Co-working nine to five

Motivation and inspiration (and maybe beer) on tap.

Starting out on your own can be bloody difficult.

No set monthly pay date. A mountain to climb to get where you want to be. Negative comparisons with your competition.

Of course there are the positives too.

You don’t have to answer to anyone but yourself. You can manage (or avoid) your commute. You can potentially work in your underpants.

But many freelancers, partnerships and startups find the lack of human contact the hardest thing with working from home (the obvious place many small ventures begin). It can be lonely, it can find motivation and inspiration in short supply, and it can isolate you from your market as well as your mates.

For others, kids, babies, pets and partners/flatmates around the home (either trying to keep their distance or also attempting to work) can be very distracting, and can turn your home office into a noisy corner of an activity-filled room.

That’s where co-working comes in.

Kind-of colleagues

Hiring your own office when you’re just starting out is great if you can afford the rent and cost of fitting it out. But even then, it can result in some degree of isolation, and the lack of water-cooler moment / lunchtime gossip session / sounding board can prove problematic for your mental wellbeing and general working perspective.

Co-working spaces come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and price ranges. But they can provide many of the things home – or coffee shops – can’t. Familiar faces. Speedy broadband connections. Meeting rooms. Even free drinks.

And with co-working spaces a hive of activity for creatives, writers, entrepreneurs and the like, there’s a great chance you could meet people who can help you (and vice versa).

Where can I co-work?

Co-working spaces are cropping up everywhere in major cities. But there’s a decent chance there’ll be one within easily commutable distance from you, wherever you might be. Hubble and coworker are definitely good places to start your search.

London

Areaworks, Manor House, N15 6RH £

Open since early 2018, and slightly off the beaten track in an artists’ village – but you wouldn’t know it given the slick fit out.

Work Hub Made Simple, Old Street, N1 ££

Great location for creatives and alternative packages allowing a set number of hours per month, making it ideal for using as a part-time base.

WeWork, 33 Queen St, EC4R 1AP £££

Even hot desks command prices from £450/month… but if you want an impressive business postcode and big-money clients on your doorstep, it might just be worth it. Word of warning: includes free beer.

Birmingham

The Transfer, 506 Moseley Road, B12 9AH £

Prices starting at £35 a month!

The Custard Factory, Digbeth, B9 ££

Startup heritage, lots of events, and a creative/digital-bias.

Try before you buy

If you’re not sure whether co-working’s for you – or you’d prefer to scope out specific offices before you put down the money for 1, 6 or 12 months, many places have a day rate offer. These can start from as little as £9. Which is less than you’ll spend trying to drag out a few flat whites at Costa for 7 hours…

At the other end of the Concern Scale TM is ‘fear of outgrowing’ a co-working space. Well, worry ye not, as many spaces offer not just hot desk and fixed desk (i.e. you’re at the same desk every day and can leave stuff overnight) deals – but small office ones too.

Get to co-work.