As I traipsed through New York City’s chic Soho neighborhood last week, I was in coveting mode. I wanted the notebooks at Muji. I drooled over the beautiful sofas at Canvas. But I really fell in love with the Big Apple’s recent romance with non-traditional workspaces. A town notorious for its ridiculous rental rates and lack of spaces has somehow come up with solutions to the “where should I work problem?” that plagues freelancers across the country.
In the heart of Soho (as well as in three other spots in the city and a new building coming this summer to San Francisco) lies We Work. The locale serves as an alternative to working on your couch in your underwear or working in your local Starbucks. With monthly prices starting at $99 a month, NYC freelancers can use the office and meeting facilities of We Work like they would at a traditional office building. To conduct business in We Work’s lounge areas costs $275 a month and access to conference rooms, mail handling and high-speed Internet.
In addition, touted as “boutique office space,” WeWork:Lounge is an open area environment that hopes to inspire a collaborative and creative charged workplace. Amazingly designed and coolly decorated, the lounges look like the office of the future. Is this an idea that could only play in big, tech-savvy cities? Perhaps… but collaborative workspaces seem like the next staple for the social media generation. Not only do we market through social media, we can now work in cost-effective social type of settings. What’s more is that as a business model, collaborative workspaces fits with the trends we’re seeing nationwide in companies of all sizes. In addition to solving a common problem, new businesses like this one are creating an inviting image that makes passersby like yours truly say to themselves, “Ooh. I want one of those.”