Elance Blog

Coworking Spaces Grow in Popularity Among Elancers.

As freelancing gains traction and the mobile workforce emerges, coworking spaces such as those on Deskwanted and NextSpace deliver real advantages to online workers. Here’s some food for thought from the team at Deskwanted.

Ring, ring, it’s 8 a.m.—time to get up and go to work. Or rather, stumble into the next room to your home office. It’s fantastic not having to commute. All you have to do is get up, get dressed and start working. But perhaps today you’ll skip the second step and work in pajamas. On second thought, your bed is far more comfortable than your desk chair...you’ll just get settled here for a day of work. You think you can definitely sit properly in your bed and have a productive day of work. Definitely. Oh, but one moment; before that, you first have to put in a load of washing. Oh, and you should make some coffee. And feed the cat. Maybe you should slow cook something for dinner tonight?

Ahhh, being your own boss has many advantages. Flexible work hours, complete control over your workload, and no need to wear a suit. But with these perks come challenges: Maintaining a healthy work-life balance, keeping your skill-set and knowledge up-to-date, and fostering extended business and social networks. Actually, being productive can be exceptionally difficult when working from home. It’s not uncommon for freelancers and entrepreneurs to feel isolated, which can quickly take its toll.

This is a situation felt by many freelancers, contractors and entrepreneurs all over the world, and as the number of freelancers grows, so too does the number of people experiencing these difficulties. In 2005, however, an industry emerged that addresses these challenges—all while allowing independent workers to keep their flexibility and independence. Coworking spaces are new types of workspaces that allow mobile workers to share office facilities for a fraction of the cost of renting a private office or business center. Coworking spaces are found all over the world and are gaining in popularity, thanks to the many advantages members of co-working communities feel from joining a “space”: Coworkers feel more productive, increase their business and social networks, reduce their feelings of isolation, increase their income and achieve a healthier work-life balance. Coworking communities are made up of professionals from a range of fields. You might meet an entrepreneur that has faced similar problems to yours over a cup of coffee, lunch with a web designer who can create your website, meet your future collaborator at the printer or share a power outlet with someone who needs your services. Companies are warming up to the trend and realizing that coworking spaces are hubs of talent and innovation. More and more teams are using co-working spaces to find their next contractor or collaborator.

The spaces are designed with independent and mobile workers in mind, so membership plans are completely flexible, offering casual, part-time, and permanent rates. Every space is different: design, spirit and community change from space-to-space, so there’s one that suits all professions and personalities. There’s a reason that the growth-rate of co-working spaces is doubling each year, but to really understand the benefits of coworking for you and your business you need to experience one for yourself. Find and book a coworking space near you on Deskwanted, the largest coworking-focused portal worldwide, and find out how it can improve your business.

About the Author
Joel Dullroy is the co-founder of Deskwanted.com, the portal for coworking spaces and shared offices. Before launching Deskwanted, Joel Dullroy was a journalist and cultural organizer. He moved from his native Australia to Berlin in 2008 and worked as a freelance journalist, contributing stories to international media including the BBC, the Financial Times and Der Spiegel. In 2010 Joel joined with Carsten Foertsch to create Deskwanted and Deskmag.


A great article! It's time more freelancers find out about how coworking can really help their respective businesses.

Deciding on whether coworking is the right choice for you if you're a freelancer, startup, or other indie professional can be tough though. I co-authored and put together a book (Working in the UnOffice: A Guide to Coworking for Indie Workers, Small Businesses, and Nonprofits, CoworkingGuide.com) last year where we talked to 50+ coworking members and space founders to find out the scoop on coworking: what the cost-benefits are (compared to other places to work), how to choose a space, what to do once you've joined a space to make the most of your newfound community, etc.

What I think most people are still a little confused about is HOW coworking is different from a typical shared office arrangement, which many businesses and freelancers already do. They may rent or share a space somewhere, but that isn't coworking.

So, why join a coworking space over any other shared space arrangement, especially when it's an extra expense? What makes it so different and new? And why should freelancers care?

One of the greatest things about coworking -- from experience here in San Francisco, CA and talking to other fellow small businesses who do coworking -- is that it gives the growing group of remote workers out there, e.g. laptop-toting telecommuters, web design shops, freelance writers/editors, other digital startups, a cohesive, but fluid community to belong to.

One big difference is that you won't see hermetic enclosures at authentic coworking spaces. It's all about sharing a space and having contact with others. Sure, there are private rooms, too, but for the most part the environment is open. Frankly, it's a completely different business model than what you see at your typical shared office suite -- and that's what makes it exciting.

For those who want to read up more on coworking and how it can really jumpstart your freelance career, there are a number of books that offer great perspectives, including:

- I'm Outta Here (one of the first tomes on coworking, a classic)

- Working in the UnOffice: A Guide to Coworking for Indie Workers, Small Businesses, and Nonprofits (focused on helping readers decide how to choose space and then how to thrive once you're in a space - features interviews with 50+ members/founders from across the U.S.)

- Coworking: How Freelancers Escape the Coffee Shop Office (written by Cohere founder and community)

- The Business of Community (written by Alex Hillman, who also runs a master class on community building and coworking space, IndyHall)

What a great idea, working from home. No more 101excuses for your late coming, stay out of office conflict, less travel expenses, run out of work clothes , no more medical certificates, the list is endless!