The Entrepreneur’s Next Office
In a world of constant tweeting, texting and Facebooking, being unconnected to the world around you is almost impossible. Connectivity and networking seem to be at the top of everybody’s to-do list, and everybody and his grandmother seem to know everything about the world around them. As an entrepreneur, however, it can feel all too easy to slip into isolation during a work day. In the modern age, working at home seems to be a growing trend, but when you are stuck in the corner of the room in a sectioned off home office, it can get quite lonely. But, as a new-to-the-field entrepreneur, leasing an office elsewhere might not be a realistic goal just yet.
Have no fear! A solution is here, and in the form of another growing trend. Coworking spaces. Two simple words that should sound like salvation to all freelancers, home office workers and entrepreneurs. It is the future that offers you an option to network to your hearts content and helps you get into that loop that you have been missing out on.
So, you’ve never heard of coworking spaces before? No worries, it’s a relatively simple concept. The term ‘coworking’ was coined in 1999 by Bernie DeKoven, but wasn’t used to describe a physical place. That is until, in 2005, Brad Neuberg gave birth to the original coworking site, the Hat Factory based in San Francisco. The Hat Factory was a live/work loft that was home to three technology workers and open to public use during the day. Neuberg was also one of the founders of Citizen Space, the first “work only” coworking space and the space that gave birth to the global movement. Today, coworking is an international phenomenon that only seems to be growing, with thousands of spaces operating in the United States alone.
Home vs Away
Taking the place of the coffee shop or cafe as the entrepreneur’s office, coworking spaces were initially created and spread because they offered an alternative workspace, away from isolation or home office. Not only do coworking spaces offer a different atmosphere to work in, they hold the opportunity to network and bounce ideas off of other members of the coworking community. It’s like a giant brainstorming session, offering new ideas to you all day, everyday. “We focus in group sessions and talk about choices and other things,” said Jocelyn Ibarra, self-proclaimed ‘Chief of Happiness’ at The Coop in Chicago, IL. “It’s like a tornado of ideas and it’s amazing to experience.” With networking being a must-do in today’s world, coworking spaces offer help to the networking challenged.
Though most coworking spaces do have fees, the Coop offers desk space for twenty dollars a day, it’s worth the cost. Ibarra offers a special treat to her guests to make them feel at home. Baking in her free time, it is nothing unusual to receive a baked good most days at The Coop, said Ibarra. “I like to make our guests feel at home… It’s their personalities that help shape the place.” Depending on the space, perks like this are often offered with membership.
To the Future and Beyond
Though some criticize that coworking spaces are just a fad and nothing to take seriously, statistics seem to prove otherwise. Coworking spaces can be found in cities all over the world, numbering in the thousands. And, guess what? There is an app for that. To help spread the word of the awesomeness that is coworking, the creators of The Coop have put together an app that can help you to find a coworking space close to you. Desktime is a simple, easy to use program that gives you all the information you need to know about any space you need to know about.
“In the United States, there is so much space everywhere,” said Ibarra. Whether it be an extra desk in an office or an empty loft, you can use the space. “It’s genius,” said Ibarra. And with so much extra space available, it’s hard to see the trend slowing down.
This Space Has What?
Looking through Desktime, you can find some pretty awesome coworking spaces that make you want to travel the U.S. just for a tour.
- HeraHub: Located in San Diego, CA, this place is like combining a spa with a coworking space. Exclusively for women, HeraHub offers feminine qualities ranging from flowers and candles to chair massages.The calming, professional atmosphere is popular among the ladies, as well as the opportunity to meet and be inspired by like-minded women.
- theOffice: Based in Santa Monica, CA, this space offers coworkers a beautifully designed atmosphere full of calming elements including an indoor tree, soft colors and muted lighting. A unique garden office is also offered to those who would like to head outdoors for some fresh air.
- WorkBar: Encouraging its members to rethink the workspace, this Boston space brings together the “professionalism of an office, flexibility of a gym, and the comfort of a cafe.” It is bright and comfortable with plenty of open areas for collaboration and private spaces for those who want them. Members are also privileged to special perks, including discounts at Boston Sports Clubs, Zipcar and Grasshopper.
- COOP: As mentioned earlier, this coworking space is based in Chicago, IL. This space offers the public a fun, affordable place to work and renting by the day, week or month. Members can even enjoy awesome events including mixers, collaborative shows and breakfast lectures.
With spaces like these popping up around the world, it’s easy to see why this is a growing trend. Networking, collaboration and connectivity are key to entrepreneurs. Home offices, though still a new trend, are becoming old news. Offering all an entrepreneur needs and a bunch extra, coworking spaces seem to be here to stay and are taking the lead to be the entrepreneur’s new office.