When Inc. went virtual last month, reporter Sarah Kessler knew that working from her tiny Brooklyn apartment wasn’t going to facilitate her sanity. Instead, she used the month to sample a variety of New York coworking locations, which offer community and workspace to solo workers. Here are Sarah's eight reasons why a coworking space is better than working from home or the neighborhood café.
Resorting to hourly coffee purchases might be the best way to avoid glares from café employees after you plunk yourself down for an eight-hour work day at one of their tables. But you don’t have to feel guilty about working at a coworking space. You can plug in your laptop and take that phone call without the guilt of breaking the vibe.
When an entrepreneur who was working at Hive at 55, a non-profit coworking space in lower Manhattan that is run by the downtown alliance, needed some bookkeeping help, director Daria Siegal matched him with a CPA who had also worked at the Hive. Darrell Silver, the founder of Perpetually.com, met and hired his programmer at New Work City. Coworking spaces are abound with stories of connections that led to business.
The desk chair can be a seriously under-appreciated piece of office equipment unless you are forced to leave it behind. Coworking allows you to enjoy desk chairs (with wheels and back support!) as well as enough desk room to spread out all of your computer equipment, papers, and work utensils. At Hive at 55, once you stake out a spot on a desk, you’re welcome to leave your things there overnight so that you can pick up right where you left off in the morning. New Work City another coworking space in Manhattan, provides lockers to full-time members in order to facilitate a similar concept. The workspace at In Good Company, a coworking space for female entrepreneurs, is pictured above.
You could drag yourself to after-work networking events, speakers, and conferences. Or, you could meet dozens of people with interesting projects by simply working alongside them during the day, as pictured here at New Work City. Several spaces even have community organizers, who are responsible for knowing everybody’s business and making introductions between people who might be able to help each other.
After overhearing a discussion about an exceptional sandwich place near Coworking Brooklyn, which resides in The Change You Want to See art gallery (pictured above), I asked where it was. Instead of relating the cross-streets, my coworkers invited me to lunch with them. I not only had the scoop on the best lunch spot in the area, but somebody to eat with. I found similar sanity-preserving chit-chat happening around communal coffee troughs and printers at all of the spaces I visited.
Although you might be comfortable working from your tiny apartment kitchen, it’s hardly a place that you’d like to invite clients. Belonging to a coworking space often includes access to conference rooms, which can lend some credibility to your business meetings. The Hive at 55 has a conference room that seats 12 people around a table and has a projector. Try pulling that off in your kitchen.
You may be the sole employee of your company, but with coworking, you can still enjoy the benefits of being surrounded by people who are doing similar work. Coworking spaces are developing for just about every niche: The Metropolitan Exchange in Brooklyn caters specifically to architects, urban planners, and industrial designers; Green Space Manhattan hosts sustainable small businesses; Cubes & Crayons in San Francisco combines coworking and childcare; and In Good Company in New York (pictured above) was started by a pair of consultants to serve the needs of female entrepreneurs.
Most coworking spaces host events and seminars that appeal to their members. In Good Company, for instance, offers monthly talks with successful female entrepreneurs, four-session classes on case study growth strategies, and expert panels on specific business topics. New Work City has hosted events ranging from “How to Start a Cupcake Business” to a hackathon that developed a new technology to help the recovery effort in Haiti. –Sarah Kessler