These days, co-working spaces are getting a lot of press in the entrepreneurship world—and for good reason! These spaces offer an innovative solution for entrepreneurs, start-ups and freelancers of all sizes who need anything from simple desk space to conference rooms for meetings. Co-working spaces took the entrepreneurship world by storm, so it’s only fair that the next innovation in shared working spaces is already here. Collaboration spaces have been entering the shared office space game lately with a focus on creating opportunities for people in their spaces to not just socialize, but to work and gain insight from their fellow entrepreneurs. So how do you know which is right for you? Here are a few guidelines.
Some people need absolute silence in order to focus on their work, while others do best with a hum of activity around them. If you really need complete focus and solitude in order to get your work done, then a co-working space is probably ideal since they offer many quiet spaces as well as common areas for when you’re ready to socialize. If you find it helps your productivity to be surrounded by people and to bounce ideas off of others then a collaboration space might be right up your alley.
Some entrepreneurs like to get feedback from others at every step of the way. If you’re the kind of worker who likes to have someone read every draft, look over your bare-bones outlines, and listen to your ideas before you sit down to work on them then a collaboration space would be a great fit. Collaboration spaces encourage this kind of idea-sharing and free flow thought exchange on a higher level than traditional co-working spaces. If, however, you’re the kind of person who keeps everything under lock and key until it’s been edited and perfected, then you might prefer the privacy and quiet of a co-working space.
Some people like to look up from their computer regularly, catch another person’s eye and begin to chat while they’re mid project. There are many people who get an energy boost from socializing without limits during the work day and who find it actually helps their productivity to be able to schmooze on the fly. However, others may find that they need to have clearly defined work periods and socializing periods which are demarcated. People who work in this style re-charge their energy levels by stepping away from work for a defined amount of time and getting to chat and relax before heading back. If you prefer to mix work and social opportunities, then a collaboration space would suit you well. If you need clear borders between work time and social time, then stick with a co-working space.
One of the biggest benefits of a collaboration space is the opportunity to network, share ideas, and scout out new talent and opportunities. If you are on the lookout for new connections or even a new hire, a collaboration space is a great way to meet people with various skills and get to know them both socially and professionally without the artificial setting of an interview or a networking event. For companies who are in a growth stage, a collaboration space can be a great way to expand your business and your contacts organically. However, for those who are still focused on laying their groundwork or who are happy with the team they have, a co-working space that allows them the autonomy to be with the group they are in might be more suitable.
There’s no right or wrong way to work, and everybody has different styles and predispositions that make different environments more or less suitable. The good news about the rise of collaboration spaces is that it means people are thinking innovatively about how to create places for entrepreneurs like you to work, get inspired, and progress no matter what your work style might be. The best news is that since most co-working and collaboration spaces offer flexible monthly membership plans, you can try out both and even a few of each and see what fits your business best.