I heard the term coworking spaces a lot lately & never understood what exactly it meant. We give an overview of the work trend. The alternative form of work has experienced quite a boom in Germany recently.
Despite the pandemic, or precisely because of its effects, many of us have understood that there are possible alternatives to the standard office and the home office. But what exactly is coworking, and what characterizes the form of work?
Table of Contents
How Is Coworking Defined?
At least since the WeWork story, everyone has probably heard the term “coworking,” but what exactly does it mean? Coworking is an alternative, not-so-new form of work where you rent a flexible workspace in a shared space. At least most of the time – unless you consciously choose joint projects that you initiate together.
By paying your rent, you not only secure the physical Space, i.e., chair and desk, but also access to additional services such as WiFi, separate meeting rooms, printers, or the coffee kitchen – depending on your choice’s Space equipped because there are big differences between the providers.
Who Exactly Prefers Coworking?
In the past, coworking was probably more common among vagabonds of working life or those who could not (yet) afford their own office. We’re talking about freelancers, smaller start-ups, and digital nomads.
Meanwhile, since our work is becoming increasingly technical and can be carried out from anywhere, the form of work is also gaining popularity among other professional groups. So, anyone who wants to and whose boss is swimming with the trend can work in the coworking spaces.
How Much Does A Workstation In The Coworking Spaces Cost?
It generally depends on three points: where exactly the Space is located, whether in the city or in the country (the latter is cheaper), for what time you secure a place (hourly to monthly subscription), and whether you have a so-called Rent a fix or flex desk (with a fixed desk, you return to a permanent workplace for the entire rental period).
The comparison platform Coworking Guide has trouble analyzing shared workspace prices in the largest German cities. According to their results, a “flex desk” in Germany costs an average of 214 euros per month; a “fix desk” is significantly more expensive at an additional 110 euros per month. In Leipzig, you can get away with both offers the cheapest, while Munich tops the list with the most expensive spaces.
What Are The Advantages Of Coworking?
Do you work with your laptop on your lap in the flat share because your mini room doesn’t have a spot for your desk? As already briefly mentioned, all you have to do in the coworking spaces is bring your laptop or whatever else you need to work with you, and you can start. Your back will thank you.
If you work alone in the home office, it can get tricky to maintain the feeling of being busy. If you surround yourself with coworkers who are also working, finding motivation for your own tasks is easier. Of course, coworking doesn’t score particularly well here compared to working in a standard office.
Especially if you are more of the lonely (working) wolf type, you can benefit enormously from the atmosphere in the shared room. Many coworking spaces prioritize creating a community – they offer coworkers regular events and workshops in addition to the physical Space. It has to be said that the pandemic has hit many spaces particularly hard on this point.
Because so many different personalities from various industries come together, coworking offers a great opportunity to exchange ideas and broaden your horizons. If you are mostly looking to be close to those who work in the same department, you can easily connect with coworkers from other disciplines here. In the best case, you can even start joint interdisciplinary projects – and without the pecking order of a normal workplace, which brings us to the next point.
You were interacting with people the same organization doesn’t employ as you make the existence of a separate “work persona” obsolete. What does that mean? If you’re struggling in your office to master internal company politics. Direct competition hardly exists, which allows everyone to show their authentic self—a huge plus.
Improved Work-Life Balance
In the home office – as we all know from experience – there is no physical separation between work and downtime. Does the kitchen table share its function as a study, dining area, and for hangouts with your flatmate buddies? That’s the problem. If you use a coworking office, you can plan your working day as it suits you and still create the necessary physical distance between your working day and your free time.
Possible Prevention Of “Rural Exodus”
Suppose the coworking spaces offers the opportunity to work in regions or cities that offer less industry and jobs. In that case, this may prevent many people from migrating to the nearest city. Not everyone feels at home in the metropolis – but is often forced to move there due to the broader range of jobs. Coworking spaces have the potential to make life in smaller cities more appealing.
What Are The Disadvantages Of Working In A Coworking Spaces?
Noise And Unrest
Even though many of the coworking spaces offer separate meeting rooms, the main area still takes the form of an open-plan office. Are you someone who needs quiet to work, or even a job requiring extreme concentration because that might not be a good fit for you?
Spending Money & “Arriving”
It’s quite self-explanatory. You don’t pay anything at home to work in front of your laptop. In the coworking spaces, you usually shell out over 200 euros. In addition, you will have to leave your home, which may take time.
Increased Risk Of Theft
If you have chosen the Fix Desk, this offers you the opportunity to keep your belongings in your place. You don’t have to re-spread them every day. Unfortunately, you never know who you are sharing the coworking area. Especially if you’re working on sensitive data, things could get tricky should outsiders get their hands on it. Then it’s better to pack everything than to regret it later.
What Happens If Your Stuff Is Stolen In The Coworking Spaces?
First things first – While the coworking spaces may feel like the polished version of your living room, that doesn’t mean you can act like one. The Space is not your home, and you should play it safe and don’t leave your belongings unattended.
Unfortunately, we can’t always have our eyes everywhere. Despite everything, someone may steal your headphones while talking to your coworker or neighbor. The whole thing is a little less depressing if you have made provisions and secured the right theft protection in advance.
If you want to insure your belongings, including your smartphone and any other electronics, against theft, you can easily do this for a few euros a month. Get Lemonade household contents insurance with an anti-theft add-on. So whether you’re at home, sitting in a coffee shop, or hitting the keys in a coworking spaces, we’ll protect you if someone steals your stuff. We even cover you while you travel the world for up to three months (hello coworking spaces in New York, Paris, and Barcelona!).
A small disclaimer: – Normally, only things you use privately are covered by household insurance. So we don’t cover pure work laptops, only those you use at least 50 percent privately. If a laptop is stolen and you split it 50/50 between work and Netflix, we usually cover half of the costs incurred – as long as you have added the anti-theft package to your policy. On the other hand, we reimburse the entire replacement value for a private laptop.
We’ve already established that you shouldn’t leave your belongings unattended – the same goes for your bike. Never leave it anywhere without locking it first.
As you can probably imagine, coworking spaces have suffered a major setback from the pandemic, like most businesses. As we have already mentioned, many spaces had to throw planned community projects and events to the wind and downsize. Fear of germs doesn’t mix well with a room full of strangers. However, she noted to the business insider that Corona had strengthened the urge for the freedom to work from anywhere.
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