Have a Work-From-Home Job? Here’s What to Look for in a Co-Working Space
Have you seen all of those work-from-home jobs we post?
You know how most of them have office requirements, even though you’re supposed to be at home? Like a quiet environment, a locking door -- aka silence with zero distractions.
Well, if you have kids or a dog(s) or, like me, a 25-year-old bird who LOVES to squawk during video calls, then you might need to work somewhere else.
That’s where co-working spaces come in.
What’s a Co-Working Space?
Co-working spaces are essentially communal business offices for solopreneurs and freelancers -- even small business teams not ready to sign long-term leases.
These spaces come in different shapes and sizes and can be rented by the hour, day or month. They all have Wi-Fi -- and usually coffee.
Some companies hiring work-from-home employees offer stipends for remote office spaces. For example, Student Loan Hero pays its remote workers up to $500 a month for a co-working space. Be sure to ask a potential employer about the option.
Our freelance-turned-full-time writer Lisa Rowan actually resides in the District of Columbia. She uses a co-working space because she’s easily distracted by the comforts of home. Think: her bed, her roommate’s cats, a pile of laundry, etc.
But why doesn’t she just visit the free library or camp out at a coffee shop?
Rowan says her co-working space is quieter than the library and more food-friendly, important for a long day of conquering to-do lists.
Plus, coffee shops can be uncomfortable -- and loud. You spend $5 on a coffee or scone, and you feel as though you’re overstaying your welcome after about two hours.
Thus, a great solution for you work-from-homers is to find a co-working space.
Why Would I Pay for a Co-Working Space?
You can find these spaces across the country -- all with varied price tags.
Rowan pays $89 a month for unlimited access (a fee she’s grandfathered into because she’s been around a while). Otherwise, it’s $129, which is still a great deal because #DCprices, she says.
However, Rowan says finding the perfect co-working space depends less on budget and more on work style. For her, the ideal space is simply quiet.
“(The space) has more of a library atmosphere instead of that of a bustling break room,” she says. “This format works fine for me because, as a writer, I don’t spend a ton of time meeting clients.”
Some co-working spaces are open for anyone -- from the freelancer to the small, sprouting startup. Others cater to niche professionals, such as designers or engineers. This can be helpful in networking and even gaining insight into your field.
How to Find the Perfect Co-Working Space
Compare finding a co-working space to finding an apartment or rental home.
Rowan recommends you always visit a space before signing a “lease.” The photos online likely show the highlights -- like the apartment’s luxury office -- and not the gritty truth.
You should also get a feel for the vibe and your “co-workers.”
“Many co-working spaces will let you stay for a few hours as a free trial visit,” Rowan says. She highly recommends this. While there, you can also ask about any specials or deals.
There are plenty of apps and websites you can use in your search, including WeWork and LiquidSpace. But Rowan recommends first reaching out to your community -- a local Facebook group or an industry-specific meetup group.
Or you can opt for the classic Google search of “co-working spaces + *your town*” -- because Google never lets you down, right?
Good luck finding your forever co-working space! Let us know if you find one that works for you!
Your Turn: How do you avoid the distractions of working from home?
Carson Kohler (@CarsonKohler) is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder. After recently completing graduate school, she focuses on saving money — and surviving the move back in with her parents.