Coworking Spaces: For Getting Out of Your Apartment and Working on the Move

coworkingSince I first heard of it, I’ve been really interested in the idea of coworking spaces. Until about a year ago, I’d never even heard of it (and maybe you still haven’t either). The basic idea behind coworking is that it’s an office with desks and other spaces for working, except other people, running their own businesses, share the space with you. It’s ideal if you want to spend less money on office space, try working someplace else other than your apartment or home, or want to meet, talk, and collaborate with other entrepreneurs.

I was excited to learn that there’s not one, but TWO (The Grove and The Bourse) coworking spaces in New Haven (it’s a small city, so having 2 of anything is pretty amazing). The Grove is only one year old, and they’re already expanding.

Better than the local cafe

“Why not just work at a coffee shop?” you might ask. First off, coworking offers a much more comfortable space. After all, these spaces are geared towards getting work done rather than selling coffee and pastries. Typically, you get a real desk (and not some funky setup at a cafe) plus the internet is more reliable because so many people are really depending on to do work. I’m not sure about internet speeds, but I would bet that you’re better off in the coworking space than the coffee shop in most cases. You also won’t have to keep buying coffees to stay at coworking spaces. In fact, most provide complimentary coffee and sometimes food, too. Plus, you can actually talk to others that are working in the same space. This is the area that I’m least sure about in terms of how it would benefit me, but it has great upside potential and would probably help me more than I think it would. The local spaces offer different events for members to learn different skills (like social media). Most coworking spaces are open 24 hours, which makes them accessible at any time, too.

What’s it cost?

Coworking spaces are far from free, but can still be a good value. For 24/7 access, the two spaces in New Haven cost $197 and $250. There are also part-time options for about $75 for 50 hours a month, which is probably what I would consider for myself right now. I think if I was going to consider coffee shopping it, the coworking space would still be a good deal at about $1.50 an hour instead of spending money on coffees and drinks for 50 hours of cafe time!

Workspace for the traveler

Another aspect of coworking that gets me excited: there’s an international network of coworking spaces! It’s called Coworking Visa, and there are 30 U.S. states and about 90 countries listed with spaces. Basically the deal is that if you belong to a coworking space in your hometown, you can use any other coworking space on the Visa list for 3 days (and sometimes longer) at no charge. This is really cool if you’re traveling somewhere for a short period and need a space to work in temporarily. There are many awesome coworking spaces around the U.S., and I could definitely see myself using this when I visit Boston and want to stay past a weekend. Of course, if you plan to stay longer than 3 days, you’ll need to work something else out. Most coworking spaces have a variety of plans, so you can simply buy a cheaper hourly membership in your destination of choice to make it worth your while.

I’m thinking of testing out a coworking space very soon. I think it will definitely help my productivity with my freelance work, plus give me the opportunity to meet others that are doing awesome things. The only reason I haven’t tried it yet is that I still have the 9-5, and the coworking spaces here have some restrictions on dropping in outside of regular business hours. Since I really want to report back to you and let you know if it’s any good, I’ll make it my goal to go in and check one of them out by year’s end!

Have you ever tried (or thought of trying) coworking?

$ $ $ $

photo by: achimh

Comments

  1. I’ve never thought about coworking spaces, as we don’t have any here.  We have incubators, which are kinda (but not really) similar, and they’re obviously attractive for the ingrained ability to easily network with other entrepreneurs.

    That said, after shopping around for an office for my business, I settled on a full office deal with a door and all.  I live in a very inexpensive part of the US, so I pay only $131 a month for 125 sq ft (tiny, but big enough) for everything–internet access, utilities, etc.  I’m in a medical building, so it’s mostly private offices for doctors and drug reps, which keeps it quiet.   

    Downsides are obvious, many of which stem from the lack of an “office visa” equivalent of the coworking visa.  At any rate, it’s a bargain and I’m pretty happy with it.

    • Wow, that sounds like a steal! Coworking makes much more sense in urban areas where you can’t find that kind of rent, of course. But it’s great to know that there are options outside of cities. Hey, if rent is that cheap, maybe you could start your own coworking space? 🙂

  2. Now that’s an awesome idea!  For those forced to work from home, but miss an office environment, this is a great substitute without the office politics!

  3. Hunter @ Financially Consumed says:

    I like the concept, and would like to try it. I think that my productivity would skyrocket in a dedicated space. The price is very reasonable too.

  4. I’ve never heard of it until now either.  I was in a shared office for a little while, where everyone had their own room, but shared the common area and receptionists.  I’m not sure how I would feel with a bunch of strangers sharing my internet connection like that, though it would at least feel more like a working environment that being home with plenty of distractions.

  5. If I ever made the transition into full-time freelance, I would absolutely go for something like this. I get absolutely no work done when left to my own devices at home. And I don’t love going to coffee shops/libraries to work because whenever I have to go to the bathroom, I have to find someone to watch my stuff, and if there’s no one around that looks trustworthy, I usually just pack up and go home. Not really efficient!

  6. I love this idea and would totally do it if I could justify the cost.  I don’t really mind working at home, so I guess I’ll just stick with my free work space for now.  One thing you I don’t think you mentioned was the use of conference rooms.  If you are meeting clients and having meetings, use of a conference room is huge when comparing it to working from home or starbucks. 

    • Oh, great point about conference rooms! Both places in New Haven offer conference space. I haven’t gotten to that point of needing it yet, so it wasn’t really on my mind.

      If you have space at home, that’s probably just as useful. I share a first-floor apartment with 2 other people, so there’s really not much space outside of our bedrooms.

  7. I found a free co-working place in the next town over.  Pretty cool. What I don’t know is how they make money… I’m thinking they have presentations from companies.  But I can’t really nail it down.

  8. I am so tempted to try a coworking space myself.  Aside from the great benefits you mention above, it’s also a fantastic way to meet like minded entrepreneurs and share ideas and help solve those every day problems that can build up when you work by yourself (e.g. how do I create a in Excel, etc).

    The only thing that holds me back is my home office is so comfy, close….and of course free!  But I do think I will venture out sometime in the next few months.

    • Yeah if you have a nice setup at home, I’m sure that’s hard to leave. It seems like a lot of spaces offer inexpensive opportunities to test them out, so maybe you can give that a shot first.

  9. Tim Webster says:

    Nice! I heard of something similar to this, but I just checked out spaces in Atlanta and I really like what I see. Dedicated desks for under $200/mo is a pretty reasonable deal and certainly solves the social aspect of working for yourself. 

    Any ideas on how to ‘interview’ the space and be sure that the environment and people are like-minded? 

Speak Your Mind

*

Read previous post:
26 Things You Should Know About Me Before Reading Anything Else I Write

I've always done my best to make this blog personal. After all, pretty much all the stories and advice on...

Close