The days of being locked at home office wearing yesterday’s clothes and having conversations with your cat are over. For many Boston professionals, the phenomenon of co-working allows young businesses to thrive in a constructive environment business without the isolation of working from home or the distraction of coffee shops.
“Because an entrepreneur needs less to run a business (a laptop and cell phone), it only makes sense to keep their overhead low, and using a shared co-working or office space is the perfect answer to that,” Oficio co-founder and managing partner Nima Yadollahpour told the Metro. “It’s economical, efficient and communal.”
Nima and her co-founder Charlie Weisman opened Oficio five years ago because they felt the neighborhood could benefit from “a space which is as comfortable as a home office, social like a coffee shop and professional as an office setting for entrepreneurs and small business owners like ourselves to work from.”
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Obviously the trend took off, seeing as a variety of other spaces have popped up in the neighborhood in the last few years. Idea Space owner Lauren VanElsander Mearn first saw the need for co-working spaces during her previous tenure in advertising. “I witnessed first-hand how many clients and freelance colleagues desired an office presence, or just an inspiring place to work, in Boston,” said VanElsander Mearn, who opened Idea Space in January of 2014. “The alternative for many entrepreneurs and independent professionals is to work out of their home, a hotel or the local Starbucks.”
And while it’s easy to imagine that co-working spaces are filled with twenty-something tech bros looking to reach Zuckerberg-level wealth, the reality is quite different. “Our members range in age from 22-72,” says Yadollahpour. “They have backgrounds in design, technology, marketing, law, real estate, etc.”
VanElsander Mearn says that not only do entrepreneurs respond positively to the co-working method, but many attribute the method as one of the reasons for their success.
“I believe your physical environment plays a significant role in how you feel about yourself and your business,” says VanElsander Mearn. “And working in a space that ‘feels right’ can be a great motivator.”
“I've just never been the person who can hole up in a basement and feel good at the end of the day,” says Senofer Mendoza, who runs Mendoza Design with her husband at Oficio. “I wasn't expecting to enjoy it there so much. I was expecting it to feel more like hot-desking, but the atmosphere is really supportive and non-competitive.”
For many who work in co-operative spaces, the office often serves as a social environment as well as a professional one. At LearnLaunch Campus, which focuses on the educational technology community, the vibrant community helps bring everyone together.
“Because we work with so many start-ups working long and often odd hours, the social component - or blowing off steam - is highly prevalent,” says LearnLaunch Managing Director Liam Pisano. “And quite honestly, fun to be around.”
Where to co-work
30 Newbury St. 3rd Floor
129 Newbury St. 4th Floor
867 Boylston St., 5th Floor
31 St James Ave. #920