As I learned in the early months after going into business for myself in June 2010, the solitude afforded by my home office was just the refreshing and productive respite I needed after client meetings and volunteer work. That said, I did miss the collaborative aspects of a vibrant work environment — the smart people, silly jokes, and ad-hoc conversations and friendships that evolve naturally in a modern work setting.
So when I started looking into coworking, I was dismayed to find the opportunities in Washington, DC, to be lacking. Or, rather, to not be AS prevalent (or easy to get to from my home in Alexandria) as I was finding in cities like New York, San Francisco, Chicago, and even Greenville, SC.
In response to that, I actually started a Jelly, NoVaCoWork, as a test case to determine if I should more seriously pursue starting a coworking group in suburban DC. The jury’s still out for me, but the weekly event has proved since January to be a great way to bring new and familiar faces together for a few hours of social productivity.
Fortunately, the increasing interest in coworking is gaining steam, and new talk of venues in DC and beyond are seemingly popping up each week. But until then, I’ll just keep my eyes peeled for great coworking spaces wherever my adventures take me, and to that end, will be happily using any of the fantastic coworking apps in existence today. Here are a few so far:
Check it out: http://www.loosecubes.com/
- Overview: With 1,232 spaces in 271 cities (and counting), I can be sure to find a spot to meet my terms no matter how long I’m staying. From their site: “Loosecubes is a professional community that connects people who have great workspace with people who need it. So we all have a better place to work.”
- Cost: “It’s free to become a member. Pay for only what space you use. No lease, no commitment. Some spaces are free for members!”
Check it out: http://desktimeapp.com
- Overview: In Chicago, NYC, and Austin (though more cities are expected to be added), I can find day rates for desks in various office spaces around these cities. From their site: “Desktime pairs people with places to get work done.” ‘Nuff said.
- Cost: Free to use the site, then costs range by desk from day rates (as low as $10 in some cases) through weekly and monthly rates for longer stays.
Check it out: http://www.shareddesks.net
- Overview: I’m stoked to see this launch (slated for this month) because it seems committed to the idea of building people networks around desks, rather than just renting a desk for a day. I love the social aspect of coworking more than the infrastructure itself, so it sounds like this might be right up my alley, though it appears to be more international. From their site: “We are entrepreneurs ourselves. Expanding our personal social network is really important and coworking is also about this. What about being able to search for collaborators around us, in this exact moment?”
- Cost: Unknown at this point.
What coworking apps have you used to find ideal spaces?