WASHINGTON - When you think of a workspace, the cubicles in a traditional office are probably the first thing that comes to mind. Following Uber and Airbnb, the sharing economy has brought a new kind of work environment to the United States and the world in recent years.
It’s not a bar, nor a coffee shop. And it’s not your bedroom. It’s a so-called co-working space, where an increasing number of Americans work. WeWork is one of the providers of such environments.
“The beauty of the space is that we are a community, we kind of all work together. So, in this building, I can find a lawyer and an accountant. I can also find somebody to help me with my design, my website development," says Carl Pierre of WeWork-DC.
The new sharing economy is changing the way business has traditionally been done. The commercial real estate industry is no exception. In Washington and around the world, people from all walks of life are turning to this new kind of work environment, sharing infrastructure, services, events and technology.
At Wework, members have different plans to choose from. The price ranges from 45 to thousands of dollars a month and offers different levels of access to the facilities, such as office equipment, conference rooms, dedicated desks, and private working spaces. Members can even bring their dogs to work.
Erica Ettin is the founder of A Little Nudge, which helps people with all aspects of online dating.
“I’ve gotten clients from here. I’ve gotten business contacts. I had to shoot some videos for something - there’s a company here that shoots videos, and I hired them. It’s just really nice to have a network of people who wouldn’t have met otherwise,” Ettin says.
Cove is one of the other co-working options for Washington and Boston workers. Adam Segal, its founder and chief executive officer, says it’s about a whole new experience.
“What we are trying to facilitate is that type of lifestyle where you can work whenever and wherever, so you don’t have to be tied going to the same location every day like a typical office,” Cove says.
Segal says the most popular plan is 89 dollars a month to enjoy 4 hours at any of 9 locations in Washington. Members just swipe cards at the entrance.
Freelancer Lee Canon says Cove provides the flexibility she wants.
“This sort of space is perfect. Because I’m around people, I feel kind of accountable to be working, but it’s also not noisy. There’s no espresso machine going; there’s no blender going,” Canon says.
What seems to attract millennials most about co-working are network resources and the sense of community. Merav Yuravlivker, a co-founder of Data Society, a company that teaches people how to effectively use data, says it’s about connecting people.
“A community of over 40,000 people globally is a huge draw for us. So there’s an app we can post anything we need either to the whole community or a particular city,” Yuravlivker says.
The United States is the birthplace of co-working space. The first one was created in San Francisco in 2005. The idea soon spread across the nation and around the world.