A ‘supportive community environment’.

A ‘lifeline’.

A ‘no-brainer’.

That’s how three of our If You Ask Me contributors describe this edition’s theme of co-working.

And as Alex Swallow, The Influence Expert, says: “coworking feels very ‘now’.”

So it’s no surprise that it’s the topic for our If You Ask Me this edition, especially after the research done by one of our other contributors, Jamie Veitch, into the benefits of co-working at Union St in the city centre.

Jamie found the workspace had increased productivity, confidence and wellbeing for the businesses based there, findings which are reflected by all of our contributors.

Everyone involved in co-working, it seems, is singing from the same song sheet.

Alex lists five benefits of co-working including confidence – the very same benefit singled out by Rob King, business start-up advisor at Sheffield Hallam University’s Enterprise Team who is now based at the recently opened Hallam i-Lab, a business incubator / co-working space for students and graduates. Wellbeing is another of the benefits Rob picks out – echoing Jamie’s findings.

And while Rob says: ‘We don’t claim that the Hallam i-Lab is the most hipster incubation space out there’, it’s the concept of co-working itself that is clearly a bit of a smash hit.

Amy Milchard, one of the co-founders of Desk Space in Kelham Island, literally opens her contribution with the line: ‘Coworking is now undeniably the modern way of working.’

As someone who has worked from home before in a previous role, I can appreciate Amy’s views that it can be lonely and ‘it’s not always easy to separate life and work’. I would often find myself ‘in the zone’ writing having hit on a hot headline and some killer content and work after my allotted hours justifying it that I would have ordinarily been spending that time on the journey home.

For other people Amy and her team have spoken to, it’s quite the opposite problem with people fearing the lure of daytime tv and would mean they wouldn’t do any work! (and probably stay in their PJs).

Being based in a new office – unLTD is in what we call the Publications Hub at Speedwell Works! – I love being based in a busy, bustling workspace and I would frankly miss the banter of my unLTD colleagues if I worked from home.

Co-working does indeed seem to be the solution.

Sarah Lister is based at Desk Space and enjoying the flexibility. ‘It means that I don’t have to sit at my desk from 9-5 every day – instead I can work for a few hours and then meet with friends, go outside for creative inspiration, or attend networking events.’

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