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Co-working spaces: Collaboration, communication and community

The ability to set your own hours, pursue projects you’re truly passionate about and maintain meaningful client relationships – if these seem like key ingredients in the sauce of self-employed success, you’re not alone.
AvenueHQ, Liverpool co-working space
As IPSE and the IPA’s latest research report released last week - ‘Working Well for Yourself’ - confirms, these are the factors freelancers said are more likely to lead to higher levels of satisfaction.   

But while escaping the rat race and being able to work from home are some of the main attractions of self-employment, isolation can act as a drag on satisfaction.

For many people, co-working spaces are the perfect antidote to this, which is why one of the key recommendations of the report – which focusses on what ‘good self-employment’ looks like – is to promote them and make their business model more viable.

Co-working spaces allow the self-employed and freelancers to operate in an office-like environment generally on an as-needs, flexible basis – and without any of the politics or costly overheads.

According to Adam Lowe from AvenueHQ, Liverpool, this year’s IPSE Co-Working Space of the Year, the sense of community fostered by such spaces can be a powerful tool in combatting social isolation and improving mental health.      

“As a member of a co-working space, you should never feel isolated. You quickly become part of a community of brilliant and dynamic individuals - your adopted colleagues,” Adam says.

“Avenue HQ aims to provide the perfect destination for companies, individuals, and entrepreneurs to work and meet.

“The way we work is changing, and now more than ever we’re seeing the impact of environment and working style on employees and their performance.”

And the benefits aren’t just restricted to freelancers.

 “We have a community of thriving businesses within our spaces, from large to emerging companies, and we enable them to focus purely on their business and how they can achieve their goals.

“We see constant collaboration and communication between members, which is encouraged but never forced, with many members working together on projects, or enjoying social and business events.”

One way to support the self-employed, the report says, is for the Government to promote and explore the benefits of incentivising more co-working spaces and co-operatives (consortiums where groups of individuals share costs and pay into a collective pool to share risks like holiday pay).

“Every day we see the benefits of the self-employed choosing to work within co-working spaces; not only does it encourage collaboration between members, but allows self-employed professionals to gain a support network of like-minded individuals,” Adam continues.

“A good co-working space not only provides a space and community for people to work in, but aims to understand the needs of each business within its space - and how it can enable them to achieve their goals.”

Meet the author

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Chris Piggot-McKellar

Head of Press and PR