Not long ago, saying you rented a coworking space might garner a raised eyebrow or two. Why would anyone want to return to an office when they could work from home? But the rapid rise of telecommuters and contract jobs has proven otherwise: Independent workers still crave the structure of an office.
As coworking evolves, watch for these three new trends.
Far-reaching coworking networks
Coworking spaces have a reputation for catering to slick startups based in hipster-heavy metropolises. But the fact of the matter is, coworking spaces attract a wide range of people, including part-time consultants and corporate types who spent decades as cubicle dwellers. And while you’re still more likely to find coworking spaces in major cities, plenty of suburban workers want the same benefits of a dedicated workspace, without the city commutes, explainsMiriam Christof of Boston-based Workbar.
Hence the rise of coworking networks like Workbar’s that that ascribe to the “hub and spokes” model. Workbar offers large dynamic coworking spaces, or “hubs,” in Boston, Cambridge and Union, as well as smaller “spokes” outside of Boston, often tied to parterships with universities or businesses. For instance, a new Workbarparternship wtih Staples gives workers in surburbia access to a local workspace(and a copy center).
Similiar to some Silicon Valley tech companies that offer all sorts of on-site amenties so employees have fewer reasons to leave, posh coworking spaces are branding themselves not just as places to park a laptop, but as a lifestyle.
At coworking behemothWeWork,exercise and yoga classes, massages and wellness sessions, plus personal services like monthly on-site haircuts afford busy professional the luxury of bringing the outside in.Purified water, craft coffee, discounts on Citibikes, Zipcars, and even cracked iPhone screen repair make this the all-inclusive resport of coworking spaces. If this is too much to process, there’s ameditation room in some WeWork locations. With desks starting at $500/month, members might need a moment of Zen.
Along those lines, Brooklyn’sIndustriousoffers members high-end chocolate from Mast Bros., chips from McClures, bagels from Bergen Bagel, beer from Six Point Brewery and pastries from the tony Colson Patisserie. If gourment treats don’t satisfy your craving for luxury, then try the space’s relaxation room or third floor speakeasy and terrace. Oh, and there are also kegerators.
Setting boundaries between work and life is difficult, especially when you’re your own boss. No wonder so many coworking spaces are offering community building and support networks.
Coworking spaceBat Hausin Bushwick, for instance, takes the chillax ethos to a new level with their happy hours and weekly drink’n’draw events featuring a nude model. They alsosponsor gatherings from nonprofit organizations, such as a meeting on human trafficking awareness and activist-oriented film screenings (they recently showed a documentary about foster families and children).Oh, and they also host weddings, baby showers and seasonal flea markets on the weekend (another new trend, perhaps?)
Nearly all the spaces we looked at have some element of wellness involved, but one of our favorites (and least expected) is a payment option to give you peace of mind. For those on a budget, Bat Haus offers a membership discount in exchange for working a front desk shift for half day each week.