More on co-working

coworking A couple weeks ago I posted about WorkSpace in Vancouver, and suggested it would be good to have something similar in Edmonton. Clearly I’m not the only one, as there were quite a few comments on both that post and Twitter. Cam posted a link to Edmonton’s Beans and Boardrooms, which while not quite the same concept, looks interesting.

Last week Sharon sent me this Globe and Mail article on Citizen Space in San Francisco:

Sebastien Provencher takes the bus into San Francisco for another day at the office. At the third-floor loft of Citizen Space, he sits at a desk, fires up his laptop and gets to work.

This type of service, known as co-working, lets travellers like Provencher rent a desk in a communal setting. Once mainly the province of tech-oriented freelancers, co-working centres are attracting a broader spectrum of consultants and small-business people in search of space to work – and network – on the road.

Citizen Space and WorkSpace sound very similar. The most interesting part of the article is found near the end:

Today, there are co-working sites across the country that welcome out-of-town visitors, including others in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Thunder Bay; others in Calgary, Guelph, Ont., and Halifax are in various stages of development.

And not surprisingly, given their appeal to jet setters, co-working sites are establishing global connections. The Hub, which is scheduled to open this fall in Halifax, will be linked to 13 sites worldwide including space in London, Amsterdam, Tel Aviv and Sao Paulo. Members of one site will get privileges at the other spaces.

You can check out The Hub Halifax here (and their excellent links page here). Being connected to other sites around the world would be good for travellers, but I think WorkSpace and The Hub probably have very different clientele for the most part.

Apparently WorkSpace and Citizen Space are trying to form a similar network. I think that makes sense. As more and more similar spaces crop up, those connections will become really valuable.

I’m curious to know what’s going on Calgary – anyone have any information?

Who knows if or when something will get going here in Edmonton, but at least we know there are existing resources and people to tap into for help.

Edmonton could use a place like WorkSpace

A few years ago I started reading about shared workspaces. In particular, I was interested in what Boris Mann started calling The Innovation Commons – a place for “creatives” to gather and feed off one another. These are physical places, with tables and chairs and Internet connections. They are perfect for programmers, designers, mobile workers, and others who don’t necessarily need office space of their own. I love the concept, and I am happy to see it catching on in a number of places. In Toronto, there’s the Centre for Social Innovation and in Vancouver, there’s WorkSpace. I took some time to visit WorkSpace when I was there a couple weeks ago.

WorkSpaceWorkSpace

Located at 21 Water Street in Gastown, WorkSpace is in a historic and unique area of Vancouver. It’s fourth floor view of the harbour is quite impressive. Sharon and I met Dane Brown, who gave us a quick tour and let us explore the place for a bit. There are small offices that can be used for breakout rooms, a larger meeting room, and lots of open space with tables and chairs. There are also private offices available, and a small cafe at the front. WorkSpace is even equipped with a shower!

Instead of renting space as you would in a traditional office building environment, WorkSpace is membership-based. For $95 per month, you can use the space after 4:30pm on weekdays and all day Saturday and Sunday. The rates go up from there. Full-time access costs $495 per month, and the private desks cost $595 per month. There are also drop-in prices available, starting at $25 for half a day. WorkSpace currently has about 70 members.

I think Edmonton could definitely use something like WorkSpace. Dickson and I originally got an office for Paramagnus because we knew that being in the same room together often has a really positive effect. We ended up getting rid of the office because we didn’t need it all the time, and it got to be too expensive. WorkSpace would have given us the best of both worlds.

There are lots of interesting, creative people in Edmonton working from their bedrooms and basements. Opportunities to connect are somewhat rare though, limited to events like BarCamp. I can’t even begin to imagine how positive something like WorkSpace would be!

I know I’d be a paying member if we had something like WorkSpace in Edmonton. What do you think? Would you find such a facility useful?