Buddy, Can You Spare a Desk?


The triplets are due any moment now, and that means so is your mother-in-law. Or your precious baby girl has just graduated from college and has no more of a clue than she did the day she started, so she wants to come home for “a while.” Or maybe you’re moving back in with mom and dad yourself…

You can kiss your home office good-bye (hopefully temporarily). So now what?

There may be co-working spaces near you, but they’re not quite as ubiquitous as Starbucks yet… You can dig (and dig and dig) through craigslist and hope it’s your lucky day and that your dream workspace will appear in the first 10 listings (because looking at any more than that is mind numbing and hazardous to your health) and that the people with the perfect space for rent that miraculously appears in listing number seven actually respond to you when you do contact them. (I have a very low tolerance for classifieds sites, can you tell?)

You can go to Regus, the slick, corporate rent-a-workspace/meeting room/virtual office people, and deal with “a representative” who will probably try to sell you a plan or a package or something. (That’s just the impression I get from looking at their site and knowing how American businesses operate… I could be wrong.)

Or… You can check out ShareYourOffice.com, a new project with a whole lot of potential. It’s a free service for people who need office space, or those who have extra space they’d like to fill with a warm, rent-paying body.

Wait! Before you say, “Not interested” and stop reading, think of this: it’s a French startup. Parisian. Which means most of the office spaces (at the moment) are in Paris. Ever dreamed of living and working in France?

Why not get outta Dodge for a month or three and rent a workspace in some gorgeous, 19th-century (or older) building with hardwood floors and crown molding on the high ceilings, curlycue iron balconies embracing every giant window… And they have fancy espresso machines in their offices here, and teensy weensy cups (like in those annoying George Clooney Nespresso commercials). No donuts on Fridays, though. No donuts period. (Small price to pay, if you ask me.)

You can search for a space using multiple criteria (number of desks, physical space, amenities, price range), and you can see your search results on a Google map. You can create an alert so you’ll receive an e-mail if something that fits your criteria comes up. Those with space to offer can provide many details, so you’ll know exactly what you’re getting. (Here’s a demo.)

The site began as bureauxapartager.com (offices to share), a project of FaberNovel, a management consulting company with their fingers in many pies. The company recently translated the site into English and kindly bought a domain name we anglophones could remember how to spell. The project came into being because the company had some extra office space and, being groovy techie webbie types, they decided to offer their space to stray geeks in need.

The idea has since grown into something very cool. They want to accumulate office space and focus on startups in need of incubator space, and plan to offer them space at a below-market rate. All in the spirit of cooperation and community that pervades the (generally) youthful and idealistic tech crowd. (I so dig all that warm fuzziness.) And, as we speak, they’re submitting a proposal to the City of Paris, which currently has plans to build 50,000 m2 of space for incubators in the city. (How sweet is that, by the way?) The bureauxapartager proposal urges the city to consider using existing space instead, by encouraging businesses to use their platform to rent their spare space to co-workers and startups.

I really like the idea of this project. I think we don’t really know what the economic storm that’s brewing will bring, and this platform could not only be a great service for web workers in need of a change of scenery, but it could also potentially help businesses pay their rent if they fall on hard times.

Help spread the word (and the grooviness)!


Office space guy

i wish that sharing offices would take off in the UK, but we seem very reluctant to do so.

Because of the British reserved nature, people will pay much more money per month to sit in a cold office of their own.

Silly really.

Barry Mazza

Thanks for mentioning SuiteMatch salesforcecollective!

While we can’t help people in Paris (yet!), we do offer listings in New York City, Chicago and San Francisco. Based on user’s feedback, we are going to expand SuiteMatch to Seattle and Austin TX next. Since we launched last year we have had a nice cross-section of industries on SuiteMatch from tech incubators to design agencies to law offices.

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