Coworking Offices Abuzz With Independent Workers
Starbucks may have become America’s other office, but coworking offices — where people can rent a desk are popping up around the nation.
Working solo has its rewards. Still, we crave connections with other people. Which explains the rise of the coworking space, where “laptopreneurs” can drop in for a desk, a wireless connection, a productive atmosphere — perhaps even some collaboration. The idea took root around 2004, and a recent count tallied around 800 such spaces worldwide, 350 in the U.S.
A seemingly urban phenomenon, coworking is now in small towns like Beacon, New York, population 15,500, 60 miles north of Manhattan. In 2009, Scott Tillitt, a Brooklyn transplant, opened Beahive there. About 20 people at any given time — mostly newcomers to the area — pay to maintain relationships ranging from “community member” ($20 a month gets one day’s use), up to “resident desk” ($240 a month, 24/7 access, a dedicated perch and locker), or even “resident studio” (private space, higher price).
Every week, there is a “members’ lunch,” where people share the challenges of working independently. Frequent bonding events include film screenings, game nights, art shows, and benefit parties. “We’re more than a physical space to work,” the website declares.