The coworking trend has exploded in recent years – according to deskmag.com, more than 110,000 people use coworking spaces worldwide now. BC is no exception to this trend, but many small business owners don’t realize what coworking is exactly, or what coworking options exist right in their own neighbourhood.
What is Coworking and What Are the Benefits?
A coworking space is somewhere for entrepreneurs and remote workers to rent a different style of office space, either on a monthly or drop-in basis. Depending on your needs, you can rent anything from a shared drop-in “hot desk” to dedicated, private offices.
While business owners in the technology industry have been early adopters of the coworking trend, these spaces offer many advantages to owners of other kinds of small businesses as well.
Particularly when you’re first starting your business, the cost of renting office space can be prohibitive. At the same time, using your kitchen table or a local coffee shop as an office may not provide an ideal environment for you to run your business. For these reasons, the flexible drop-in and short-term rental agreements offered by coworking spaces can be an attractive alternative to traditional office rentals for entrepreneurs.
Coworking spaces often offer office services such as a mailbox rental, internet access, and even a shared receptionist. Many also include conference rooms for meetings.
And whereas small business owners who work exclusively from home may miss the daily social interaction that comes with working in an office, coworking offers the unique opportunity to connect with fellow business owners, and meet entrepreneurs who drop-in from other cities. Some coworking spaces with locations in multiple cities may even allow you to visit their other office spaces as a part of your subscription.
Coworking Spaces in Your Neighbourhood
Coworking spaces are starting to pop-up all over the province. There are number of general coworking spaces in the Lower Mainland, including The Network Hub, The Hive and Suite Genius. There are also some industry-specific options too, such as the 45WEST Shared Multi-Use Arts Studio (for hosting arts-related classes, workshops and rehearsals) and Vancouver Hack Space for technology professionals. Kelowna and Squamish also have active coworking spaces.
Wherever you’re located, ShareDesk and Deskwanted can be used to find coworking options near you. Pricing structures vary significantly from space to space, so you’ll want to thoroughly research options and even consider arranging a tour or trying out a space on drop-in basis prior to committing to any monthly contracts.