a growing industry.
Keep reading to find out how coworking can be the solution to solo home office work.
What is coworking?
Coworking is the sharing of office space with other professionals.
Not in an office designed for one business, mind you, but in one where people from different companies share desks, office space, board rooms, technology, and coffee makers.
With a coworking model, you pay a membership fee to use the office along with other professionals. You share the cost of amenities and have access to resources you wouldn’t otherwise.
Coworking offices have membership options depending on the needs of your business.
For example, at Backbone we have three membership tiers:
- Lounge Pass (aka a “floating membership” or “hot desk”).
- This option is great if you need a desk less frequently; it’s also our most affordable choice.
- Our lounge pass lets you come in, pick a free spot at a table, open your laptop, and get to work. Our hot desks also work well as a professional space to meet clients.
- Private Desk (aka a “fixed desk”)
- This option is great if you want a reserved desk.
- Never search for an open desk again. Come in, sit down, work away, and when you’re ready to leave, leave your setup as-is for the next time. Set your desktop wallpaper to a photo of your dog if you want—it’s your desk!
- Executive Private Offices
- If you have a small team or need a larger private space, consider one of our executive private offices.
- This membership tier is perfect if you meet clients and/or staff on a regular basis.
Find out more about our Backbone membership options here.
Shared office space has become very popular over the past decade.
In 2017, Forbes shared that the projected number of coworking spaces and people who co-worked would reach 26,000 and ~3.8 million, respectively, worldwide by 2020.
The reality ended up being a tad different.
The impact of the pandemic on work
The COVID-19 pandemic changed work for many Canadians forever.
When the pandemic hit in March 2020, employers found themselves in the unprecedented position of having their teams outside the office.
Employees had to learn to work from home; so did freelancers. Gone were the days when a person would go to an office or work out of a cafe. COVID restrictions made coworking impossible as well.
The impact of COVID-19 on coworking
COVID-19 slowed the growth of shared office space.
Unlike other industries impacted by the pandemic, however, it’s predicted that coworking use will start to grow again as people look for alternatives to the traditional work environment.
The resurgence of coworking
Employers have experienced resistance from their teams at the idea of returning to the office.
The old way of working no longer suits many people’s schedules and family lives. Managers have had no choice but to support flexible working arrangements for employees.
If you’re not sure what the fuss is about around coworking, keep reading.
Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a startup, a freelancer, or a remote worker, or if you’re an employer looking for a way to bring life back into your team’s workday, keep reading.
We’ve put together a list of the benefits of shared office space.
The 12 benefits of coworking
1. Reduced costs
Why pay for the overhead of a lease when you can share one instead?
Why pay in lost time, reduced productivity, and unhappy, isolated teammates?
Why pay to have an office managed and maintained or, worse, have to manage one yourself?
Coworking saves money.
Shared offices are a cost-effective way to have access to business amenities without having to pay for them all on your own. Gone are the days when every small business had to pay for its own wifi, printer, office supplies, and coffee filters.
Coworking also means you don’t have to worry about the utility bills, strata fees, property taxes, long-term commercial leases, and maintenance costs.
At Backbone Coworking & Executive Offices, for example, a coworking membership offers you:
- 24/7 office access
- Boardrooms & meeting rooms
- Private phone booths
- Media or podcast equipment
- Fast and reliable internet
- Standing desks
- A business mailing address
- Fully furnished lounge and wellness spaces
- Business event offerings
- Space to host your own events or training workshops
- Supportive community
- Free-flowing coffee
- And more…
When you invest in a coworking space, you have money left over to invest in other areas of your business like marketing and communications.
2. The watercooler effect
Another benefit of coworking is that it gives people the chance to see other people!
Whether these are fellow employees or other freelancers, you can get out of your work funk by—gasp!—talking to others.
Coworking entrepreneurs can share ideas, ask for advice, network, or simply talk about the weather around the metaphorical watercooler.
Within a coworking space, members have the chance to meet other business owners.
By building your business network you automatically gain more exposure for your business.
Take one of our members, Octopus Creative, as an example. They met their accountant, their lawyer, and some of their clients through working out of coworking spaces. They’ve also hired staff and partnered with other marketing agencies because of relationships built through cowork networking.
Events are another way for members to meet one another. Events like TEDx and even smaller Friday afternoon minglers can offer great networking opportunities.
4. Opportunities for collaboration
Because shared offices work like professional hubs, members have the chance to meet like-minded people and build collaborative relationships.
Many business partnerships have started through coworking.
At Backbone, we’ve seen designers collaborate with developers, mortgage brokers work with realtors, and app developers partner with UI experts.
Collaboration doesn’t just happen in-person either. Many shared offices typically offer chat services like Slack. Professionals can stay in touch with one another even when they’re not in the office.
Will collaboration from a coworking space really help with leads and sales?
It sure can!
If you were an interior designer and there happened to be an engineering firm and a construction company at your coworking office, you could build a relationship and partner with them. Through the growth of this home design ‘dream team’ all three businesses would grow through referrals and collaboration.
Or, if you were a web developer proposing a new website to a client, you could offer them more value if you partnered with a marketing and PR agency to promote the site.
