The benefits of coworking, discussion
In this article I want to share my vision of the advantages and disadvantages of coworking centers, which are still gaining popularity in Russia. Some of them became especially successful and recouped the costs in less than six months, others closed without starting to make a decent profit, others just exist, they have a payback period of more than one and a half years, and the fourth are only going to open.
The very idea in the world is not new, although it is less than 10 years old. But it exists in various forms, and many residents of the IT sphere still do not use the opportunities that coworking presents.
The purpose of the article is to collect the best qualities of coworking centers in one place, point out their shortcomings and offer material for work to the fourth group (those that are opening), in particular the new coworking center near the Ostankino tower, which is scheduled to open in early 2014 (I I’m waiting for him, because I live nearby).
For those who don’t know
The topic of coworking is a topic of teamwork, it does not mean working in a single team, but at least working in the same room, in the same atmosphere. And this atmosphere should be working, that’s why coworking is most valuable, people come here who want to work somewhere, but not at home (for various reasons), and they don’t want to rent their own office.
Different versions of the same?
There are a lot of buzzwords, such as: coworking , anticafe, time cafe, time club , etc., all these are public "institutions" of a social orientation (as Wikipedia says), there are even real cafes, and people adapt all these for use under your need. And if at McDonald's they are struggling with entrepreneurs, removing sockets, then the "establishments" listed in the list are specially designed for the work / communication of a variety of people.
There are many similarities and differences between them. In a nutshell, you can describe something like this. Coworking is often positioned specifically for work, and cookies, coffee, etc. are bonuses; this is not the main thing. Anticafe (it’s also a time cafe or a time club) is designed for communication, and drinks and snacks are of great importance in communication (although this is not the main idea).
And although in both places you can work and communicate, the emphasis is different, and the comfort in the right kind of activity is also different. The topic of the article is closer to coworking, so we will focus on it further.
Why not office
It is worth mentioning very briefly about the ancient alternative that still works today - office rental. This option has advantages, and no coworking center of a full-fledged office can replace it, but is its own office important for a freelancer, designer, novice entrepreneur and any member of a small team of (2-3) people?
If you work for yourself or with a friend / partner, then rent an office is:
- high rents every month;
- investments in repairs, furniture and equipment;
- chores to accompany the office (hygiene, communications, etc.).
If you are not ready to rent an office, but you need to work somewhere, then a coworking center is a good option. He will be your office without unnecessary obligations.
My ideal workplace
Of course, the first question to be asked when interested in a topic (for example, reading this article) is “why do I need this?” If a positive answer is found, then we can proceed to "what exactly do I want?"
What I would like to see in the coworking center:
1. low prices (I will find where else to spend the money);
2. convenient workplace (normal table, chair, lighting, printer, Internet, a sufficient amount of personal space);
3. quiet workplace (most often I want to focus on what I am doing);
4. a fixed workplace (each time running and looking for free is useless);
5. accessible negotiation (a personal conversation or a meeting with the team happens every day, extra ears or noise are not needed);
6. A place to relax or walk (periodically need to be distracted from hard work);
7. kettle (or cooler / coffee machine / microwave);
8. a bathroom (preferably clean);
9. a box for storing things (you will not carry office and other accessories with you);
10. convenient location (accessibility by different means of transport is more important than two minutes on foot after feeling like a herring).
The above is my minimum set of requirements. Often in openspace options, all items are not executed at the same time, but you can get 9 out of 10 by closing your eyes to one (high price or noisy environment). Additionally, there are other services, for example (I’ll tell you why the numbering is through):
11. training seminars;
12. additional IP phone;
14. dining room / cafe;
15. personal page on the site;
16. entertainment programs;
17. round-the-clock access to the premises;
18. punching bag (just kidding, but it would be great).
All these additions add interest to the place. And, of course, do not forget about the atmosphere, this is an additional feature (in my opinion) that makes the place more attractive. It is in this atmosphere that you can meet interesting people with whom you can continue to work together on partnerships.
