Coworking, a Home Office Alternative

Published on Nov 14, 2011

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Is your apartment (or budget) too small for a home office? Maybe it's time to try coworking.

With rents at record highs in some neighborhoods, and space ALWAYS tough to come by in this town, one of the first "luxury" sacrifices you might have to make when looking for a NYC rental apartment is the home office.

And even if you don't need a separate room in your apartment for an office (though that'd be nice, of course), sometimes it's difficult just carving out enough space in your bedroom, or living room, or alcove-off-the-kitchen-room to be able to work comfortably and effectively... even if your full-time job is a work-at-home gig.

And working from home does have drawbacks... or, should we say, distractions, that can keep you from being as productive as you need to be. If you fall into any of the above situations, perhaps coworking is for you.

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Extra space in NYC rental apartments has always been at a premium. Sometimes even required extra space, like for the job that gives you income to pay the rent, is just not doable. Enter coworking, an idea that has taken off in many cities across the country, but that has proven to be especially popular here in New York.

The most recent and largest example, which was written up recently in the Wall Street Journal and seems tailor-made for young creative types and tech-ish entrepreneurs, is WeWork, located on Varick Street in the Hudson Square area and featuring more than 700 desks spread out over 74,000 square feet and loaded with the sorts of amenities--scooters, pool tables, video games--designed to reduce your Google-envy. And with leases starting at $150 a month (and rising to as much as $800), WeWork is a lot cheaper than what that second-bedroom-turned-home-office would cost you in an apartment.

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Coworking definitely offers a possible solution to the NYC rental apartment (lack of) space problem, but it's obviously important that you find the right sort of environment for you. Fortunately, there are more and more coworking spaces from which to choose in New York City these days, in neighborhoods throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn, with a few in the other boroughs and elsewhere in the tri-state area.

New Work City ("Work alongside awesome people!"), General Assembly, and Sunshine Suites (with an office coming soon to the Bronx) are among the bigger, more established outfits in town, but there are plenty more coworking outfits in various sizes, amenities packages, and general vibe, a subjective measure that can be as important (do you feel like you'd want to work near these people all day?) as the number of printers.

You'll need to do some research--ChubbyBrain's list of 23 coworking offices is a good place to start, as is The Next Web's look at the Five Coolest Coworking Spaces in NYC, and you'll find tons of information on the subject at coworking.com--and most of these businesses allow you to pay by the day until you get a feel for the culture.

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So, is coworking for you? Think about it... perhaps you can turn that home office into a walk-in closet, or second bedroom. Or you can downsize and save money on your rent. Try one that allows you to pay by the day and see how it works for you.

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