You’d give off a more professional air by meeting clients at a coworking space rather than in your basement.
Shared offices also offer a better alternative to crowded coffee shops for business meetings.
6. A boost to creativity
Coworking spaces are more than cool decor and fancy office furniture — creativity is baked into their culture.
Typically, you’ll find many start-ups and entrepreneurs on the membership roster of a coworking office. Arguably, these people are some of the most forward-thinking individuals in the world.
When you add yourself to the list of coworkers, you reap the benefits of this creative and innovative community. It can’t help but rub off on your imagination and your business growth.
7. Increased productivity
When you see the same things every day your productivity drops. Your mind wanders and after a while you realize you’ve read the same sentence of a report five times.
Isn’t that why we have the urge to work outdoors, go to a nearby cafe, or head to a different spot in the house to work?
Studies have shown a change in work environment can improve productivity and performance. Co-shared work spaces offer a change of scenery.
If you’ve always worked from home, change your environment— which includes meeting people you wouldn’t normally interact with— by working in a shared office.
It may be just the thing you need to boost your productivity.
8. Camaraderie & community
We have an innate need to belong.
Coworking spaces can meet this need because they come with a built-in community.
Shared workspaces let you socialize and connect. Group conversations are meant to be joined and people’s diversity of opinions and perspectives are respected.
A supportive environment
A warm, friendly, and supportive environment is important for business growth. You’ll find these qualities in a coworking space.
Unlike traditional offices, shared spaces don’t encourage competition. There’s no office politics and nothing threatens people’s work identity.
Coworking peers tend to be generous and supportive. Successes are celebrated and failures accepted as part of the life of an entrepreneur.
At Backbone, we’re proud to offer this kind of community.
Personality traits of a coworking community
A survey of coworkers showed 30% of them were extroverts, 47% ambiverts, and 22% introverts. Whether you crave interaction or prefer to work quietly on your own, you’ll fit right into a coworking community.
9. Improved mental health
The Canadian Mental Health Association shares that 1 in 5 Canadians feel their mental health is poor or very poor. A lack of social connection is given as a reason for increased rates of anxiety and depression in recent years.
Studies show our mental and emotional health are at greater risk when we work alone at home. Social isolation, loneliness, and disconnection can begin to take a toll on even the most seasoned solo worker.
A shared office can help support your mental health. Even if you don’t talk to anyone on a particular day, knowing that other people are working around you can help boost your mood.
You’re never alone in a co-shared environment.
As an extension to the mental health discussion, one of the biggest downsides to working remotely is burnout.
Freelancers especially, due in part to limited budgets, try to do it all. They work and work and work and work with little support and few resources.
Co-shared offices provide the perfect antidote to burnout. Socialization in a shared workspace can be productive! Help is often around the corner.
Members share resources, tips, and lessons learned from experience that help small business owners avoid pitfalls of business growth.
10. Flexible work hours
Most coworking spaces offer 24/7 access to members. Whether you’re most productive in the early morning or whether you prefer to burn the midnight oil, you’ll have a space to work in.
Whatever your lifestyle, whatever your work habits, or whatever your personal and professional schedules demand, a coworking space is ready when you are.
11. Built-in structure
One recommendation seasoned freelancers often give to newbies is to build structure into your schedule.
It’s too easy to get distracted by day-to-day distractions without structure. One can easily lose a year (or more) to unimportant work.
Productivity can be hurt by having too much freedom and too much flexibility, qualities that draw freelancers to that type of work.
You can easily overcome these difficulties by sticking to a schedule and deciding on a designated workspace.
Coworking offers a certain level of structure and accountability to your work. They make it easier to stick to a work schedule. When you work alongside others who are passionate about their work they can help you stay accountable to yours.
12. Better Work-Life Balance
A move to a coworking space can help you find work-life balance.
Aside from setting a physical boundary between your work and personal life, some coworking spaces go one step further by providing lounges and wellness rooms.
If you’re in need of a short break in the form of a yoga session, want to take a quick catnap, or would like a spot to wind down before going home for the day, you can usually find those options in a communal office space.
Is coworking the way of the future?
Coworking has changed the nature of work forever, especially for younger generations.
COVID-19 accelerated the trend toward shared office space. It’s undeniable that coworking will stay a part of the future of work.
Ready to try coworking?
If you’re starting a new business or you’re a freelancer looking to liven up your work space, consider coworking with Backbone Executive Offices.
You’ll save money, increase your productivity, expand your network, feel saner, and become an overall happier worker.
As the pandemic has shown, the biggest thing we crave is human connection. The antidote to the isolation we’ve felt in the past years from working at home could very well be coworking.
Become a Backbone Member. We’re a coworking community made up of passionate professionals ready to welcome you into the fold—and share a coffee machine with you at the same time.
Would you like a tour of our coworking space? Contact us today and we’ll be happy to show you around.
We promise you’ll love it here!
Want a tour of the space?
Our community of go-getter entrepreneurs could use another one like you! Shoot us a message if you have any questions or want to book a showing.
Backbone Coworking & Executive Offices
104-32615 S Fraser Way
Abbotsford, BC, V2T 1X8