coworking space

Coworking space is not just for hipsters who work remotely for a shipload of cash and enjoy spending it on overpriced lattes and cronuts. I’m certainly not a hipster, so I prefer instead to drink moderately priced lattes and smashed avo on toast (and no, I’m not a millennial).

As a friend pointed out to me recently, buying a coffee at a local cafe is like paying the rent to enjoy that space. Certianly cheaper than paying rent in your own commercial space and sometimes soothing to hear the world passing by while you work. With enough distance, I find traffic, whirring coffee machines and group conversations similar to white noise. Sometimes, they help me concentrate. Isn’t that odd?

Benefits of coworking space

Finding a coworking space, or an alternative space to work remotely, can benefit your business in more ways than one.

  • Focus on your work, away from your outstanding chores, and the distractions of home
  • Connect and network with like minded business owners and professionals
  • Find social connection and overcome the loneliness of working by yourself
  • Have a physical address, which makes you visible on Google maps, and in the real world
  • Access shared resources for reception, mail sorting, printing and information technology

7 spaces to work remotely

Bakeries

I know what you’re thinking. Working from a bakery might be a hard way to make some dough (seriously, I couldn’t help it). I know of at least 3 bakeries in my local area, with generous seating space, which open from about 6am. You can start your day with breakfast, coffee and a warm space to get some work done… possibly 3 hours earlier than any coworking space is likely to open.

One of the best kept secrets in Dubbo, is the mezanine level at Village Bakehouse. Below is a photo I took while working upstairs, on a day when the ground floor was a hive of activity.

Upstairs at Village Bakehouse is one of Dubbo’s best kept secrets to get work done

Hotel lobbies

Hotel, motels and shared appartments often have a comfortable lobby or business lounge for guests. They also have function rooms, which they mostly fill for evening events. So, if you want to organise a breakfast meeting or simply want a quiet space to work or connect to wi-fi, they can really accommodate.

Libraries

“Shhhh”. That’s usually the only sound you hear in libraries. They often provide access to computers, wi-fi and plenty of credible resources (and a librarian) to conduct research. Plus, libraries often have breakout or meeting rooms, you can access, in case you need to meet in a group. You can find your local library in Australia, using the link below for your state.

NSW library directory

QLD public library directory

SA locate a library

TAS local library list

VIC public libraries

WA find a library

Local cafes

As I suggested above, your rent for working in a local cafe is buying a coffee or a meal. Cafe owners are usually local business owners, so if they give you the courtesy of using their space as a coworking space or to conduct meetings, please support them.

In Dubbo, one of my favourite spaces to work is Press Cafe. There’s always nice atmosphere inside or (if you prefer) in the undercover garden area out the back. In regional NSW, our sense of personal space is bigger than people who live in heavily populated cities, so I love the fact that tables at Press have plenty of space. Also, this means more privacy, if I meet a client there.

When I travel to Sydney or metro areas, sometimes I stumble across a nice local cafe. Other times I default to a brand I know, like Starbucks or Gloria Jeans. As a side note, I watched a doccumentary about Starbucks and the fact that people often feel at ease to work remotely from there, is by design. They wanted corporate types to be seen by passers by because that helped promote the brand image they wanted.

McDonalds

Call me crazy… but a place that opens at 6am, closes at midnight, has free wi-fi, reasonable coffee and meeting rooms available should not be overlooked as a space to work remotely. Possibly not the most comfortbale space to sit long term, however, it’s a handy go to for people who travel a lot or work long hours. Nearly every McDonalds has a party room and a little known fact is, it’s empty most weekdays. So, if you need space for meetings, you can ask the manager if they will rent you the space. Sometimes they’re happy to do that in exchange for you purchaisng some lite catering from them.

A networking meeting we used to hold in the party room at McDonald’s, Dubbo.

Shared offices

Shared offices or dedicated coworking space are options for people who want somehwere to work on a more permanent or long term basis. Everyone there is working, so unlike a cafe, you don’t get the feeling “Have I been here too long?”

I love the old Telstra building in Dubbo, refurbished, and fittingly home to a coworking space called The Exchange. Whether you want to hot desk for the day, mingle with like minded entrepreneurs, hold a private meeting or lock yourself in a private office, you can do that here.

I’m also intrigued by a new shared office space for creative individuals, called Creativer. I am yet to visit that one and tell you what it’s all about.

Are you in a capital city or metropolitan area? Perhaps consider Regus, ServCorp or WeWork.

University or TAFE

Local univerities and TAFE campuses are often trying to connect students with local businesses for all sorts of purposes, including employment and mentoring opportunities. If they have a cafe, members of the public are usually welcome there. As a student, you can of course use their library, which often has great office facilities, presentation and other equipment. As a former student, you might be able to join as an alumni, which may give you access to these facilities also. Some campuses also have programs to encourage local businesses to work from their facility, so they can bridge the perceived gap between education and employment.

Challenges when you work remotely

Working from home or away can be a challenge, without the usual ties that keep you connected to your office and colleagues. If you work for yourself or have your own business, these challenges can multiply. Finding a space to work and connect with like minded entrepreneurs in the real world, is a great place to start.

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