The Co-Working Revolution: Your Office Away From Home


There’s nothing like being able to work from home. But even what so many people strive for can end up being less than ideal. I enjoy the freedom I have to work on my own schedule, however, working from home doesn’t mean you always get more time to do your work. I also find that working from home instead of in an office setting can be isolating. I am not within earshot of peers who I can bounce ideas off of or hear the latest industry developments firsthand.

I’ve been fascinated by businesses popping up around major metropolitan areas that create a shared workspace for independent workers. Imran Ali wrote about the trend of co-working spaces back in April, and I’ll be exploring the trend further as I look to set up a co-working space in my town.

Office Nomads in the Seattle area, for example, is a co-working space where workers can leave their homes to work in a shared environment. The company provides:

  • Spacious desks
  • High-speed internet access, both wifi and ethernet
  • Conference rooms
  • A kitchen
  • Unlimited network printing and faxing
  • Couches and lounging area
  • The requisite water cooler

They are also dog-friendly.

They target everyone from web designers, writers, consultants and anyone else who has portable work. Pricing ranges from $25 per day for drop-ins to a Regular membership at $375 per month or a Resident membership at $475 per month plus a deposit for a more permanent space.

Imran mentioned a co-working space in his piece called Jelly which is more like a co-working event. The concept is that you can start your own Jelly by opening up your home to other indy workers in your town. You need to provide seating and wireless internet either at your home, a wired cafe or someone’s place of business.

The Jelly wiki now has a page explaining how to hold your own Jelly event. Current Jellies take place around the globe, from Australia, Africa, and Israel to Mexico, China, Canada and the Philippines to random cities across the United States.

For ongoing information about the co-working trend as well as a list of co-working spaces, check out the Coworking Community Blog and keep your eye on WWD as I explore setting up my own Jelly in Anchorage, Alaska.

Details and photos to come.

Have you worked in a co-working space? In your mind, what are the pros and cons?


David Walker

I’ll chime in too and throw in my support for the coworking movement! Coworking in Austin has provided me so many valuable personal and professional relationships, so I’m certainly glad to see so many thriving coworking spaces out there!

For coworking in Austin you can check out a space that some friends and I opened in August:

Mike Koss

Another take on the co-working idea is StartPad, located in downtown Seattle. We’re a vertical co-working space, where all of our tenants are working on software development projects or startups. We also have business and technical lectures, support local users groups with meeting space, etc.

Prices start at $150 for a 10-day pass, and we offer private office space as well as desks in our open area.

Rachael Kitchen

I agree with Michael. Coworking spaces create amazing networking opportunities and are environments that really foster creativity. I’m currently working with BLANKSPACES in Los Angeles, and we are finding that people are hiring others within the space. BLANKSPACES has everything from conference rooms and offices to a simple “work bar” available and the open layout is really unique.

Check it out:


Jordan, I don’t think it is strange at all. In addition to the physical advantages coworking spaces have over Starbucks and Kinko’s, you will not find the collaboration and community inherent in coworking. $400 is cheap for a great place to work and a place that accelerates serendipity and provides unexpected ideas.

But then again, I’m biased.


Funny with all the coffee shops, Starbucks and Kinko’s in the area someone would pay $400 for this. Some Starbucks have closed meeting rooms.

Back in the day I knew people who always shared small offices.

Warehouse living used to be a reality in Seattle and there would be artists alongside a few other unrelated businesses or attorneys all sharing the same space.

Jelly is a good idea it’s like a hosted co-op.

Daniel Shipton

I work at and run Impromptu Studio. I have found that the biggest pros are ones that are not necessarily tangible. As a coworker, I truly feel I am part of a very special group who understands that working should and can be fun. As a space owner, the journey to open and get a coworking space off the ground is remarkable. There are days when I swear I can feel the whole city of Des Moines is buzzing about Impromptu Studio. The breadth and depth of people you will meet along the way is astounding. As David mentioned above, seek us space owners out. We have a lot to share. Reading our blogs can also gain insights into the operational aspect of running a space.

Doug Mitchell

we have a burgeoning co-working/shared space culture here in the Des Moines metro. Some enterprising peeps opened

Impromptu is building a following by offering workspace AND meeting/event/tweetup/networking space. there are others looking to open similar offerings catering to a slightly different audience in town too.

David Martorana

Oh by the way, don’t ever hesitate to talk to other coworking founders – they’re so willing to share and help out people that are trying to set up new coworking spaces or Jelly-like events (in Philadelphia, we call them “Cream Cheese” events. Duh :) )

Contact Alex Hillman (, Tony Bacigalupo ( from New Work City ( which is Manhattan coworking, or anyone else. Everyone is willing to help, because this is about community as much as it is about work.

That’s the best part.

David Martorana

I work at the coworking facility in Philadelphia called Independents Hall. It’s been pretty instrumental in setting the bar for coworking, and its founders have done an awesome job of creating a space that not only allows me to work, but to swap mind-share with some of the smartest people in the area.

The great thing about coworking is that it also builds and introduces you to a whole creative community, from artists to hacker-engineers who make really crazy stuff. It’s a brilliant model.

Check out Independents Hall or stop by if you’re ever in the Philadelphia area!

Comments are closed.