For a mompreneur who hustles hard to create the opportunity to “work from home,” the idea of paying to work in a physical space outside the home might seem a little counterintuitive. However, coworking spaces are springing up around the country offering a diverse range of services and membership options. Perhaps it’s time to consider these five compelling reasons a membership at a coworking space might make sense for you.
1. Networking, networking, networking
Networking is the lifeblood of many small businesses. Unfortunately, it can often feel like a full-time job in itself. Happy hours, meet-ups, lunch bunches, and seminars offer invaluable opportunities to connect with other entrepreneurs—and can also eat up a significant chunk of the work day and cut into valuable family time in the evening.
Hannah Walker, Director of Operations and Community for WorkHub in Tyler, Texas, believes that shared workspaces offer working women an easy way to network efficiently. “For businesses that depend on word of mouth and personal referrals, the opportunity to make casual connections throughout the day with other writers, web builders, start-ups, entrepreneurs and industry reps is huge,” she says. “People want variety and the ability to change up their environment and collaborate with people outside their industry, so we provide a place for that to happen seamlessly.”
Networking occurs in two different ways at shared workspaces: through the natural relationships that develop while working in close physical proximity with others and through organized programming that occurs onsite. Sharing a pod or chatting at the coffee machine creates opportunities for mompreneurs to forge authentic connections with other like-minded business people during the workday or while attending sponsored happy hours. Classes and events offer convenient ways to expand and cement those relationships as well.
2. Restores work-life balance
Working from home can lead to blurred lines and messy boundaries between the two spheres. A coworking membership can help restore the balance between work and home—and even increase productivity.
Hannah Phillips, a freelance writer from Idaho and pregnant mother of a six-year-old admits that her desire to multitask often exacerbates procrastination and sabotages efficiency. “It’s like that book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. I tell myself that I’m just starting a load of laundry before sitting down to work, but next thing I know I’m neck deep in a household project and half the day is gone. Then I end up working in the evening to meet my deadline when I’d rather be enjoying my family.”
Coworking spaces minimize distractions, providing a flexible structure that allows many remote workers to buckle down and get things done. When someone else is responsible for brewing the coffee, changing the printer toner and emptying the wastebaskets, you can focus on your work during business hours—and then go home and take out your own trash.
“I find that when I’m sitting at an actual desk, with an ergonomic chair, surrounded by other people who are hard at work, I’m so much more efficient than when I’m at home, sitting at my kitchen table, surrounded by my son’s Legos,” says Phillips.
3. Puts a professional sheen on everything you do
Have you ever arranged a business meeting at a coffee shop only to arrive and find every seat already taken or attempted to participate in a video conference at the exact time your home internet fails? While relatively minor, logistical and technological fails like these can undermine the professionalism you’re attempting to project to prospective clients or peers.
Fully-equipped workspaces, complete with conference rooms, video projectors, hi-speed internet, scanners, double-sided printing and bottomless cups of coffee at the ready can go a long way toward cultivating the image of an established, successful company. According to Walker, these amenities “bring a level of legitimacy to your business and having a place where for client meetings where everything goes smoothly can make all the difference.”
When you don’t know the long-term future of your company, the month-to-month membership at a coworking space can make a lot of fiscal sense. Furthermore, many coworking spaces allow you to change your level of membership as needed and can drastically reduce your overhead.
Walker notes that coworking spaces can save small business and start-ups from committing to too much, too quickly. “You don’t know if you’re going to be around in three to five years, which is the type of lease that many office spaces want. A shared workspace guarantees that you’ll have a place to conduct your business, equipped with every resource you need and without being locking into burdensome leases, contracts and unnecessary services that you can’t afford.”
5. Social outlet…or peace and quiet
Finally, coworking spaces provide an easy remedy for the feelings of isolation and loneliness that can often arise from working at home. Or for busy mompreneurs who are looking for a little peace and quiet, coworking spaces offer that, too.