Coworking Rocks the Press (again)

Coworking continues growing in popularity, and demonstrates it’s “darlingness” in the press this past week with some great national coverage!  Coworking hit the big time in the Wall Street Journal as well as on NPR this week, featuring several spaces throughout the country.  Check out some of these excerpts and click on the links for full articles:

From the Wall Street Journal, New Year’s Eve Edition (with one minor error included – we do not have closed-door offices available):

For those who lack a conventional office, shared, or “coworking,” spaces promise to solve some of the dilemmas of working alone. These facilities provide environments where professional nomads can work in relative quiet and even socialize around the coffee pot, or copier.

…Both coworking spaces we tried in the techie Northwest were bigger. Seattle’s Office Nomads, located in youthful and artistic Capitol Hill, can accommodate several dozen workers with its mix of closed-door offices, open desks and lounge areas. Office Nomads didn’t require a reservation and won’t charge for the first visit. Office Nomads was well-lit, with abundant plugs and desk options.

Coworkers—as well as the site’s founders—introduced themselves and offered help. We weren’t sure if we visited on a particularly friendly day or if this was the norm. Office Nomads appeared to place an emphasis on creating a community for its members; there was a “State of the Nomads” monthly meeting at midday. A bulletin board listed in-house social options as well as visiting speakers slated to appear, and also featured quirky photos and fun facts about members. Office Nomads also offered the most extensive weekday hours, from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

And today, our friends at New Work City were featured on NPR’s Morning Edition!

New Work City is part of a trend that started a handful of years ago on the West Coast. Newly mobile tech workers with laptops liked their freedom but still missed the human interaction they got from going to an office. So they formed meet-up groups: casual, once-a-week deals at different locations — sometimes even people’s living rooms. Today, Bacigalupo says more and more people are working independently — either by choice, a layoff or both.

“The same way that [during] the last century work shifted from blue collar to white collar,” Bacigalupo says, “I think we’ll be seeing in this century, we’re going to be moving away from the idea of a centralized Monday-to-Friday, 9-to-5 workplace, and we’ll be moving much more in this direction. People will work when they want where they want.”

All in all, quite a week for coworking.  As usual, if you’ve been meaning to get yourself out to a coworking space but somehow haven’t managed to, there has never been a better time than the present.  Make yourself a 2010 resolution to get more work done and have a better time doing it and get out to your local coworking space.  Find the one near you at the Coworking Wiki.

On Offices and Libraries

When I first came into Office Nomads a little more than a year ago, I’d been working nomadically for about six months. During that time I tried working in coffee shops and libraries in an effort to get myself out of the house and, as one of our members likes to say, “put some dam pants on already.” While the strategy gave me a reason to get dressed each day, it didn’t help me get any actual work done. As a reporter, I often have to do phone interviews. In coffee shops it’s just hard to hear and in libraries, well you can’t talk on a cell phone.

That’s why one of my biggest reasons for working out of Office Nomads is being able to talk on the phone when I need to. However, phone conversations seem to be a point of concern that potential Nomads have when they come to check out the office. I think it’s because of the very open floor plan and lack of cubes here. “How is it when people are on the phone? Is it loud? Can you get work done?” they ask.

It’s a valid concern, certainly, but in my experience, it’s not one you have to worry about for two reasons. First of all, I have a hard time myself when people are talking around me and I’m trying to get work done, and I never find myself bothered at Office Nomads. Sure, people chit-chat and talk on the phone around me, but it is certainly no more distracting than being in a busy coffee shop and if it is, I can always pop in some headphones and tune it all out. I know the same is true for others.

The other reason is that all office workers deal with the ambient noise no matter what office we’re in and Office Nomads is no different, open floor plan notwithstanding. It’s no louder here than it ever was when I worked in a cube farm at a dot com in the late 90s or in a busy non-profit in the early ’00s because people are considerate. Most calls they take are short and to the point and for long ones, we all get up and find a quiet corner or a conference room to camp in for a little bit.

In the long run,  the sound of other people getting work done isn’t distracting because being around that energy is why we’re all here. After all, as Jacob says, “It’s an office, not a library.”

The picture “”tack of Phones'” was taken by Flickr user nedrichards.