Arjun is a freelance designer. He wakes up every morning, puts on business casual clothes and heads off to his local coffee shop which doubles as his office, aka the ‘Coffice.’
He gets there at 8.45am, a time where many other workers will pick up their coffee and head to their office job. But not Arjun: this will be his workplace for the day. He spots a quiet cozy corner that would be perfect for him to set up for the day, unfortunately another freelancer just nabs the spot before him. He settles for a table in between the counter and the wall.
At 10am a group of noisy students bustle in and sit next to him. His right ear deals with gossiping students while a coffee machine whirrs in his left. Arjun’s productivity is affected and he’s worried, because a client is due to walk in any moment.
The meeting went average, it was tough discussing project requirements amidst the noise of the café, his client seemed generally put-off. Arjun buys lunch and his second latte for the day. These purchases seem small at the time, but they definitely add up. However, he feels pressured to buy something as he’s been there the entire day.
At 3pm Arjun realises that his laptop is about to run out of battery, but the only power socket in the café is already taken. He’s forced to finish work early and begins his commute home.
Recharging his laptop at home, Arjun feels frustrated at the progress he’s made today and decides that he’ll continue working again at 6pm.
This scenario is common amongst freelancers working in cafés. Although not everyday working in a café is like this, the potential is there every morning. Many are realising that operating from a café wasn’t as practical as it seemed.
Many frustrated freelancers are leaving their local café for the nearest coworking space. Why?
Coworking Spaces Are More Cost-Effective
Freelancers or businesses enter coworking spaces on flexible membership subscriptions. Meaning they could be there for a day, week, month or even year. Whatever suits the member best and is the most cost-efficient option for the worker.
Depending on your coworking subscription, you could be spending less than a coffee and a slice of cake per day. But, cost-effectiveness is achieved by the facilities and amenities one gains access to. A desk or private office, meeting rooms, events rooms, printing rooms, medical rooms, fast reliable wifi, air conditioning, heck some spaces even have a gym! All for a subscription. In other words, you could be spending a little bit more than a couple coffees, but you make your money back ten-fold in productivity.
Coworking Space are more Private and Safe
The annoyance of working in a café is that you will always have to worry about your things being stolen. Simply, it’s unsettling working on anything confidential in a public place. Is there anyone eavesdropping or looking at your screen? Probably not, but they could be. If somebody wanted to commit corporate espionage, it would take them 30 minutes and the ₹200 for a coffee.
Whenever you want to use the bathroom you have to ask yourself the following?
- “Should I pack up all of my things?”
- “Will I lose my seat if I get up?”
- “The café is quiet, I could probably leave my things, but… someone could come in”
- “Should I ask a worker to keep an eye on my things? Are the staff annoyed at me?”
- “Wait a second… do they even have a bathroom for customers?”
Coworking spaces have a storage room or lockers for members to place their belongings in. For workers who prefer more privacy while working, they can hire their own private office or cubicle. The workstation you hire is yours, you don’t need to worry about anyone tampering with it or any of your belongings.
Coworking Spaces Reduce Distractions
Distraction is a productivity destroyer. In a café you’re dealing with constant chatter, a coffee machine, the smell of delicious baking and a random kid walking around being uneasily careless with their strawberry milkshake. You require some serious discipline to stay on task!
Coworking spaces are full of like-minded individuals. They are there to get work done and are respectful that you’re looking to do the same. Many freelancers actually begin coworking to get more social opportunities in their working life. Working in a café or working from home can make one feel lonely, often a bit of social distraction is actually welcome. The difference between socializing at a coworking space and a café, is that socializing in coworking can double as networking—which brings me to my next point.
Coworking Spaces Provide Proper Infrastructure
Simply put, cafés are for socializing and a lot of coffee. Coworking spaces are for work … and a lot of coffee.
Coworking spaces, desks, facilities and amenities are there to maximize productivity. Comfortable desks and chairs, offices and meeting rooms are designed to allow one to focus for long periods. If one does feel like they’re brain is getting a bit clogged, coworking spaces have recreation rooms, gyms or cafeterias to help one declutter and return to work.
Cafés aren’t the best place for meetings. A meeting at a café is also more likely to be discussion only, nobody is going to do a presentation or share files between devices.
Coworking Spaces Increase Networking Opportunities
Unique and like-minded individuals all concentrated in a single shared office. In one space, you’re likely to have both individuals and businesses that work in a variety of industries, although some coworking spaces will attract groups from a similar industry. Many will actually prefer to work in spaces that have similar groups as they can bounce industry knowledge off each other. See this article discussing the coworking experience for freelancers.
You’re unlikely to find your next business partner in a café. In a coworking space your next business partner could walk in any morning; networking is a big reason why many corporations have even migrated to coworking spaces. Coworking spaces are where corporations can scope out new and exciting business ideas and look for partnership or recruitment opportunities.
Most Coworking Spaces Offer 24/7 Accessibility
Coworking is about gaining more flexible working hours. Although, the majority of coworkers working hours do fall somewhere between 8am–5pm. Many others will work outside of their hours as it better suits their lifestyle. However keep in mind that it’s likely not all facilities and amenities will be open 24/7 at your average coworking space, during later hours there will probably be less seating available.
Most cafés will close between 3–5pm. There are cafés that stay open till midnight, but if you’re staying that long, the amount of coffee and cake you’d have to consume would be neither wise for your bank account or health.
Coworking is the Future
Ultimately it’s your decision. If your local café is serving you well (productivity wise) then keep at it. But, the growth of coworking spaces in the last decade is tough to ignore. Coworking spaces were mostly present in the US, now they are popping up everywhere facilitating bright business ideas from around the globe. If you’re looking for one of the top coworking spaces in Kolkata, we recommend looking at Zioks.