Busting myths is such a fun format for blog posts, TV shows (Mythbusters anyone?) and podcasts for good reason. After seeing a few myths successfully proven wrong, you just feel smarter and more “in the know”.
So today we’re going to use this beloved structure to tackle some of the objections people have about coworking spaces. These 5 myths all can stand in the way of you finding out just how amazing coworking can be for networking and productivity, not to mention your overall health and happiness.
Let’s dive in!
Myth #1: Coworking Is Only for Freelancers, Startups, and Entrepreneurs
If you’re in your 50s or 60s, or if you work at a big corporation, you may feel a bit intimidated by coworking spaces. You might think, “Well, I’m going to walk in and stand out like a sore thumb. Everyone else will be wearing hip, distressed jeans and I’ll look ridiculous in my khakis!”
Don’t worry – even if you are what some might politely call “fashionably challenged”, there’s still a welcoming environment for you (and your khakis) at your local coworking space.
You see, coworking spaces are all about collaboration and community – which require acceptance of others in order to thrive. So even if you don’t fit into what you think the normal coworking “mold” is, rest assured that others will welcome you.
Besides, big corporations have been sending employees to coworking spaces for a few years now, and that trend is only accelerating. Large companies like Microsoft, IBM, KPMG, Braintree, Spotify, and many, many more have been jumping on the coworking train, and you can join them.
Myth #2: Coworking Spaces Are Too Noisy and Social to Get Work Done
Now that I just told you how nice your fellow coworkers will be, your next objection might be, “Well, that’s good and all – but I don’t spend my 9-5 hours trying to make friends. I’m trying to get s@#% done!”
That’s a fair objection – if people are talking, they might interrupt your work with their noise. Or worse – they might try to talk to YOU while you’re in the middle of the most strategic thinking you’ve ever done.
I have good news – you can talk as little or as much as you want at your local coworking space. The secret lies in one very useful piece of equipment: noise canceling headphones (or even just a cheap pair of comfortable earbuds).
The headphones/earbuds serve two purposes:
- They block out noise from around you. I like earbuds + the white noise generator Rainy Mood better than expensive noise canceling headphones, because they’re more portable (and cheaper).
- They send a pretty universal signal to other people saying, “I’m not in the mood to talk right now, thanks.”
Myth #3: It’s Just Like Renting an Office
Renting an office can be a smart move for a startup. If you want to have only your team present in the area where you work all day, it’s probably best to get your own space.
However, then you suffer from the following potential issues:
- People getting tired of seeing each other each day
- Boredom and potential isolation
- Lack of new people to bounce ideas off and get fresh ideas from
At a coworking space, you can have the best of both an office and a cafe environment. You have the equipment and high-speed internet of an office, with the potential for new connections and conversations that a cafe provides.
Myth #4: All Coworking Spaces Are Pretty Much the Same
Coworking spaces vary quite a bit. So, if you find that one isn’t to your taste, just try another. The “vibes”, levels of social interaction, and levels of community vary quite a bit from place to place.
For example, I live in Chiang Mai, and I can tell you that Punspace Nimman and Punspace Tha Phae are very different. Punspace Nimman is great if you want to meet some new people, have some new connections, or avoid going to the Old City of Chiang Mai. Punspace Tha Phae is great if you desire a very quiet environment, and need more space/facilities than Punspace Nimman.
I’m an introvert, so I like to avoid talking to other people during the day until I get my work done. So when I first got to Chiang Mai and tried out Punspace Nimman, I hated it. It felt too social for me and I felt like I was sitting on top of everyone.
However, when I checked out Punspace Tha Phae, I was immediately hooked. The warehouse vibe, with high ceilings and a lot of open space, made me feel very relaxed. The balcony space gave me a place to eat and chill out. And the main coworking room felt like a library in terms of noise – which suited me very well.
And these are two different branches of the same coworking space, in the same city. Imagine how different distinct companies’ spaces can be!
Myth #5: There’s No Way I Have a Coworking Space Near Me…
I used to live in Canton, Ohio, which is in the Midwest region of the United States. Since I doubt you know much about Canton, let me tell you – there’s not much of a startup scene there. When I was in Canton, I thought I coffee shops were my only option for getting work done.
However, one day a friend let me know about the OSC Tech Lab, which as only about a 25 minute drive from my house. I visited the coworking space, loved it, and started to going to local startup events and connecting with other entrepreneurs and freelancers.
While I can’t guarantee that you have a space near you, you could be very surprised – just like I was.
I Bet You Feel Smarter Already
Now that you’ve seen 5 coworking myths busted, you’re probably feeling pretty good about yourself. And you should!
Congrats, champ – now to go your local coworking space and spread that magic around.