shared space, in the form of co-working and cohousing, is going mainstream. greater efficiency and lower costs are helping the trend. but is a better bottom line the biggest benefit? turns out the value’s in the people as much as the purse strings.
I am writing this while sitting at workbar boston, located across from south station. workbar is a co-working space. users get access to office amenities like internet connectivity, meeting rooms and free coffee. however, there’s no lease – workbar-ites use the space on an as needed basis, paying by the day or the month.
say you are a freelance writer with boston clients. locations like workbar (downtown) and tech superpowers (back bay) let you establish an office for the day – a place where you can pull in, plug in and be productive before or between meetings.
here’s some video of the workbar space. crank it up; I tend to mumble.
a january 2010 article in mass high tech highlights lists similar operations around boston and cambridge. the article correctly notes that co-working spaces are valuable not just for the growing army of freelance consultants, but as a way for startups to establish a presence outside their founder’s living rooms.
share-ity begins at home?
speaking of living rooms, my co-working experience follows on the heels of a globe article about cohousing I saw yesterday. full disclosure: I’ve spent most of my life since the age of 14 or so in various living arrangements involving people who were previously unknown to me. or maybe I’m secretly super social. but I have always found the idea of cohousing appealing. especially since with co-housing, you don’t have to worry about (or be) that roommate who never replaces the toilet paper or the half & half. you get your own place. but you also get a community, with the benefits and responsibilities that entails.
yes, sharing space can save you money. if you don’t need a printer or conference room around the clock, doesn’t it make sense to share? a couple of times a year you throw a dinner party for 30 or 40 buddies. do you need a big-ass kitchen and great room the rest of the time? it seems that it also saves some sanity. the people quoted in the globe article and the co-working writeups describe community as the greatest benefit, outweighing any cost savings that might accrue.
are you a co-worker or co-houser? would you be if you had the chance?
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- WorkBar Boston (jeffsnotes.com)