Are you drawn to the ease, the flexibility, the culture and the collaborative vibe of co-working? Do you hesitate because you have heard much about the challenges it poses? Here’s how you could overcome them and reap the advantages of ‘the new office’.
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Don’t be a misfit
Know your priorities for your working space. Is price the deciding factor or is location? Do you need a space with a long-term rental plan or one that allows you to rent it two days a week? Do you need basic office amenities only or do you value the creche service provided? What sort of co-worker group would you like? More tech entrepreneurs or access to a designer community? Is it hot-desking for you or cabin space? Or a mix of both? What kind of meeting rooms would you like to invite your clients to – casual or executive?
Find out the various space providers in your area. Ask other users for their feedback. Co-working spaces typically provide options to customise a workplace solution for each customer. Many also offer short trial plans. Make a deliberate, researched choice.
Make a work routine that allows both solitude and society
One of the prime advantages of co-working is the connection with co-workers from diverse fields of work. But socialising and discussions in these non-traditional office spaces go from coffee-machines to meeting rooms to after-work beers and the lines between work and play are often blurry. You may find this distracting or intrusive. The solution lies in picking a community space when needed and a secluded cabin or meeting room when your business calls for it.
Be careful of what you share
In a co-working space, you will be surrounded by people from different organisations and different personal and business interests. There may be business information that is proprietary or customer data protected by law that inappropriate to be shared with your co-worker over a chat at the coffee machine. Leaving yourlaptop unattended with sensitive information could have you coming across as unprofessional, and worse still, compromise your privacy.
Take security measures
Depending on the security needs of your business, find out what the IT infrastructure of the co-working space can provide. If you need access-controlled areas for your instruments, tools or product prototypes, you may be able to work with your provider to customise a portion of the workspace for your needs.
Learn to make the most of a dynamic workspace
Co-working spaces thrive on flexibility. People come in and leave at different times. Some may work from a space for years together. Others may be in and out every week. For those who choose hot-desking, it can be unnerving at first if they are used to the comfort that comes from constancy. You may arrive in Bangalore for a client meeting and find that a co-worker is hosting a social event in the outdoor area. Invite your client to a meeting room in Bangalore, not to the community area. Remember that a co-working space gives you freedom and flexibility – to choose the best work space and work environment – for your best performance.