Firstly, if you can get FAST FREE INTERNET for a cup of RM 1.20 coffee at the Kopitiam, please let me know. Most of the time the internet speed is crawling because there are so many cheap people out there. I admit I am one of them. However I would like to highlight that it isn’t about being cheap. Its about being Street Savvy. (Sounds so much better when i put a tech word in it) But in this article today, I wanted to highlight the potentials of working in a CO -Working Space. I still get so many people asking me what is a Co Working Space, What Can I do there, and Why should I work there? Once I am committed and I do not like it, is it like a contract that I sign and I am stuck for a year?
STORY OF CO WORKING
Coworking has taken off in the last few years as an alternative to working from home or at your own office.
Coworking or “co-working” is defined as any situation in which a person is working with two or more people in the same place.
This gave birth to “Co-working” spaces which spun off from high rental prices of properties in the US, especially the San Francisco Bay Area, which led to people looking to share offices. Startups with limited budgets and other companies who wanted to save on rental costs started to group together to share offices and work spaces.
A coworking space is a serviced space where it is filled with all the amenities that you need for an office space. A basic Co Working Space should have, high speed internet, comfortable work area, coffee, tea and pantry, event spaces and a physical address and phone number should they want to be contacted. (Usually these services are provided for people who are renting hot desks) Hot desks are services that you can rent either monthly or yearly, that comes with all the facilities mentioned above that allows you to work and operate your office from.
Coworking Spaces offers flexibility, networking opportunities, and for some, productivity benefits. Let’s take a look at how you can benefit from coworking.
- Flexibility and Costs
As an individual, instead of having to buy coffee and work at Starbucks or order a packet of french fries just to use the free air conditioning and Wifi at McDonalds ( as most of us Asians do), and by the way Starbucks only allows 1 hour free internet access per order, which sucks. Co Working spaces are mostly open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Which means that you have the flexibility of working anytime, FAST WIFI and also free coffee and tea! And snacks too if they have it.
Lets do the math.
** If you decide to hack the system, by bringing your own Starbucks container, bring your own tea bag and only asked for hot water and hop on a cheap internet package you managed to source or hack into someones nearby free internet. You still would be better off with the Co Working membership because it offers a chance to network with all the other “Smart and Cheap” fellas like you and me. Who knows? Maybe we can all come up with a Cheap, Good, and Valuable Startup?
However if you are a new startup with a limited budget. There are a few things that you might want to consider
- Rental costs for a work space.
- Most rental agreements are for 1 year minimal in Malaysia.
- Setting up costs of office equipment and facilities like internet, furniture and kitchen.
Overheads will just be one of the aspect that you need to consider. The other consideration is how to create a working environment that increases the productivity or any collaboration efforts which has the potential to grow your company faster. This is what Co Working Spaces offer.
Images from Scoopoint CO Working Space in Penang, Malaysia
2. HUMAN INTERACTION : Productivity, Networking and Collaboration
The main idea is that individual workers come together in a shared place to enjoy greater productivity and a sense of community.
Perhaps the most appealing aspect of coworking is the creative environment and the sense of community from like-minded professionals. As someone who’s worked from home for over a dozen years, I definitely sometimes feel like I’m missing out on the camaraderie others experience when they have a regular office to go to and coworkers to bond with–even from simple acts like greeting each other at the start of the day or sharing a coffee break.
Another benefit of coworking is the potential for networking. The people that you meet at a coworking space could be looking for your kind of work and/or they could be great resources down the road.
Distractions and Downsides of Coworking
Co-Hoots – Collaborative Work Space in Pheonix, USA
CO3 Social Office in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
TheLaunchFactory Not your average coworking, shared office space in Charlotte, NC. We aim to enhance productivity and creativity through technology and collaboration.
The main skill to master when working in a Co Working Space is DISCIPLINE. Modern Co Working Spaces which offer a mix of fun facilities like swimming pools, slides, pool tables and a whole lot of ‘Stress Relief’ options are exceptionally dangerous to work in. It is easy to fall prey to join in any invitation to go chill out and forget your tasks at hand.
Coworking exposes you to the same kinds of distractions as you would when working at an office: Interruptions from others, noise, and less privacy. I’m the type of person who gets too distracted by others to work at my best, so coworking is only something I do when things at home are too noisy and distracting (such as during home renovations).
Before you commit to coworking, consider your personality and work style. To try some of these Co Working Spaces out, check out them out during the free Co Working Day
If you are in Asia, you might want to check the top 5 Co Working Spaces to work. We are currently compiling the information on them.