My biggest fear when setting up Making Moves London was the loneliness that comes with being self employed. I
My biggest fear when setting up Making Moves London was the loneliness that comes with being self employed. I often thought of how I would deal with being cocooned in a traditional style serviced office, in a small boxy style partitioned room with only my computer and phone for company. The hotel style corridors, the ‘communal’ tea points and the lack of identity were all really unattractive.
The other option was to sit in my pants all day and again cocoon myself in my flat in Dalston. Neither of these options were particularly attractive and I therefore needed to find a suitable alternative.
So, my new business is all about advising occupiers on their office moves in Central London. I therefore felt it was important to investigate the various property solutions available to my clients. My own office search became an exercise to assist my clients. Perfect!
So the options appeared to be: bedroom, serviced office, co-working or share an office with mates .
One of the most attractive options to me as a new startup was co-working. A brief and high level explanation of co working would be to imagine an open plan office floor full of bench desking, open plan meeting rooms, Skype rooms, bean bags and kitchen areas. Sounds like a fairly normal conventional office, with the only difference being that every desk or group of desks is occupied by different companies. To put this into perspective, in the co working environment I currently reside in, I have an app developer to my left, a music publisher to my right and an internet based music streaming service behind me.
It’s great to be able to meet people from various different backgrounds and industries all of which have taken the brave step of setting up their own business. You can feel the nervous energy in the room as everyone frantically pushes on to try and make their business work, but also feel the camaraderie as people use the open plan break out areas and kitchen points to talk to other companies on the floor about their troubles and woes. It’s a little like an informal group counselling session for the world of new entrepreneurs.
There are of course negatives. My business involves a fair amount of time on the phone. The quiet coders and computer based companies do sometimes raise an eyebrow after my quick succession of calls in a short period of time.
There are also the larger companies of 6-8 people who tend to see the floor as their own office and can become a little dominating.
We also have the same issues as every other office. The office temperature, windows open or closed, remembering to keep the door closed for security and who left that smelly fish in the fridge?
But, all in all my experience has been a positive one. I feel comfortable inviting clients and peers within my market to the space. Having recently started the process of interviewing, the office environment has also been very attractive to potential employees. This tied in with the low cost per month has allowed me to work in a smart and impressive office at a fraction of the price of other solutions available within the market.
I am sure it will not work for everyone and once companies reach a certain size, confidentiality and the desire to have their own front door could rule this out as an option. However, for a young start-up business who wants to be around like minded people then co-working cannot be ignored. Its certainly getting the best out of me and having experienced this environment, I have no concerns about recommending this as an option to my clients.