Coworking: An idea whose time has comeReal Estate Thursday, October 13th, 2016
The Internet has changed the world. It’s made many things obsolete and others rise to the fore. Shopping malls, once an innovation, loom empty. Office buildings too. So many of us are able, thanks to our devices, to work from home, from a coffee shop or from our cars. 9 to 5 is almost history; there’s nothing to stop us from working at 4 in the morning or on weekends.
Why go to an office at all? A couple of reasons come to mind.
Though relaxing, it might get lonely sitting all day in your pajamas at home staring at a computer screen. The office at least provided an opportunity for chance encounters at the water fountain, a laugh or two in the elevator or lunch room, an afternoon flirt with a co-worker, and let’s not underestimate, the Martini lunch. And there’s something else. It’s challenging to be creative in a vacuum. Going to an office offers the opportunity to share ideas, to become inspired and to build on the suggestions of others. It makes for business opportunity. And networking.
For a fraction of the cost of renting an entire office, you can now rent a piece of an office, a desk in a shared office space that offers many other amenities: a conference room, coffee, possibly a gym or workout space, Internet, and most important of all … people, other workers to chat, interact, network and socialize with. Coworking spaces, now proliferating due to increasing demand and familiarity, offer varied membership plans, from just access to social events, for approx. $70/month to dedicated desk space at $200-$500. These relatively inexpensive office spaces provide entrepreneurs, folks just starting out, or seasoned executives an address and the basic space they need for an affordable amount. They just make sense.
In addition to the standard office environment, coworking is becoming viable for other kinds of work.
Just as they can provide conference rooms, and office equipment, industrial applications can supply and workers can share all kinds of equipment – for cooking, metal working, woodworking, 3-D printing or art making.
And coworking is great for the owners of commercial buildings too. Facing empty spaces due to the downsizing of businesses, they can now rent space to operators who subdivide, furnish and equip spaces, and then sublease them to the army of practitioners crying out for them. This is a win-win for landlord, tenant and subtenants alike.
With many coworking spaces in places one might expect, like Manhattan, taking hold, the city of San Diego has joined the bandwagon. Some simply offer space to solo members and companies for a price; others, known as incubators or accelerators offer other services to get young entrepreneurs some real mentorship and may even earn an equity stake,
Some of the San Diego firms engaged in coworking include HiveHaus, an early entry, CyberTech, Co-Merge and WeWork. A Chicago based firm, Level, has recently acquired a San Diego office building, and will offer space from about $199 to $549.
An idea whose time has come, coworking is a product of the tech environment that dominates our world. Take your Uber from your shared home to your shared office. Save money and network away.
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