Alternatives to Coworking Spaces

6 months ago
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Coworking spaces are becoming increasingly popular around the UK, but what alternative options are there for those who don’t suit a co-work space environment?

The first ever coworking space was opened in San Francisco in 2005 by programmer Brad Neuberg who wanted to create a work space that was more sociable than a business centre where workers could also be more productive than if they worked at home. Since then, these work spaces have popped up all around the world, allowing remote workers, freelancers and employees of various different companies to work alongside one another. 

There are a wide variety of advantages of coworking spaces, such as saving costs, providing networking opportunities and more. But coworking spaces are not for everyone; some may find that they’re less productive in a coworking environment or others may need a little more peace and quiet while working (which is difficult to come by in such busy surroundings). This is why we’ve compiled a list of the best alternatives to coworking spaces to help you find a work environment that’s right for you.

7 Alternatives to Coworking Spaces 

1. “Renting a desk”

If you work alone (you’re self-employed, a freelancer or work remotely) there are lots of companies who now offer desks for rent. Simply get in touch with local businesses and ask if they can offer you a desk to rent. Even if they’re not advertising, they may have office space available, and if they do, it’s likely that they’ll be happy for someone to take up spare space – particularly if it means another source of income for them!

Pros: Office environment, meet new people, access to wifi, save money, not having to commit to a long-term lease.

Cons: Getting used to another workplace’s atmosphere, lack of control over surroundings, lack of privacy.

2. Serviced office

A serviced office is similar to a co-working space except you’ll have your own separate facilities – usually an entire floor – to yourself. Serviced offices come with everything you may need while working, making them ideal for startup businesses who may not currently be able to afford to rent a workplace and pay for overheads themselves. These types of workspaces are often mutually beneficial, as they allow companies to rent out spare space in their building. 

Pros: Not having to commit to a long-term lease, saves money (in the short-term), saves having to buy your own equipment, access to wifi. 

Cons: Lack of customisation, may need to share facilities with others in the building, may not be cost-effective option in the long run.

3. Rent a small office space with like-minded individuals  

If you have connections with freelancers, micro businesses or people who work from home, ask around to see if they’d be interested in renting a small workplace with you. Not only would it be likely to save you all money, but it will also mean that you’re surrounded by people you know, get along with and can trust. It’s likely that a lot of people in a similar line of work to you will be all in the same boat in terms of struggling to find a suitable alternative coworking space! 

Pros: Work with similar people, save money, surrounded by people you know, access to your own wifi

Cons: Might end up working alongside competitors, have to rely on others to keep up with rent payments, may be distracting.

4. Create your own office space

This one sounds like a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to be. If you have an outbuilding, garage or know of some land for sale close to where you live, why not do it yourself? Working from home can be a real challenge, whether you find it difficult to stay focussed, keep your work and home life separate or just need a change of scenery. Creating your own office space will provide you with the freedom to personalise your work environment and differentiate your professional life and your personal life, without having to be too far away from home either. 

Pros: Personalise your own surroundings, limit distractions (maybe), save money in the long run, access to your own wifi, flexibility, no commute time. 

Cons: A lot of hard work and costs to set up, could be lonely, less networking opportunities. 

5. Hourly spaces

Renting an office space by the hour can increase your productivity levels massively. Think about it, you’re paying an average of around £5 an hour to use a space to do work – you might as well get a lot done! 

Pros: Potential increase in productivity, flexibility, not having to commit to a long-term lease, access to facilities and wifi. 

Cons: Lack of customisation, lack of privacy, may not be cost effective in the long run, may be distracting. 

6. The trusty coffee shop 

In the UK, business people tend to be somewhat commonplace in coffee shops, cafes and eateries. Working from coffee shops has its benefits; not having to pay rent or bills, a change of scenery, combating loneliness that often comes with working from home, etc. But this work environment also has its drawbacks as an alternative to a coworking space. Coffee shops are often noisey, distracting and very public places to be, not to mention the patchy wifi that’s often provided and the frequent pressure to buy caffeine and sugar-filled drinks and snacks. This style of workplace works for some, but is probably not the best full-time office replacement. 

Pros: Good for meetings, free (ish), convenient, flexible.  

Cons: Not a permanent solution, limited privacy, can be noisy, limited facilities and wifi, not customisation.    

7. The local library

Working at a library is a great idea for those wanting some guaranteed peace and quiet so they can knuckle down and get their tasks done. What’s more, it saves money. Who’d say no to free wifi, no overhead costs and access to free resources? Although, there are some disadvantages of this work environment. Let’s say you need to take a business call, fancy a snack, need to speak to a client face to face, need a private network to work on.. Sorry, but not in the library you don’t. These restrictions can make working from a library a little less suitable than a permanent workplace, but that’s not to say they don’t come in useful every now and again! 

Pros: Free wifi, access to resources, quiet atmosphere, differentiates home and work life, no overhead costs.  

Cons: No food or drink allowed, public wifi, can’t make calls/hold meetings, lack of privacy. 

We hope this guide for alternative coworking spaces has given you some ideas for future workplaces you may not have considered trying out!  

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