If you are self-employed or work remotely for your employer, working at home may suit you just fine. The solitude, the pyjamas (we’re not judging!) and the convenience. However, if you get a bit lonely and can’t ignore the household chores, then hot-desks could be a worthwhile solution.
So how does coworking space work? Many people are still unsure. If this is you, don’t worry. This blog will explain everything and we are even throwing in reviews of a number of affordable coworking spaces in Liverpool too.
What is coworking space and how does it work?
Coworking space is as it sounds, working amongst others. You simply pay a low, daily rate to use a hot desk and work in a specially adapted office environment. This is ideal for freelancers or small companies who simply do not have the funds to pay out or commit to expensive office space. There is no risk and no commitment.
A coworking space will be multi-functional. Generally, there are desk areas where you simply rock up with your laptop, pop in the Wi-Fi details and get to work! Most sites offer a kitchen area for essential coffee breaks and often breakout areas for when you need to step away.
The atmosphere and surroundings can differ greatly from one coworking space to the next. But the beauty of the hot desk arrangement is that you can choose a different office at any time. You are not tied down to any particular one coworking space.
Your surroundings can affect your pace and concentration so it is good to try out a number of sites and see which works best for you. MovingSoon spent a couple of days working from various coworking spaces in Liverpool: Avenue HQ in the heart of Liverpool’s business district, 54 St James Street based in the thriving Baltic area of town and finally, Ziferblat in St Paul’s Square. Each space had a completely different vibe and feel.
Avenue HQ coworking space in Mann Island, Liverpool
Avenue HQ is a fairly new office space located in Mann Island, Liverpool. Opening in 2017, it has already been recognised as one of the best coworking spaces in the country. Marketing Lead Adam Lowe explained how an emphasis on the social aspect and layout of the site has encouraged businesses to work together. Impressively, a staggering 70% of the businesses in Avenue HQ have collaborated on work projects.
The lively cafe at Avenue HQ
The success of the project has resulted in the development of a second site based in Leeds which is due to open in a number of weeks. If you are Leeds based, keep an eye out, it is well worth a visit.
Avenue HQ has an industrial feel. It is buzzing with activity and background music creates a soulful atmosphere.
A breakout area in Avenue HQ
There is everything you need to function here, printers, a shredder and even a 3D printer which has been supplied by Barclays Labs. Avenue HQ is in partnership with Barclays who hold regular events to assist business growth and offer networking opportunities. There is also a good social atmosphere with internal events in place for regular visitors. In addition, there are meeting rooms, a café at the entrance and a bar area which may be accountable for the high rate of collaboration between businesses.
Overall, it is vibrant and a hive of activity. If you like a lively atmosphere you will like it here.
54 St James Street coworking space at The Women’s Organisation in Liverpool
The coworking space at 54 St James Street has a very different feel. The building is more minimalist, light and airy. Again there is a café downstairs which is a great convenience and provides great cake!
54 St James Street is home to The Women’s Organisation, a Liverpool based charity which has been operating since 1996. 54 St James Street itself is a social enterprise and charity which was established in 2011 as part of the ‘WICED’ project to create a Women’s International Centre for Economic Development.
For those looking to start or grow in business, training, advice and events are offered on-site. This is delivered through the Enterprise Hub programme, which The Women’s Organisation is lead partner of. Furthermore, by using the hot desk facilities at the centre, you are contributing to the support of vulnerable women and disadvantaged communities. So, if you like to give something back to the community, you can do so simply by turning up to work.
The hot desk area feels more corporate and is a more contemplative space. This is particularly helpful if you are someone who needs a good deal of concentration. There are two new ‘stand upright’ desks which are useful if you want to stay active and work at the same time.
Hot desking area at 54 St James St
There are also plenty of breakout areas if you need to talk through any projects or take private calls, plus a beautiful rooftop terrace which is ideal in the summer months.
If you like to work in a calm, thoughtful coworking space, this could be the site for you.
Ziferblat coworking space in St Paul’s Square, Liverpool
The final place we visited was Ziferblat in St Paul’s Square, Liverpool. This area operates in a slightly different way to the other coworking spaces we have been to. Whereas you would usually pay a daily rate for a hot desk, at Ziferblat you pay for the time you spend there and nothing else.
The area is bright and quirky with teapots hanging from the ceiling and front doors in place of internal doors. At the centre, there is a large open kitchen area which is fully stocked with hot drinks, cakes, wraps and various snacks. The concept is that you help yourself to anything from the kitchen area whilst you are working and still only pay for your time. This creates a sociable ambience with people milling around topping up cups and plates. It is easy to strike up a conversation and find out who your coworking colleagues are.
There is also a large selection of good old-fashioned board games available if you need to take a break from the usual screen time.
Fun and games at Ziferblat
Ziferblat is good for the snacking freelancer who likes to mingle. You can make some serious savings if you are a serial coffee offender too.
Making a coworking space work
Firstly, getting out into a coworker space after you have been desking-it in the kitchen is liberating. It is so good to be surrounded by people and business activity. However, choosing the right shared office space to suit you will be key if you want to cowork long term.
You can also benefit by surrounding yourself with other like-minded businesses. The events and networking aspect certainly help with introductions. There is something really satisfying about being amongst a community of like-minded people, working hard and creating opportunities for themselves. To me, hots desks are definitely a freelancer must. Coworking is working.
Where can I find coworking space near me?
At the moment we have:
If you have a coworking space that you would like to list on our platform as a free trial please get in touch.