GigaOM’s Ki Mae Heussner takes an exhaustive look at the New York City coworking scene that had Hessner visiting 12 different spaces over two days. They ranged in price from $300 to $650 a month with each being evaluated on various criteria. Here’s what Heussner looked for and found value in at each location.
1) Private spaces. An often overlooked issue with the open floor plans that make coworking spaces cost effective for the owners is that there’s nowhere to take a private phone call. Got a confidential call with an investor? Or even just dislike being on the phone in a quite but crowded room? Coworking spaces with side rooms for private chats are a big plus.
2) Community perks. Some spaces included community building activities like yoga classes, talks from entrepreneurs, happy hours and weekly classes. These types of perks often require program directors to arrange them, but they can be instrumental in keeping you going through the inevitable ups and downs of working independently.
3) Your peers. Time and again stories are told of coworkers who met their collaborators or business partners at coworking spaces. Finding a coworking space with like-minded folks who can add value to your projects is a big plus. This is why I think we’re going to see more and more themed coworking spaces that focus on design or mobile or cleantech ventures.
4) Hours and entry. Entrepreneurs often work crazy hours and may need access to their coworking space at odd hours. Some spaces balance this need with the need for security much better than others.
Coworking continues to grow as the number of employees working remotely at least once a month has grown and with half of companies now providing “virtual work options.” More and more, we’ll be looking at a distributed workforce and coworking spaces and I expect coworking spaces won’t just be for freelancers, but will be utilized by people who work for large companies but want a remote option.