A Crash Course in Coworking: The Beginners Guide to Office of the Future

In my first post I toyed with the idea of coworking and the future of office work, while going into some of the basic details. However a cursory viewing of this revolutionary phenomenon wasn’t enough for me. As an individual now involved in the coworking world I needed a better understanding of the environment that I am now a part of. In an attempt to further educate myself and the community, I went forward and researched what it really means to work at a coworking space, with what options and norms you will generally see.

First and foremost, when you join a coworking space you will almost always be asked to sign up for a membership plan. This aspect, however mundane, is actually one of the most unique features of modern coworking. Flexibility in coworking spaces is really important; most spaces make a point of stressing how flexible coworking can be. As such, most coworking spaces offer month to month memberships, rarely with any upfront costs or deposits.

While all coworking spaces are rather similar in concept, most vary when it comes to the specifics offered between locations. One of the biggest variances we see between coworking spaces are the types of memberships offered, letting you get different plans that best suit your needs all while on a budget. Some standard options are:

The Virtual Office -Professional Address for your Business

Hot Desk - Open Seating Available in the Coworking Space

Dedicated DeskAn independant Desk at which only you work at

Semi-Private Office - A small, semi-private office that is shared with 1-2 people

Private Offices - A private office generally for individuals or small teams

 For example, at the New York coworking space – Dumbo Startup Lab – they offer all of these features and more, with several private offices varying in size and price depending on your team.

Dumbo Startup Coworking Offices
Pictured: Coworking Qwirkyness

So, you’ve figured out what type of desk you need – but what if you’re an individual who only comes into the office 2-3 days a week? What if you just want a place to meet with clients? As I mentioned earlier,  one of the primary features of these coworking spaces is flexibility and it comes in more forms that just price. Almost every coworking space offers options for people who don’t want to come in 5 days a week. In fact many places offer drop in memberships, though as with everything, you save money when you buy in bulk. Some examples of this are:

Day Pass or “Drop In” - Need an office for just one day? Many places offer day-day passes

Flex Pass - Require an office for 2-3 days a week? Flex passes are designed for this

Full-Time membership - Full time pass, allowing access to the space at all hours of operation

Coworking spaces however are more than desks and office rooms, if thats all they were this discussion about them would be unnecessary. What sets a coworking space apart from a business center is the environment and the culture behind it. Many coworking spaces stress the importance of events that help their members mingle and connect. Numerous spaces hold weekly workshops designed to help their members gain new skills to make them competitive in the world. Our own space here at Parisoma, holds events and meetings on a regular basis, I’ve seen speaking engagements, packed dance floors, even once a leftover keg sitting in the corner. These are environments designed to help build community and connect entrepreneurs with one another – every coworking space is different in this regard. So whoever you may be, a quiet individual, a net worker, someone who wants to talk while you work – there is a spot for you, all you have to do is get out there and start looking.