Written by The Brew – an official Calmer partner.
In the first of our new blog series with Calmer, we delve into what you can expect from a coworking space and how it can benefit your mental health.
What is a coworking space?
A coworking office space is an alternative to traditional serviced office or home office. They are designed for use by independent workers, freelancers and small business owners.
Businesses choose coworking spaces so that they can access equipment, office space and services that they would not be able to afford otherwise.
Coworking providers such as The Brew take care of the operational aspects of the office including the facilities, internet, utilities, health and safety, refreshments, training and seminars, and even wellbeing workshops and social events. This ensures companies can focus on what matters most to them i.e. leading on the day-to-day running of their business.
Companies, freelancers, and any workers within a coworking environment are often referred to as ‘members’ as their participation in the space goes beyond merely using a desk or sitting in an office - they enjoy exclusive members’ benefits, services and opportunities to network with like-minded individuals and businesses.
What are the main features of a coworking space?
What you can expect from a coworking space will very much depend on the provider, but at The Brew, we offer our members the following features:
Café with member discounts
Free workshops and social events
And we’re pet friendly!
Hotdesking, open-plan coworking and private office space options
Free use of meeting rooms
Private phone booths
Superfast, reliable Wi-Fi
Member perks such as Fruit Mondays and free weekly Elevenses
Printing, copying and scanning facilities
How can a coworking space benefit your mental health?
At The Brew, our coworking spaces provide a sanctuary from the hectivity of London life, our purpose is to make your life easier, a plug and play environment so you can get your work done. As there are lots of different job roles working in coworking spaces, we have looked at the four most common, and we have identified the key benefits that coworking environments offer to support mental wellbeing.
The Business Owner
One of the best benefits a coworking space can provide is peace of mind for Business Owners. Coworking spaces employ Community Managers to manage all the office facilities which means Business Owners don’t need to deal with the additional workload of running the day-to-day operations of their office.
Coworking saves on budgets too, as there is no need to hire an Office Manager to deal with these issues – leaving more money to be invested in other parts of the business.
So, whether it’s replacing lightbulbs, making sure there is enough tea, coffee and milk in, setting up new team members on the printer, arranging cool perks to motivate the team or organising team building activities… whatever it is, no matter how small, big or unusual - these ‘Office Manager’-style tasks can, for the business owner, take up too much headspace and add unnecessary time pressures. But in a coworking space, all this responsibility is with the Community Managers, leaving the owner to focus on implementing their business strategies.
The HR Manager
At The Brew, we’ve noticed it can be difficult for small businesses to have the time to research, understand and manage HR activities which, increasingly, also includes implementing wellbeing initiatives. In small businesses, the role of HR and its associated tasks are often split amongst team members or delegated to someone who does not have the experience to manage issues effectively, and this can add extra workload and stress for those responsible.
So, HR activities, unless dealing with immediate staffing concerns, are often put on the backburner. However, in the long run this can have an effect on the mental wellbeing of your team and ultimately this can impact on business performance.
Some coworking offices provide additional HR support services for the benefit of its members, for example, at The Brew we offer 1-2-1 HR sessions. At such sessions, you or a nominated team member can ask questions, have issues dealt with and be given advice on a whole range of HR topics from how to create your employee handbook, to dealing with difficult conversations to sense checking your new benefits packages and everything in between.
The Brew also facilitates wellbeing workshops, social events, exercise activities and useful articles to provide additional wellbeing support for members.
The Team Member
Employees within a small business can suffer from increased stress levels due to the added pressure of performing multiple tasks or fulfilling additional roles to their normal daily job responsibilities. In a coworking space, Community Managers can relieve many of these duties and free up your team members so they can do more important tasks for your business.
Also, within small businesses, workers may find they are the only ones tasked with doing a particular role. For example, there may be only one Sales Manager or Finance Manager within the business, which means they lack a peer group to sense check, bounce ideas off and be inspired by.
Working in a shared office means there are plenty of opportunities to network and meet people in other businesses who are doing similar roles. Being able to communicate, seek support and see that someone is experiences the same challenges can take a huge weight off team members’ shoulders.
Working from home traditionally has been seen as a ‘cushy gig’; feet up, cosy pyjamas, telly on and doing work whenever you want. In reality, working from home can not only be isolating but it can be additionally stressful if you have family members to look after, housework piling up, or no-one to speak to. Even if you have identified coworking as a solution to help you be more productive or less lonely, most coworking memberships are out of reach for freelancer budgets.
Hot desking memberships have been designed with freelancers in mind as they offer access to a desk and chair for a certain number of hours a month. So if you’re looking to hot desk in London, our top tip is to take a low-cost membership, that gives you a reasonable amount of hours per month access; offers useful benefits, for example you might want to use their address for work post so that you can protect your residential details; and most importantly, ensure it’s cancellable at any time so that you’re not tied into a long contract.
Choosing the right hot-desking partner can help you discover new contacts, new clients and new friends and it can give you better work/life balance because you are able to more effectively separate work from home.
Come along to our upcoming event
Calmer is running a “Looking After Yourself and Others Workshop” on Friday 26th April, 10am-2pm at The Brew Coffice at 163 City Road, Shoreditch. No matter what size your business, this workshop can help equip you with the tools that will help support your wellbeing at work and ensure that you and your team put self-care at the top of the agenda.
There will be a follow-up workshop on Wednesday 22nd May, 10am-2pm, which is exclusive to attendees of the April session.
The workshops are open to non-members and places are limited. Click here to book your place.
About The Brew by rent24
The Brew by rent24 provides co-working spaces and private offices in London for teams of 1-100 people. At The Brew, meeting rooms always free and superfast, reliable internet in a friendly & welcoming atmosphere is standard.
We also offer social events, educational business seminars designed to enhance business growth and a curation of wellness workshops and content to support work/life balance and mentally healthy workplaces.
We recently announced exciting expansion plans that are powered by global co-working provider, rent24. As a result, Brew members now have access to over 50 co-working spaces around the world, including Berlin, Amsterdam, Chicago, Moscow, New York and Tel Aviv. And that’s just for starters, as there’ll be more than 185 global locations worldwide by 2020.