Our Review of the Best in Coworking Workspace
What is Coworking?
BLANKSPACES defines coworking as a “style of work that involves a shared working environment, often an office…”, workbar or hot desk “…and independent activity.”
How has Workspace been Reinvented?
Coworking spaces cultivate community environments that offer their members opportunities to mix with other creative people, generally upholding the belief that together we can create greater things than we could individually. For example, SHARED describes its community as a “creative play space – space to think, space to experiment, and space to collaborate.”
Benefits of Coworking
The advantages of renting co-working space are numerous indeed: we all know that launching a business can be risky and costly but thanks to the evolution of coworking, incubating startups can significantly reduce business overhead. More established companies seeking to offset office space costs might consider shared office space solutions and rent out underutilized and expensive square footage to seedling start-ups, entrepreneurs or freelancers. For both local and mobile freelancers – one of the biggest advantages of e-lancing is the ability to perform work in boundless virtual office space. However, in traveling regularly as a sort of “transient e-lancer,” a problem presents itself – the necessity for a slew of drop-in, temporary workspace.
While there is no silver bullet to satisfy all the needs of a freelancer on the go, the wisest choice would be to consider coworking space on an hourly, daily, or monthly basis; in some cases the capital outlay may be equal to the expense of a “venti, sugar-free, non-fat, vanilla soy, triple shot, no foam, extra hot, latte” and a bagel at Starbucks. Moreover, by coworking you’re guaranteed to secure a good workspace near an open electrical outlet. Workspace sharing is not a new concept. In truth, there are multiple shared coworking spaces popping up in nearly every major city in the world. This mindset allows coworking community providers to lease commercial real estate and rent out hot desks, conference rooms, private offices, and event space to bootstrappers, entrepreneurs, and individuals simply seeking a commitment-free workplace away from home to keep themselves on task. In fact, some of the well-known “Airbnbs” of coworking or shared workspace that have a global presence are Sharedesk, Regus, Davinci Meeting Rooms, and Desktime.
As a freelancer and long time student myself, I’ve compiled a list of tidbits and advice regarding the subject of coworking, categorized by popular cities and a number of coworking providers that continue to reinterpret workspace.
In San Francisco, it would be wise to start your search with the address you plan on commuting from, then find a location to rent that affords minimal commuting distance and is best purposed to suit the nature of your work. Single desk rentals range from about $15 – $20 a day. But if you have additional team members, say a four to six person team, and plan on remaining in San Francisco for an extended period of time, a team table would be a smarter option. These average $1,000 to $1,5000 per month. A good “bonus” feature offered by a number of coworking providers is access to dedicated conference rooms. Some even house event spaces that can accommodate up to 150 people for a reasonable fee. Who knows, maybe you’ll discover the likes of Timothy Ferris, Brian Chesky, or Travis Kalanick at one of the free in-house networking events! You’re sure to find exactly what you’re looking at SHARED, Hatch Today, SpherePad, or Sandbox Suites. Most of these locations are either SOMA or in Union Square and North Beach.
Chances are slim to none that you’ll find office space in LA to share with Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David. (I think I might be the only person in the world that would love to share an office with Larry David.) A simple search in Google will give you a list of all the companies that offer coworking space in the City of Angels. One place in particular that stands out among the search results is BLANKSPACES, they offer the usual coworking amenities (wifi, coffee, desk, chair, kitchen, and communal lounge space) but you’ll also gain access to their in-house offerings like informal PitchFests and hack nights where you might garner some community coding support on a tech glitch that has you befuddled. Prices to rent a desk usually range $20 – $50 per day. And by all means, avoid sharing office space with the likes of Kanye West; those golden plated conference tables and crystal fountains are expensive overhead!
If you know where to look, there are certainly cheap coworking spaces available in Chicago, typically geared towards teams of around four people. These shouldn’t run you any more than $450 per month! And you’ll definitely want to find a nice warm office to work in, especially during those frigid winter months, when the cold air from Lake Michigan chills you to your very bones. Check out Grind, they tout their workspace as the 22nd century platform and the antidote to offices.
NEW YORK CITY
Finding shared office space in NYC all depends on which borough you plan to couch surf in. According to the Council for Community and Economic Research, the top ten most expensive cities list include Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn. Bearing this in mind, it’s fair to ascertain the expenses in setting up your virtual office in these boroughs will likely be considerably higher. Hot desk rates are about $15 per hour. Monthly rates are typically the most economical and usually range from $400 to upwards of $1,400 per month. TimeOut New York Magazine raved that Ensemble Coworking Space is “…one of NYC’s coolest coworking spaces.”