Now about the consecutive numbering: below in the comments there is an opportunity, having allocated your personal time, to add your opinion in a structured way and by points to further discuss it. The format proposed is as follows:
[<№ пункта> <нужность в баллах от 0 до 10> (<комментарий>)].
Any opinions would be interesting to discuss.
How to choose your center
In order to choose your ideal workplace, you need to clearly understand what you want to do there. There are many options, the main ones: work, communication, hanging out (we have already considered the first two). If all three components are important to you, then the question of price (p. 1) is relegated to the background, there are such centers, they are found by the word “coworking” in the search engine on the first page.
But if, for the most part, work is important for you, while the issue of price actually affects the choice of office or location in the coworking center, then the choice is not very large (at least for the capital). The monthly cost of space in the main coworking centers is more than the cost of a small office for two jobs (if you look good), and with other costs it is approximately equalized on a six-month scale. In this case, there is no unambiguous recipe; the final choice will depend on the specifics of the work and personal preferences.
Disadvantages of coworking centers
Among the many advantages, there are also disadvantages that somehow make one draw attention to themselves:
1. background noise;
2. low security;
3. a bunch of distracting events.
These shortcomings are often determined by the openspace format, when too many unfamiliar people are gathered in one room. Unfortunately (to my personal), coworking in the format of good old offices where real walls are soundproofed is not common now. Tribute to fashion and the desire to keep up with the times sometimes save us from using the positive experience of our ancestors.
Modern and comfortable office
The word "modern" in relation to the office in recent years can be increasingly associated with the word "fashionable", but not "cozy / comfortable." Why, I will try to explain with a small example.
Not so long ago, I was in new German offices in the Nagatinsky floodplain. There are excellent modern office premises (these are the newest, not converted old buildings), but the first impression was dispelled as soon as I imagined how I spend my working day there. After that, all the desire to work in such a “modern” office was completely lost. What was wrong?
Imagine an aquarium, not the one in which the fish swim, but the one in which the employees sit. The topic is old, pushed away, and for sure, many people passing by had an unpleasant feeling when employees turn to look at you now and then with a look of "what are you looking at." This does not deliver comfort to the employees themselves, who are constantly “under the supervision” of people passing by. Fashion is changing, and in new buildings there are almost no aquariums, but there are large rooms in which 20 people are crammed, and closets (if any) are used cabinets or something even better transmitting sound. Inside, nothing has changed, but the environment has changed. A kitchen appeared on several of these rooms. This in itself is good, you can go out, pour yourself a cup of coffee, sit down at the table and have a bite. But the execution of everything in the best modern traditions leads to the fact that even while having a snack everybody passing by looks at you every now and then. And not just like that. The kitchen in the aquarium catches your eye, the most uncomfortable place to eat that you can imagine, especially considering the equipment of such rooms with CCTV cameras.
Having returned from a snack, we again find ourselves in a “hostel”, in which you know 5-6 people out of 20, but all 20 hear your conversations, see everything you do, and create a general noise background (and you are their accomplice). This can not be inconvenient only if you put your headphones on the monitor and you can’t get out of it all day. But if you want your own inviolable space, you make many calls yourself, conduct more than 2 conversations with employees per day, etc., then this option is very difficult to call cozy.
Recently, almost all coworking centers have a large openspace, conditionally divided into zones. This approach is close to a modern office, with trendy furniture, good materials and lots of common space. But at the same time a minimum of personal space. As a visitor to a couple of Moscow coworking centers, I was surprised to find myself thinking as if I were in a non-smoking area of a cafe, which still smells of smoke (and here the noise).
And what is the result
As a result, the topic is trendy and successful, it is embodied well too. If you close your eyes to a few unpleasant moments, then a workplace in a coworking center is what you need when you are considering an option not only for work.
In my case, when there is an established team, and personal space is of high value, it’s worth the wait, but for now use the usual office rental. There is hope that in the near future new coworking centers will begin to appear, which, I hope, will take into account my and your wishes.
Now, I propose to help gather valuable information in the form of useful ideas and opinions. What are you missing in coworking centers?