Once upon a time it was crystal clear what someone meant when s/he said “I’m going into the office.” or “Let’s set up a meeting.” More than likely, that office was going to be a physical space located near multiple other offices. Meetings more often than not would take place in these offices.
Fast forward to the present and we are seeing a global rise in alternative offices. One popular option that freelancers and companies alike are flocking to are coworking spaces. According to Coworking Resources, by the end of 2019, there will be over 21,000 coworking spaces worldwide. Bella Lifestyle founder, Sarah Sandford (IG @bellalifestyle7) shares that she feels like she’s “at work” and that “it’s better for [her] focus to get out” and use a coworking space.
How does one possibly choose from the plethora of options? With most co-working spaces offering private and shared spaces, it’s important for members to know what they’re getting when they sign up for membership. If you’re looking to create content, the newly opened Innovative Entrepreneurs Hub (IG @innovativeentrepreneurshub) in Los Angeles, boasts a green screen that may support you. WeWork (IG @wework), the world’s leading coworking space provider, is known for its abundance of shared space and soundproof alcoves for those needing to take a call, conduct a meeting online or record a podcast. These are some of the very things Global Career Consultant Chizzy Igbokwe (IG @thisisChizzy) cites as being essential for her when determining where she will cowork.
An important aspect of a coworking space that has created exposure for businesses and networking opportunities for members are the events. WeWork consistently showcases its members’ products by hosting happy hours, workshops and more. The younger competitor on the scene is CommonGrounds Workspace (IG @commmongroundshq). Their Long Beach, CA location routinely partners with the city and their workshops keep the small business owner in mind. They also have a coffee shop located in their space, where local residents can come in as well.
In real estate, it is customary to hear that location is everything. The same holds true for the coworking industry. If you’re unsure of where to go or which location will suit you, there are options. In the US, Deskpass (IG @deskpass) offers a free 30-day trial to over 250 spaces in Chicago, NYC, LA, Austin, San Francisco, Denver, Boston, and Miami. Another affordable option is to join a Coworking Meetup group. Depending on the Meetup, you may be able to visit different spaces and events for free or USD$5.
We set out to hear from different entrepreneurs and companies to hear what their firsthand experience has been. Serena Kyle (IG @afimidys) picks WeWork as her favorite coworking space. She enjoys a “new atmosphere and change of scene”, although she “would love more diverse settings and [to] have more options outside the city.”
Whether traveling for personal or professional reasons, Libryia Jones (IG @wanderwomaninc) has explored spaces around the world. After traveling the world for a year and continuing to provide opportunities for others to work remotely through her company Wanderist Life (IG @wanderistlife), she recommends Paper Hub (FB @paperhub) in Prague, Workshop 17 (FB @workshop17) in Cape Town, WeWork in Atlanta & Desktop (IG @workatdesktop) in Kennesaw, GA.
Woman are carving out their space in this industry as well. One LA resident Rashunda Rene (IG @rashundarene) saw the value in coworking spaces, such that she decided to open her own space @innovativeentrepreneurshub. As a local business woman, she “wanted to provide an affordable resource for entrepreneurs who needed a place to work to be productive and creative.” She has been bringing in community members to provide workshops around marketing, government contracting and profit strategy.
National company, The Riveter (IG @theriveter), whose tagline is “Built by Women, For Everyone” provides spaces in Austin, Seattle and LA, with Dallas coming soon. Having visited the Marina del Rey, CA location for a workshop, the open design definitely draws you in. Their programming has included political watch parties, morning yoga flow & speed networking breakfast.
The Wing (IG the.wing) is a company whose mission is the professional, civic, social, and economic advancement of women through community. With its London location set to open in Summer 2019, it will become an international space designed for women. Some of the amenities include a women-focused lending library, pump rooms and showers with robes & slippers.
It is clear that there are multiple options to consider when choosing a coworking space. If you are leaning towards becoming a member, scope out various locations and see what best fits your needs. If you are constantly on the road, then WeWork will more than likely support you best, given its presence across the US and in 33 countries globally. If you stay in the same area, then a locally owned space may be more in line with your needs.
Whatever your decision, may you feel inspired, productive and supported.