Coworking is not one size fits all

Guest blog by Thomas Scott, CEO of Brand Journalists and a CoLab Nashville member:

Coworking has grown in popularity over the past few years and coworking spaces are becoming more and more common in cities across the country. But what is it that makes these spaces so functional?

As a coworker who started out working from home, purchased a desk membership, moved into a shared office and built a successful business in a coworking environment, I’ve gained an appreciation of what makes a coworking space work:

Coworking should be flexible. Coworking spaces leave room to grow. A common success story in the coworking world, members often start out with a shared desk in a co-working room and find themselves getting busier and bigger. The ability to transfer into a more dedicated space, such as a reserved desk or small shared office, outgrow that, hire employees and end up in a small, private office is what co-working spaces are all about – the flexibility to grow as your business grows.

This hits at the core of coworking. While attractive to freelancers and work-from-home folks, coworking centers also serve as business launchpads and incubators. For this to work, coworking spaces need the structure to accommodate this growth. This means ample shared desks in open rooms, conference rooms with white boards for meetings, shared offices and private office suites with lockable doors.

Without this structure, coworkers move out when they grow and some of the energy goes with them. Working near others who have built successful businesses is motivating for the rest of the community.

Coworking should be fun. Essential to the coworking experience is that it is collaborative, social and fun. Such a space is a place to think out loud, share ideas with neighbors, get advice on projects and simply hang out.

A good coworking space inspires creativity and encourages fun. This means lounge areas, ample tables, creative art and color schemes and even games like ping-pong and Foosball. After all, if coworkers wanted stuffy office space, they would rent an executive suite.

Coworking should be affordable. Coworking space is geared towards social and creative types who work from home or struggle to work in coffee shops. Because of this, coworking spaces should be priced below other small business office options. Included services are a must – no extra charges for Internet, printing or use of the fax. In most spaces, such as CoLab Orlando and CoLab Nashville, conference and training rooms are included and usable by appointment. This makes cowoking both functional and easy on the budget.

Curious to see what a coworking space looks like? Take a tour of CoLab Orlando.