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Way back ‘in the day’ small businesses, freelancers, consultants and the like would work in solitary confinement in a home office at the back of the house. They’d interact with the kettle and some morning TV but real life conversations with likeminded people were limited. Coworking changes all this and it’s the way of the future (man).

Coworking spaces in the US have increased by over 500% in the last two years and Perth is following suit – albeit in Perth’s little way. Working in isolation from home is erm, isolating and coffee shops are usually distracting. Coworking spaces provide the perfect environment for small businesses and entrepreneurs to connect. Being surrounded by both experience and a passion to succeed is inspiring. Every time I walk into the Tech Hub or Spacecubed in the heart of Perth I feel more inspired. That could also be because its surrounded by awesome coffee shops but is more likely that I’m surrounded by people experiencing similar challenges (and successes!) as Start Digital.

The value of coworking is in the relationships with other likeminded individuals and businesses, way more than the resources.

[dropcap style=dc_squared color=#34495e]T[/dropcap]he value of coworking is in the relationships. Not only the friendships you make but the business relationships. Meeting people that are as passionate about their business goals as you are about yours is invaluable. In a very short amount of time your business has access to a network that you can instantly tap into for advice. Coworking introduces you to people that have answers to the curliest of questions. We’re all facing similar challenges so the chances are someone has a solution.

As a likeminded community here at Tech Hub we’re always learning about new resources, best practices, websites and applications. We also tap into each others skills – need a photography studio or video made, see Studio Orange. Need some tech focused PR, see Shahirah at Launchcode. Similarly, as a unit we’re connected with whats happening in Perth and the Perth Startup community. Again, knowing what’s going on in your own backyard is invaluable and most definitely not something you get from sitting in your PJ’s at home.

Work on your terms......

Lets face it. Being your own boss sounds great but the reality is it’s a tough gig and staying motivated is the number one challenge. More so again if you’re doing it all solo. The benefits of coworking are pretty hard to ignore. A 2012 study by Deskmag indicated that 71% of coworking participants reported a boost in creativity whilst 62% said their standard of work had improved.

And the coworking model isn’t just for freelancers and small business. More and more we’re seeing companies measure employees by output and productivity and not just 37.5 hours a week sitting at the same desk. Five years ago ‘work/life’ balance was reserved for hipsters and small businesses looking to build a point of difference. Today it’s considered to be the norm. Businesses are realising that by providing a wide range of flexible working options they’re able to engage with their employees in a more positive, open manner – who doesn’t want that right?

Get some satisfaction

Being happy at work is a pipedream for most people and small business folk are no different. From my own experience I’ve noticed a huge increase in productivity and, amazingly I like being here – incredible hey!

There is a huge amount of research that demonstrates flexible work experiences lowers the level of work related stress and increases performance and, whilst the very definition of ‘freelancer’ says flexibility, it doesn’t mean you’re any less susceptible. Coworking is inspiring, fun, collaborative and productive. It just works and it’s quickly becoming an accepted norm. Get on board. Toot Toot.