If you are a freelancer or small business owner who is looking to take the next step and join a coworking space in Cambridge, then you came to the right place. You may be wondering what to expect when you become a member at a coworking space and how to choose the best one when there is such a wide variety of coworking spots in Cambridge. We broke down what to expect from shared office spaces, what is unique about coworking in Cambridge, and how to make the best decision for you and your small business.

What is Coworking?

Coworking offers startups, small businesses, satellite teams, and freelancers, the freedom to work in an open environment and the flexibility of having  a traditional office. Most spaces are open 24/7 for members. Shared office spaces and coworking spaces also provide some of the resources needed to get your work done. At Alley we offer printing,  office supplies, a mailing address or box, and conference rooms, and plenty of other daily necessities.

In addition to these physical perks, one of the great intangible benefits of Alley is the community. Working alone in your own home can be nice sometimes, but after a while, most people will crave the community offered in many office spaces. Coworking spaces and shared office spaces can help to fill that void with other like-minded entrepreneurs and freelancers. Most spaces will host networking events, and members will frequently interact in more open parts of the office. This is especially great for freelancers and other very small teams.

What is Unique about Coworking in Cambridge?

As the home of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge is known for having an innovative spirit. Many of the small businesses and startups who use the coworking spaces in Cambridge are intensely creative and filled with the grit that these famous universities are known for, whether or not the founders personally attended. Coworking in Cambridge will challenge you as you to network with has  many creative startups that are changing their community and the world, including a completely student-run non-profit.

How to Decide?

The innovative spirit that drives the entrepreneurs in the area has understandably led to the establishment of different places to work. Choosing coworking over a traditional office can be difficult but here are some important things to consider when making a decision about joining a coworking space.

One important consideration is location. How far is the space from your home or school? Will it be a convenient location for your teammates and clients? What restaurants and cafes are nearby? All of these things are important.

Freelancers and new startups  also need to consider the affordability of their coworking space. Most spaces have multiple different kinds of memberships (and therefore different prices). For example, Alley Cambridge offers a Weekend Warrior membership for off-business hours, a shared desk membership for small teams, a dedicated desk membership for teams that want consistency, and a private office membership for larger groups. The flexibility in different memberships and a month to month contract allows you to pick the best option for you. Small business owners will need to examine which membership best meets their needs in order to better assess the affordability of any particular membership type at any particular coworking space. Business owners and founders should also consider how often they will want to rent conference rooms, as there is often an additional rental fee associated with that. At Alley we make it easy for you to add more conference room credits when needed.

Just like regular offices, each coworking space has its own community feel. This can affect the networking an entrepreneur may do there. It’s important to make sure that you will have opportunities to meet the other people that share your space, but it’s also important to like the general atmosphere. One way to gauge this is by purchasing a day pass to a potential shared office space. For example, Alley offers day passes for $25. Visiting a prospective space for one day is a good way to see if the culture is right for you. It is also a great chance to ask other small business owners about their experience working there.

Coworking has definitely been on the rise as more people are looking to leave the constraints of traditional employment or office behind them. These spaces offer some of the benefits of traditional offices while allowing for the advantages that draw people to freelancing and small businesses in the first place. Coworking in Cambridge especially stands out for its intensely innovate spirit. While the choice of which coworking spot is right is ultimately up to you, make sure you consider a variety of factors, such as affordability, location, opportunities, and overall culture when choosing which coworking spot to join. Good luck!