Co-Working is a great solution for lean startups and one-person scrappy startups. If you're starting from zero, you may be tempted to work out of your garage (or spare bedroom, or on the couch) but I guarantee you will be happier, more productive, and take yourself and your office more seriously if you work in an office.
That doesn't mean you have to spend $2500 a month on office space, though! Co-working is the new black, as in, everyone who's anyone in the startup world is doing it these days. Plus, sharing an office is a great way to meet other entrepreneurs, and investors. I know VCs who crawl the co-working spaces looking for viable startups to grab … er I mean, invest in. And many of these spaces have social events, too. Always a plus.
Checklist for Your Co-Working Office Search
Take this checklist with you, and make sure you address every issue on it when you look at a space. Also keep in mind that the location of your office will play a large role in the talent you end up with. If you're off in the suburbs, where the only access is by car, and there's no nearby amenities like restaurants and coffee shops, you'll have a harder time convincing the urban hipsters to join your team. Getting an office near the local public transportation hub is always a good idea.
- What I'd watch out for are restrictions on access (for instance, can you get in after business hours? on holidays?)
- Do they charge extra to use the conference room?
- In fact, how nice are the conference rooms? If you have to bring a client in, will the conference room impress or depress?
- Is there a receptionist? Does s/he know the tenents well? Or does s/he look bored and bewildered? (You want a receptionist who at the very least acts as if she knows you're working in the building.)
- Do they allow your dog?
- Are you renting a room or a desk–if a room, how many peeps can you bring in to work at any given time?
- If you're renting a room, can you decorate? Bring in your own chairs, posters, etc, so the space has your branding?
- Can you share the desk with your co-worker? (e.g. if only one of you is there at a time, it that okay?)
- How noisy is the space?
- How sound-proof are the conference rooms and telephone rooms? If you have to make a lot of calls, will you be able to do that or will everyone hear you?
- Is there a kitchen? How clean is it? Check the bathrooms, too.
- Is there a safe place for your equipment, or can anyone waltz in and take off with it? Can you lock your office when you leave? Sometimes, if you're just renting a desk, they also have places where you can lock up important things. Essential for technology startups with expensive equipment.
- Also, if you're the tech-type, is there privacy where you can talk about your next big invention without the competition across the hall ripping off your idea? Something to think about.
Now, go check out some of these co-working places I've sourced below, or find your own and add them to this list. And get off the couch already! I promise, it's worth the investment.
Co-Working Spaces – Rent an Office, Part of an Office, a Desk or Part of a Desk (Like a Timeshare)
Desk Wanted a website that matches desks to workers around the world. You can also list your available desk here. They have offices available all over the world. For instance, want to work in Lisbon? There's offices to choose from. (Of course, you have to find your own work–this is just the office.)
Coworking Wiki has an exhaustive list of coworking spaces available in every part of the work. Work in Chile? There's the Urban Station Want to work someplace else in South America? Just look it up. Also, list your space available on this wiki.
Co-Working in India
I (sadly) haven't been to any of these office spaces in India. Maybe one of my readers can tell us about them? If you check one out, please give us your review on this post. Or email it to me, and I will add it in.
Co-Working in San Francisco
NextSpace Union Square – this is a little bit like working in a giant conference room, but whatever. It's cheap, you can drop in for the day, and maybe you'll make a friend a go find a better space.
The Happiness Institute – more than just a co-working space, the Happiness Institute claims to provide flexible studio space and a thriving community to create, explore, and share their work and passions. You can tour the space anytime between 2 and 4pm every Tuesday and Thursday. (Which tells me they're more interested in getting some work done than just selling office space–a good thing!)
Open Loft Office in SoMa – I haven't checked them out myself, but from the pictures they look pretty cool, and seem to have a lot of room available.
We Work (LA, NYC too) – I've used We Work. They're very efficient, the office in San Francisco has 5 floors of glass-enclosed cubicles and looks awesome. It's jam-packed with startups, which can be good and bad. The noise is an issue since the floors are wood and the glass enclosures are not soundproof. But everyone is pretty quiet (probably because of the echo-factor). They have social events, which is really nice.
More for SF here.
Co-Working in New York City
Projective Space – Located in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, Projective focuses on consumer facing, tech startups. Some of Projective Space's in-house companies include Bespoke Post, Zokos, Indiegogo, Rentshare, among many others.
Post Road Coworking – Post Road is a new co-working space on the DUMBO waterfront in Brooklyn. The views are spectacular, the vibe is relaxed, and the space is perfect for founders, hackers, artists, freelancers, and other creators.
AAWW – a creative, collaborative loft space in Manhattan. Newly renovated and perfect for serious individuals or organizations looking for a home base. There is an access to a kitchen, microwave, two bathrooms, external area cleaning service – and possibly conference or event space rental.
QuickSuites – co-working space located in the heart of Manhattan. Tech innovators, entrepreneurs, creatives and professionals can get a private windowed office, receptionist, support services, and all the amenities that larger companies enjoy.
AlleyNYC – Located in Midtown Manhattan, AlleyNYC is a coworking space that fosters entrepreneurs, startups and all-around awesome people. Come out for a free trial week.
Space-4-Work – The newest co-working space in Manhattan, fostering a varied and vibrant community of startups and small business owners. A flexible and convenient co-working facility – newest social connectivity platform for tech-preneurs! 214 Sullivan Street, #6B (Greenwich Village)
Co-Working Across the US