Coworking is a social work environment designed
to combat the loneliness and isolation of the home office
One modern compromise between working completely virtually and committing to a lease is working at a coworking space. These office spaces, like The Vault run by the DaVinci Institute, provide a work environment and an alternative to coffee shops for independent workers.
A recent DaVinci Institute coworking event at The Vault
Campbell McKellar discovered the value of coworking spaces when the company she worked for left their expensive traditional office and started working virtually. The move allowed her to work from anywhere, and she chose Maine. “I was trying to do work in a cottage with family members and dogs running around,” she said. “I loved being fully mobile and independent, but I also wanted to have a platform to do my work.”
LooseCubes, the company McKellar founded in May, runs a website that matches independent workers with coworking spaces and spare desks in other companies. Quite appropriately, it’s currently being run out of a coworking space. McKellar says that working from the space has helped her launch.
“Especially if you’re in a creative business, the best way to get ideas is to meet new people,” she says. “You can get stale by talking to the same five people every day.”
Coworking allows McKellar to “unintentionally network” with the other people in the space, to seek advice from other entrepreneurs, and to host meetings and work with her team at a place that isn’t her living room.
Group discussion at The Vault
On the other hand, coworking has its challenges and might not be a great fit for every company. Coworking spaces can be distracting, and most of them are set up in a way that requires people making phone calls to seek silence in the hallway. Others, like The Vault, have special places for phone calls.
“For us, quiet and privacy is very important,” Fried says. “So, coworking spaces and coffee shops don’t work for us.”
McKellar admits that on days when she’s “under the gun,” she chooses to work at home. And there is a point at which a company outgrows a coworking space. LooseCubes, for instance, plans to move to its own office space sometime in the next three months.
Packed classroom at The Vault
“The people who you surround yourself with will have a huge impact on where you’ll end up in life,” says Frey. “And it will also have a major impact on your business as well.”
As one of the larger coworking facilities in existence, The Vault has space for both working and events, with a separate classroom for their ongoing professional development class series.
“We try to do things just the opposite of traditional landlords with month-to-month memberships and no deposits instead of the long term leases with huge deposits,” says Frey. “We can’t afford to create an adversarial relationship.”
And it seems to be working well.