The promotion of productivity, the flexibility of time, savings, and the possibility of generating networking are the main advantages that freelancers see when coworking in these spaces. For some years now, there has been a trend among entrepreneurs to use shared offices to carry out their work, a preference that is emerging to be the future of professionals. According to the forecast of the Global Coworking Unconference Conference (GCUC), by 2022 there are expected to be more than 30 thousand coworking spaces worldwide, and about 5.1 million professionals working in these sites.
In Mexico, an important group that uses these spaces is the freelancers. According to the 2019 Workana Report, in the last year the independents who choose coworking as their main place of work went from 6% to 15.2%, that is, more than one million freelancers are moving to shared spaces to work. Their main motivations include comfort, flexibility, and adjustment to independent schedules, budgets, and the need for concentration.
"For freelancers, the use of coworking is attractive because it offers the flexibility they are looking for. Freelancers have a deep-rooted culture of freedom, and being able to come to the office only for a few hours a week, without paying a full month's rent, is of great value to them," says Guillermo Bracciaforte, co-founder of Workana. The report also reveals that freelancers work from multiple sites, but working from home is their preferred option, noted by 75.4% of respondents. However, only 16.9% said that their home is the only space where they work, as most also go to libraries, cafeterias, and shared offices when they need more concentration.
"An advantage of this type of workspace is that it increases productivity. Their design and atmosphere promote higher levels of concentration among users without sacrificing comfort. With this, freelancers put aside the multiple distractions they can find at home and focus 100% on their project," adds Bracciaforte.
Another benefit of these sites is the possibility of building working relationships between entrepreneurs from different areas. "The difference between working from home to doing it from a coworking office is reflected mainly in the daily coexistence between colleagues, which drives the creation of new projects because through a talk they can explore how to collaborate among them," says Jorge Acevedo, director and founder of The Place, a coworking space in Mexico City.
Savings are also an important element that self-employed workers take into account when choosing a coworking place to work. The payment of electricity, internet, cleaning, coffee, water, and printing are operating expenses that are covered by the membership of these spaces, which is a good investment in the short term. In this way, cafeterias are also postulated as working points offering these services (except printing), and in fact, 24.5% of freelancers state that they use this place as an office.
The supply of these spaces has also increased, and among them, there is a wide range of services that meet the needs of the independent worker or SMEs, who also work from these sites. At least in Mexico City, there is an offer of more than 100 shared spaces to work, and in total Mexico has more than 300 spaces, according to the Coworker platform. More and more freelancers take the initiative to work from a coworking space, either full-time or for a few hours a week. It should be noted that this trend does not only exist among entrepreneurs, as in recent years some areas and corporate teams of great renown and size, such as Uber, Coca-Cola, and Lala, work from a shared office.