For many small business owners, our homes are not only places where we relax and raise families, they are also where we run our businesses from. It can be a lonely place if you spend a lot of time in your home without spending time with other people. It can be overwhelming or stressful if your office is also your dining table, where your kids do their homework, or if you’re sharing office space with a spouse working at home. This is where coworking comes in!
What is coworking?
Coworking is when you have a group of freelancers or business owners sharing working space. Everyone is working on their own projects, but there’s an opportunity to chat and share ideas, network and problem solve with each other.
As an employee of an organisation, up until a couple of years ago, I spent most of my hours in a shared office. Even though I didn’t work closely with other people in the office, it was nice to just be around other people. Since the pandemic hit the world in 2020, I have been working at home as an employee, and also as a small business owner. In total, I probably spend around 25 hours per week at a desk. In my ‘day job’, I get interaction with colleagues through virtual meetings and I can phone or message them to share ideas and solve problems. But as a small business owner, it’s just me on my own, so i value the face-to-face engagement that coworking can bring!
Where can you cowork?
In short, anywhere where you can get a gathering of people! In cities, there are dedicated coworking offices where people can book a desk and have access to facilities such as photocopiers or meeting rooms. In towns or villages, someone might set up a flexible space so business owners can work and chat together (and that’s what I’m setting up… keep reading if you are a local business owner in Caithness!)
What can you work on?
Anything to do with the day-to-day running of your business, that you would work on either on a laptop, or pen and paper. Think along the lines of:
- creating or planning social media content
- email newsletter writing
- organising your business finances
- updating your website
- scheduling social posts
- customer research
- sorting and responding to emails or messages
- setting up new systems or processes
- ordering equipment or supplies for your business
- if you’re a service business, tasks for your clients
…the list is endless!
What are the benefits of coworking?
There are lots of benefits to coworking, here are just a few:
- Coworking can create physical distance between home and work – If you participate in coworking outside of the home then you won’t be distracted by tasks needing to get done. On the flip side, if you are productive working on your business outside of the home, it can be easier to switch off from work when you get home
- Coworking can create a community. It allows face-to-face contact with your business peers meaning you can swap advice and encouragement, and help problem solve your fellow business owners.
- Coworking is often cheaper than leasing a desk in an office, and more flexible.
- If there’s wifi at the coworking venue, and you use cloud-based storage systems like Google drive or OneDrive, you don’t need to be chained to your home office.
How can I join in coworking?
I’ve done a quick bit of research into coworking facilities available in Scotland (please do contact individual venues before visiting):
The Scottish Coworking Network has set up coworking rooms across 5 libraries in Scotland. While the SCN website says that due to Covid all locations are currently closed, you can contact SCN by email to join their waitlist. The rates are pretty good (£35/£50 pm +VAT) and you can access the coworking room at any time during library opening hours.
Wasps Studios in Inverness and Perth offer hotdesking spaces.
And finally, co-working is here in Caithness! I’ve set up a fortnightly (ish) term time Coworking club, based at the Pulteneytown People’s Project. The PPP (Huddart Street, Wick) has free wifi, and takes place on the following dates between August-October 2023:
- Thursday 24th August 09:30-11;30
- Mon 4th September 1:30-3:30
- Thursday 14th September 09:30-11:30
- Monday 25th September 1:30-3:30
- Thursday 5th October 09:30-11:30
- Monday 23rd October 1:30 – 3:30
The entry ‘fee’ is a donation to the PPP for self serve soup, drinks or snacks, or a purchase from the Starbucks machine. All are welcome and it’s on a drop-in basis so you can stay for however long you like. If you’re interested in attending or have any questions, please drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or DM me on Instagram or Facebook!
The A Highland Blend coworking club is the most northerly mainland group in Scotland, according to this hub map!