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The many benefits of attending a coworking group

Coworking groups are popping up all over the UK. What are they and why do so many find them beneficial?

By Nicki Cawood

Nicki Cawood is a Yorkshire-based freelance copywriter and founder of the Thirsk Coworking Group.

Coworking is the latest big thing in the freelance world. Anyone working from home, be it part of an employed role or even a student, may benefit. Coworking is all about working alongside like-minded individuals rather than staring at your home office wall or talking to yourself as you and your laptop hide out in the corner of a coffee shop, alone.

What is coworking

There are two main types of coworking. Coworking which involves paying for a desk somewhere, enabling you to freelance with the perks of an office-like set-up and coworkers for company. A second type is a coworking group and these look a little different.

Coworking groups are popping up all over the UK. These are informal gatherings of laptop-toting professionals looking for somewhere to work that is away from home, alongside like-minded individuals. These aren’t networking events, these are pockets of time where you can gain a little accountability from those around you and enjoy the benefits of coworking.

The benefits of coworking

Coworking groups work because they offer pretty much everything you might miss from being in a workplace. The camaraderie, collaboration, accountability and motivation. Working for yourself can be isolating and so working alongside others gives you a chance to enjoy the things you miss about being part of a team.

When you are working from home and procrastination starts to creep in the lure of Netflix can sometimes be too much. As if by magic your laundry pile suddenly becomes an urgent task that can’t wait another minute. You can’t do that when at a coworking group session. Everyone else is working so you work. It’s amazing how many tasks you can complete when everyone else is hard at it.

Another benefit that makes coworking groups so attractive is that they are often free, or very low cost.

Set up your own coworking group

As a freelance copywriter of over thirteen years, I have fallen into the working from home rut before. For me moving my laptop to the library or my favourite coffee shop has always done the trick. It occurred to me that with the rise in the number of freelancers, flexible workers and business owners that there was bound to be others feeling isolated. With this in mind, I set up The Thirsk Coworking Group, initially mirroring a “Jelly UK” coworking style then taking it one step further. From January 2020 there will be free weekly coworking group sessions spread across three different locations.

Setting up a coworking group is fairly easy. Find a venue with decent WIFI and a good table/chairs set-up, advertise it, speak to interested parties and before you know it you’ll have regular coworkers alongside those who pop in from time to time. It may be advantageous to attend a few other coworking groups first to see what does work and what doesn’t.

Coworking groups – the gift that keeps on giving

As well as the practical aspect of helping people to get through their to-do list, attending a coworking group offers a stepping stone up to networking for those who find the leap a little too high. It enables you to build relationships with other freelancers and business owners in the area. It saves you money too. If you don’t get out from time to time and have to stare at that office wallpaper any longer you are going to start to hate it and have to redecorate.

If you are in the Thirsk area you’d be more than welcome to come to the coworking group here. Otherwise, look up Jelly UK who offer numerous free coworking group sessions around the UK, research groups in your area or consider setting up your own.

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