Working alone, together

Benefits of a co-working community

Within five years half of the working force in US and Europe (UK included, for now) will be their own boss. As number of freelancers is on the rise tools are being tailored to them. Even the concept of work itself will need to adapt. One of the major changes is rethinking and redesigning office space.

When talking to a freelancer one thing they will never shut up about are the benefits of self-management. Also, horrible clients are always a popular topic but that is another story. The cons are usually mumbled and skipped — though often painfully obvious in a short amount of time. That’s why newcomers get lost. They can easily get hammered by deadlines, creators block and the amount of work they load on themselves. Improvised home office is the last place to be when the excrement hits the rotary blades.

Solving all common freelancer problems with one solution may sound like a shopping channel infomercial but investing in a table at a coworking space pays off, big time.

Coworking spaces give you the optimal balance between doing your own job and being surrounded by other professionals. They’re usually far cheaper than conventional office spaces and a great alternative to working from home. It also gets harder to procrastinate when there’s people working around you (the guilt creeping on you eventually gets too much). Being around other people in similar line of work is often useful when you hit the brick wall called the creator’s block, too.

A 15-minute coffee break is mostly enough to get you back on track, especially if you spend it with people who know all about it and you can share ideas with.

And it’s easier to brag about an awesome new job to someone who knows what you’re talking about. Getting quality advice even when you don’t think you need it (also called a reality check) is something you will learn to appreciate soon enough. There will always be a person with more experience and knowledge wherever you are so take advantage of that.

Finding new projects can be hard for freelancers, especially the ones who are new in the business. Worry not, because when you join a coworking space, you’ll get so many job offers that there could be 25 of you and there’d still be too much of it. You’ll probably get buried by job offers on the first day — most companies in a coworking space are relatively small so the workload often gets too much and they can’t wait for a new scapegoat to appear. It starts with a small project, a blog post or a couple of lines of code and soon grows into you practically working your ass off for them. No worries, though, they are all willing to pay whatever it takes just to get even a bit off their back. And, before you know it, you are caught in a whirlpool of job offers and work and that couch in the lounge starts looking more comfortable than you bed at home.

There are people in all lines of work in every coworking space, from programmers, designers, copywriters, all the way to managers and HR specialists, making it easy to get and stay very well connected in the business community in your town.

Not to mention a great opportunity for meeting new, interesting people, a good deal of them from all over the world — tech nomads, who are also a very common sight to see in a coworking space anywhere. The rapidly growing network of coworking spaces all over the world gives you a chance to become like them, at least for a while if you conclude it’s not exactly your cup of tea. It gives you a perfect opportunity to travel while working — you don’t have to deny job offers or postpone existing work for a week or two of travelling.

Since we all know that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, most coworking spaces offer some kind of community meetups — events for fun and leisure, meeting people who are new to the space and just letting off steam. Worst case scenario — there’s just a lot of people, some soda and maybe snacks. The more realistic scenario and what happens at most coworking spaces is a lot of fun people, enough beer for everyone and often real food.

Secret project has been organizing it’s meetups at HUB385 for the past couple of months. Everything from the look and feel of the space to the community is awesome and inspiring, pushing all of us further into creativity mode than expected. It’s pet friendly policy was especially handy for the three of our four-legged members. Everything we did there was productivity-oriented. Brainstorming, working and meeting new people, even the coffee breaks were surprisingly beneficial for our projects. One of the best things about HUB385 is it’s accessibility — all of us live in different parts of Zagreb and it’s very close to everything important. If you ever find yourself in that corner of the earth make sure to stop by HUB385 and join our meetup — we are here every Friday afternoon.

Yes, it’s that awesome.
Working alone, together with other people has been our motto ever since. If you haven’t experienced it already, do it — you won’t regret it.