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Collaborating With Non-Coworkers

By: Bianca Bartz - Published: • References: coworking.pbwiki & nytimes
A number of co-working spaces are popping up to cater to the increasing loneliness experienced by people who work from home. These businesses can be likened to shared work spaces with cafe-like environments.

6.4 million people worked from home in 2000, a statistic which jumped to 20.4 million in 2005. That difference is likely even greater now that more people are ditching the traditional office environment either to become self-employed or to work remotely, teleconferencing and engaging with other internet tools.

While working from home has many perks, like saving (a lot of) gas money, setting your own hours and being there for the kids, it has its down sides, such as loss of social interaction. A growing series of businesses are popping up to address these work woes, offering people the ability to interact with non-colleagues in a work-like setting.

They offer WiFi, desks, printers and other office set-ups which make it not only easier to get work down. This eliminates those distractions many people experience at home, like putting in another load of laundry, answering pesky calls from mom or grabbing munchies in the kitchen. In addition, it eases the sting of loneliness... and the social pressure from surrounding workaholics might help motivate some people to work harder.

"Writers spaces, entrepreneurial incubators and office suites in which individuals can rent a single room have existed for decades," the New York Times says. "But co-working, with its open-to-all ethos, is a little different."

The Hat Factory, a four-bedroom loft in San Francisco, was one of the earliest spaces like this, and its concept is still one of the most interesting.

"Its residents share it with outsiders during the day, then take it back at night," the Times explains. "For $200 a month, you can be an anchor member, get a key and have a desk reserved. The shared area, with a kitchen, living room and large communal table, is available free to drop-ins during business hours."

Soundview Coworking in Stamford, on the other hand, is more casual; it's actually a concierge suite at a Marriott hotel. Other places offering co-working facilities include Berkeley Coworking in Northern California and Cubes and Crayons in Menlo Park, CA which caters to its mostly female users by offering child care services.

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