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The size and recent growth of the multibillion dollar coworking industry is a pretty good indication that the number of people wanting a big open shared workspace is pretty high.

I mean, you've got a survey here finding over a million people using coworking spaces, of which more than half are single founders or freelancers. https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/64387613/Coworking%20Sur...

I'm pretty sure most of them aren't there mainly to avoid noisy kids.




As a piece of anecdata about coworking spaces. I use coworking spaces when I'm working remotely from a location other than my home. When I'm in my home city, I work from my home office. The beauty of remote work is it enables me to travel, but because I'm traveling I need to define a space that is "work" vs "play". That and stable fast Internet are what coworking spaces provide. It's not that I /like/ open floorplan designs better than my home office, it's that I like the flexibility of working from Bogota, Colombia this week and Lima, Peru next week instead of being stuck in my suburban house every day.

Due to my experiences I've met a LOT of people in coworking spaces all over the world and I would say that my general take is pretty consistent. People pay into a coworking space to guarantee a space that work can be done when they're traveling. Very few of my fellow coworkers permanently reside in the same city as the coworking space they frequent. This, also, is why networks of coworking spaces like WeWork are doing so well. WeWork in particular enables me to go to many destination cities and have a spot to work without needing to pre-plan to work with a local space.


I agree that WeWork has a good deal of this vibe. Some notable WeWorks have more of the vibe that the rest of us are talking about (community, action, high-aesthetic open plans, late nights, people who love open plan), including the epic 175 Varick in downtown Manhattan.

However, the other major NYC WeWorks (SoHo, Midtown, Madison) have much more the vibe you describe. Well... Madison is basically just offices.

If WeWork is your only or primary experience of co-working, I think you picked the right space for the vibe you're saying you like.

However, other major open plan office spaces - TechStars, Alley, and so on, do very much specifically cater to and create an affirmative open plan vibe and the people who prefer that.

Office spaces that share with or are primarily incubators often have a set up that allows for pitch practice right on the floor. This is a little hectic even for me. :-)


My own anecdata about coworking spaces involves a space that only allowed permanent residents, so needless to say the group of people I met had very different motivations

Still, if nomadic workers are finding it easier to "guarantee that work can be done" by booking a coworking space rather than spending that cash on a bigger AirBnB/hotel room promising a desk and fast WiFi it's an indication that at least some of the time they consider an office shared with other people working a preferable working environment to the solitude of an empty bedroom.


> rather than spending that cash on a bigger AirBnB/hotel room promising a desk and fast WiFi

This is a risk you can't take as a business-person in a lot of ways. There's many places in the world that are great to visit and travel to, but that simply don't have acceptable quality of residential Internet connections. For example, I was in Rabat, Morocco a few months ago and was able to work effectively because I had a coworking space with fiber Internet connectivity, meanwhile the best broadband connection on offer to residential addresses was similar in performance to 56k dial-up in most of the rest of the world.

The part that makes a coworking space a preferable working environment isn't the lack of solitude, it's the guarantee of high performance Internet connectivity.


For you (and even then, I doubt you went on Remote Year for the inside information on wireless connectivity...)

I worked from Morocco last month, so I'd be the first to concede their internet isn't particularly good by developing world standards, but there are an awful lot of remote workers for whom a 200 dirham dongle would do the trick. Not to mention an abundance of coworking spaces in London, where domestic wifi tends to be excellent, many of which are geared mostly or exclusively to permanent residents.




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