While coworking was once the bastion of tech hubs in places like San Francisco and Austin, TX, it is experiencing a global boom, and with the opening of The Yard at Lincoln Square has for the first time reached the Upper West Side. In the last several years the demand for coworking space has expanded beyond tech and now encompasses a range of industries, from marketing to architecture to writing.
Coworking is like traditional office space for non-traditional businesses. People who might have left a big firm and gone out on their own to start a company or do consulting work from their house or a Starbucks can now rent desks and offices month-to-month in a larger space shared with dozens or hundreds of businesses like themselves. These spaces have shared conference rooms, shared lounges, glass offices, networking events and opportunities, and free coffee by the gallon.
Shawn Hood, who runs an early-stage startup, explained the benefits of coworking at The Yard said: “We need the amenities of a real office (meeting space, bathrooms, kitchen, proximity to public transportation, etc.) without the costs and commitments of a traditional office lease,” he explained. “We want to fail cheaply if it comes to that, and have enough capital and flexibility to try again until we succeed. That would be a troubling proposition if we were stuck in a multiyear commercial lease. I would probably be working from home and coffee shops were I not in a coworking space, which is not ideal when you’re trying to meet prospective clients and investors.”
Many see the breakdown of the traditional office space as the next domino falling in the numerous industries (like music, journalism, and taxis) which have been disrupted by the ease of today’s technology. According to Deskmag’s Global Coworking Survey, 71 percent of participants reported a boost in creativity since joining a coworking space, while 62 percent said their standard of work had improved.
“We know how people feel about their neighborhoods, especially the Upper West Side is such a great neighborhood. There really is no reason to take a subway into midtown anymore,” The Yard co-founder, Morris Levy said. “Between having a collaborative workspace, your cellphone and your laptop, why leave the neighborhood?”
The Upper West Side location is the fourth Yard space to open, and Levy added that another perk of the space is that members from any other of the locations (NoMad, Lower East Side and Williamsburg) can use
conference room space in the other locations or pop in to work for an afternoon if they’re in that part of town.
Another benefit of shared office space is the collaborative environment it fosters. Lawyers, publicists, coders, and advertisers working in the same space get to know each other. These face-to-face relationships can lead to business partnerships or just casual help for friends.
“The Yard has a wonderful friendly, supportive and collaborative environment,” Laurie Marshall of the trademark law firm, Marshall Law Group said. “I am even able to use some of the other professionals to help in a pinch. For instance, I was trying to figure out how to locate something on the internet and one of the Web professionals found the information for me. We want to be affordable to the entrepreneur and small business (offering them low cost flat-fee rates) and by using a coworking space like the Yard, we are able to keep our costs and expenses to a minimum.”
No one knows what the future of coworking looks like, but small businesses around the world more and more often see it as a maximally efficient allocation of resources. Between 2012 and 2013, coworking memberships increased by 117%. In the same way that the “share economy” has revolutionized many business sectors, coworking may do the same for office space.
Learn more: www.workattheyard.com