So you’ve made the break and told your boss to “shove it”. You now embark on a journey, unknown, scary but exciting. Today, you are your own boss, in charge of your own destiny.
Innovation is one of the drivers of today’s knowledge economy, but cultivating homegrown innovation can be a challenge. Almost every independent worker will eventually encounter the greatest drawback of being your own boss – lack of productivity, isolation and distraction. In turn this can and will affect creativity, innovation and productivity. Just like when you worked for a Boss, you need to maintain a structure to your day. Don’t sit around in you PJ’s all day. Get up, shower, dress smartly and get out of the house. I think you have to be a very disciplined person to be able to work from home and not be distracted by the washing, dishes or midday TV. Isolation and achieving work-life balance are issues that stem from working alone at home. You can lose your edge by not being around other people.
So what are the alternatives?
Most people start by using free local spaces – libraries and other public spaces, the coffee shop wears thin after a while because just how much coffee can you drink to warrant taking up a table for hours on end? Serviced offices or executive suites can be stuffy and no different to the corporate office you used to work in.
Don’t fear, there are a few options out there for you.
Jelly – the informal gathering of independents at a designated place, usually someone’s house or coffee shop, to collaborate, work and socialize. Anyone can organize a Jelly, you just need a suitable space with WiFi.
And then there’s Coworking.
The term Coworking (note: NO dash) made it’s debut into popularity around 2005 by Brad Neuberg after he decided that he wanted both the structure and community of an office and the freedom and independence of a freelancer. Coworking spaces since 2005 have mushroomed in more than 50 countries around the world. Desk Wanted is a Coworking marketplace and directory, listing over 850 spaces globally.
Coworking is a concept that is continually changing and growing depending individual space offerings and member requirements. However, the basic fundamental stays the same, Coworking is the setup and dynamic of a diverse group of individuals working independently, along side other independants in a collaborative workspace while sharing office ammenties (WiFi connection, photocopier, printer, scanner, coffee bar etc)
What sets Coworking apart from a shared office is the focus on building a community and collaboration. Coworking hinges on the belief that innovation and inspiration comes from cross-pollination of different people in different fields of expertise.
Let’s consider what you get from using a Coworking space as compared to working from home or the local coffee shop.
First, there’s the sense of belonging that we derive from being part of a group. You aren’t just renting a desk space, you are buying into the right to belong to a community.
Secondly, Coworking takes freelancers, indie workers and entreprenuers to a space where they can grow and flourish. You get to know other Coworkers on a personal level before linking up with them professionally.
There is a wealth of knowledge that you can get from working amongst a group of people with different skill sets, backgrounds and experiences. Enlist these people’s knowledge and skill sets to bounce your ideas and to help grow you new venture. Coworking enables you to reach a certain level of creativity more quickly because of collaboration. There’s something to be said about being more productive when you are surrounded by other likeminded, driven & creative people.
You’ve already made the big step to venture out on your own so why not take the next big step and try out your local Coworking space, just maybe you’ll find your new “home”