Coworking workspace in Hotlanta is exceptionally unique. Open space is limited. While this is bad news for those of you hoping to share office space with Rick Grimes, Daryl Dixon, and Michonne, there is still hope. Semi private office space for a four-person team will cost you around $650 a month. More expensive options are available and run upwards of $1,200 a month for a private office. One of the most exciting coworking options in Atlanta is the Opportunity Hub on Peachtree Street, at the intersection of Innovation, Culture, and Capital – located downtown. For $200 a month you’ll have access to a hot desk or workbar, and additional services like startup mentoring, courses, and special events that are sure to propel your business. Plus they are a self-described coworking ecosystem. Assuming you’re in need of both a hot desk and a place to crash, preferably among innovators, techies, geeks, and creatives, you must try the GeniusCorps Hacker Hostel. To work and live in this brilliant community will set you back about $1200 per month for a private room or $650 per month for a quad room.
International Coworking Locations in the More Sought After Cities
In the City of Light, the cheapest space available is through Citizen Box. It’s located on Rue Des Poissonniers in the 18th arrondisement and a half day rental is a steal at €8, nearly the same cost as a diet coke on Le Grand Boulevard! Alternatively, you could rent a desk monthly in a more expensive district for €500, but you might be financially better off sticking to the cheaper districts and paying that same rate for 4 desks as opposed to 1.
London literally has hundreds of coworking spaces available for rent. If you’re an avid royal-watcher maybe you’ll be lucky enough to rub elbows while hot desking with one of the Queen’s 30 godchildren. Fixed desks generally cost £20 per day, or if you prefer to save some cash, rent the days in bulk for a cool £250 per month.
Should you find yourself in Ottawa, Canada’s capital city, give The Code Factory a try; it’s only $15 CAD + HST for a full day. Ian Graham operates this place and as an entrepreneur himself, he enjoys working with creative talents striving to rocket their businesses. Who knows, perhaps he’ll come by and offer you a 15-minute free mentoring session. Alternatively, Hub Ottawa offers desk rentals for 30 CAD per day. The other option available is from Concourse Gate, Nepean with a desk rental rate of 500 CAD per month.
In the event you plan on heading further South to Toronto, you won’t be disappointed with the fair number of coworking choices available. One option, through Agile Offices, is to rent a desk at 5 CAD an hour. But if you have a team to think about, you’re better off to rent a group of desks for a monthly outlay of 1,400 CAD.
Rent a hot desk in beautiful Madrid for 15€ a day. Monthly rental rates are an alternative and generally range from €150 to €275 for a fixed desk rental. Refer to Desktime or ShareDesk for endless coworking possibilities in Madrid.
If you have decided to seek shared office space looking out across the awe-inspiring skyline of Hong Kong, your cheapest option is renting a fixed desk for about 180 HKD to 300 HKD per day. There are also private offices that offer the more introverted workers seclusion at a higher rate of 4,000 HKD to upwards of 6,000 HKD per month.
It is a well-known fact Tokyo is one of the most expensive cities in the world in terms of living expenses, so tread these waters lightly! It should come as no surprise that exclusive corporate offices can run up to 10,000,000 JYP (nearly $98,000) just for a single month’s rent! For cheaper alternatives it would be wise to look into coworking spaces. You can rent a hot desk in Tokyo for 1,000 JPY (about $10) a day, clearly a much more cost effective option.
The cheapest hot desk rental in the world may very well be found in Taipei at The Launch Pad, located in the Nangang District. A hot desk by the hour will set you back roughly $.02 – what a bargain!
As you’ve observed, a plethora of coworking possibilities are available in most major cities. We’ve literally just skimmed the tip of the iceberg in this article, touching upon a small selection of locations and contrasting a minute percentage of actual coworking rental rates. In the event you’re globetrotting and in a pinch, a safe bet is to use one of the “Airbnbs” of shared office solutions and coworking space: ShareDesk, Desktime, Regus, and Davinci Meeting Rooms. We’ve expounded on this topic in great detail, but now the ball is in your hands to follow through and make a slam dunk decision on your next coworking rental! Best of luck to you!