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Ask DN: Experience with coworking spaces?

6 years ago from , Design/Development @ Twilio.

I'm curious to know what percentage of the DN community are members of a coworking space and what your experience has been like. Would you recommend it for a freelance web designer?

16 comments

  • Aaron GrandoAaron Grando, 6 years ago (edited 6 years ago )

    Coworking is great. But you only get out of it what you put into it. Make an effort to talk to your fellow members and be a good citizen; you'll have a good time. It beats working at home, for sure.

    Also, some advice: beware the office that focus more on it's profits than its community. There's a few red flags for this:

    1. Photo galleries on their website with empty desks / no people. You're "coworking" instead of "renting an office" for a reason (people).

    2. The website offers "Desk rates" instead of memberships. That implies that you as a member are responsible for just your desk and not the overall health of the community and the office.

    3. Angling towards startups instead of independent workers. That's a short-term cash strategy; it doesn't promote longtime community membership. If the startup succeeds, which everyone hopes they do, inevitably they will outgrow the office and leave. Startups also tend to have an insular "culture" which just doesn't jive with a big open community.

    Provenance: I'm an honorary lifetime member at Indy Hall in Philadelphia and am currently working at Crush Studio in Manhattan. I've worked at a couple of less-than-stellar spots in NYC, too, which sorta gives me some perspective.

    4 points
  • Alice PhieuAlice Phieu, 6 years ago (edited 6 years ago )

    I've had good and bad experience. It depends on the size of the space and what kind of people work there. My last coworking space had a lot of people and random drop-ins.. it was distracting and not for me. My current coworking space is smaller (6 members) and it's great. Everyone here is an illustrator except for me. It would be nice to have some graphic/web designers here that I can collaborate or share resources with : \

    2 points
    • Jamie Wilson, 6 years ago

      I agree. But at the same time, I bet all those illustrators are potential clients too :) That's what I'm running into here. A lot of photographers, and they all need help with design. I might have to start teaching classes or something.

      1 point
      • Alice PhieuAlice Phieu, 6 years ago

        That's true. One of our previous members runs an e-commerce agency that I now work for :)

        0 points
  • Chris DChris D, 6 years ago

    Totally love it. Desktime is what I've used in the past to find spaces, has never let me down.

    1 point
  • Jordan IsipJordan Isip, 6 years ago

    I've been working out of a few different co-working spaces over the past few years and have had mostly great experiences. However, before you sign up, I'd strongly recommend you ask for a day or two trail run. Go during the middle of the week to increase the chance of seeing the most amount of people in the office. Make sure the noise level is at a comfortable level and you like the people in the office. Most co-working spaces offer the same stuff, the thing that will change the most is the actual people there. It's most beneficial to everyone if you can collaborate at some level or bounce ideas with others in the office.

    1 point
  • Andy Johnson, 6 years ago

    Probably depends on the space, but I've had great experiences with coworking. Most places let you try it out with only a monthly commitment, so not much to lose by giving it a go!

    1 point
  • Kyle LKyle L, 6 years ago

    I totally would recommend it if you don't want to be stuck at home all day and you want a place to go into work!

    I started one with a couple of friends, we decided to keep it small so it's like working with a tight nit group. We have an 800 sq/ft studio with 8 people. It works out great, everyone has a FT desk and if you don't want to be bothered you just put your earbuds in, in our space this essentially means I am closing my office door leave me alone.

    If you thrive around others, or you just want a better separation from life/work then I would recommend finding one.

    0 points
    • Jamie Wilson, 6 years ago

      Yea. So at WELD, where I've just started working, our policy is:

      1. Both earbuds = Do Not Disturb
      2. One earbud = Make it Quick
      3. No earbuds = totally available to talk
      0 points
  • Joseph LemmonsJoseph Lemmons, 6 years ago (edited 6 years ago )

    I have been at a local co-work space for the past (nearly) month. I joined because I needed to have more social interaction and frankly, I was tired of my house. This space is only a year old and is steadily growing. There are copywriters, developers, social media experts, designers, conference organizers, project managers... I'm sure I'm missing others.

    It is truly about community and what the owners are doing to help promote that sense. So Aaron is right, you do indeed get back what you put into it. Relish in the fact that you can communicate freely AND have your head-down, hoodie-drawn, private days. Just don't have too many of either one lol.

    Most co-work spots should have a trial period that you can sign up for. Go for a month, see what it's all about. Utilize the resources, talk to the people. Work at odd hours. The only way you'll know for sure about your particular space in your community is to try it out.

    If the people behind the place are genuine, the space should be as well.

    EDITED TO INCLUDE I've been in attendance of events and meet ups at this co-work for their entire first year, so I've gotten to know members and owners very well, which is what prompted me to become a member.

    0 points
  • Arden de Raaij, 6 years ago

    Personally I've been very distracted in places where others were in a different business. I've found it to be very important to have people around you that are in the same kind of mindset.

    0 points
    • Kyle LKyle L, 6 years ago

      Yes having other developers/designers co-located is key.

      0 points