In recent years, freelancers have experienced a significant transformation in the way we work. Work Hubs mean that gone are the days when we had to sacrifice the advantages of self-employment in exchange for the absence of co-workers.
Also known as co-working spaces or shared work spaces, Work Hubs are transforming our work culture by encouraging collaboration and enhancing productivity, as well as providing well-designed spaces that serve good coffee! In this blog, I explore the benefits of Work Hubs, share my personal experience, and provide you with some work-hub website recommendations.
Work Hubs or co-working spaces are physical offices that provide freelancers and small business owners the opportunity to work in a shared open-plan space. These spaces often come equipped with essential office amenities such as desks, chairs, meeting rooms, high-speed internet, and other facilities that facilitate work-related activities – you just need to bring your laptop. Depending on the size of the Work Hub they also usually have small meeting rooms that you can hire out.
The concept behind a work hub revolves around bringing together professionals from diverse backgrounds, providing networking opportunities, facilitating idea exchange, encouraging collaboration, and nurturing a strong sense of community.
Increased Productivity - Some people find working from home to be a distraction, especially if they don’t have a dedicated room. Work Hubs provide people with the ‘office’ feel that can help with increased productivity because these spaces are thoughtfully crafted to reduce interruptions and offer professionals an ideal setting for concentrated work.
Working from home can be isolating, using a Work Hub means that even if you prefer not to engage with many people throughout your day, the mere presence of others can help alleviate feelings of isolation.
Networking & Collaboration - Work Hubs are great places for networking and collaboration among professionals coming from diverse fields at different stages of their business development. Within this vibrant environment, opportunities for networking and potential partnerships are abundant, creating a dynamic work culture that thrives on knowledge-sharing.
Many, like ‘Jelly Southwest’ offer co-working events aimed at freelancers, digital nomads, start-ups, home workers and small business owners. They operate on set days and provide a space, usually free, for people to connect, chat and work – you don’t have to be a member of the work hub to attend. These types of events are great if you’re starting out as they can also point you in the direction of any free business support that’s on offer.
Flexible - Work Hubs distinguish themselves from traditional permanent office spaces by providing cost-effective solutions and flexible pricing options tailored to individual needs – ideal for start-ups and small businesses. The pricing structures are diverse, accommodating various preferences and usage patterns. The costs will also vary based on the hub's location and the range of amenities available.
At a Work Hub, you have the convenience of "hot desking," where you can simply arrive, pay for a desk space for the day, and utilize the facilities on offer. Additionally, some Work Hubs offer membership plans, granting access to a dedicated permanent desk or a compact office space for those who prefer a consistent working environment.
The facilities at these hubs often include communal kitchens and breakout areas as well as separate meeting rooms that can be hired. Some offer services such as printing and registered office and postal services.
Work Hub Links - Work Hubs are available all over the country and a simple Google search will bring up those near you. Companies like wework.com and spaceworks.com are private businesses that have Work Hub locations across the UK. Many councils also provide information on local work hubs like this one in Devon. If you’re interested in a particular hub, it’s a good idea to ring in advance and request a tour, some might even let you work for a couple of hours free of charge.
Having personally experienced being part of a Work Hub and taking part in Jelly Southwest networking, I can confirm how good the flexible nature of these spaces is. But what’s important here is the opportunities that Work Hubs provide for networking and collaboration for small businesses. The diverse community of professionals sharing the same space opens up endless opportunities to connect and learn from each other.