A burgeoning number of cowork spaces offer benefits beyond affordability and convenience
Cafés used to be the only affordable “office” choice for the self-employed. Now, fuelled by an increase in demand, coworking shared offices offer amenities and camaraderie from drop-in day rates of $25 to monthly memberships from around $200. Beyond a physical space, coworking outlets such as Spacekraft in Burnaby also offer health care plans, and many places hold information sessions for members, covering everything from legal advice to reiki.
Work culture is also important to startups looking for office space and was a major reason why Amanda Haines, founder of PR collective Reformation, chose Suite Genius in Mount Pleasant. “Coworking has not only given us amenities that we missed, for a fair price, but it has also provided us with an automatic office culture,” says Haines. “We work amidst brilliant people from different industries who are experiencing the same things we face every day: dealing with HR crises, managing the bills, keeping clients happy. We are learning from each other.”
SUITE GENIUS | Expanded to two locations, Suite Genius holds a weekly happy hour in the communal kitchen and on the balcony of the Mount Pleasant location for members to meet and mingle (click right to see more local coworking spaces)
WERKLAB | New space Werklab is home to a collection of creatives and entrepreneurs, all carefully curated by founder Christina Disler. Bright white spaces are complemented by her sister Vanessa’s colourful artwork
THE NETWORK HUB | One of the pioneers of coworking in Vancouver, The Network Hub has locations in Vancouver, Nanaimo, New Westminster and Whistler and offers hip private offices within the communal spaces
THE PROFILE | A prime waterfront location makes the Profile popular with entrepreneurs looking for a meeting space with a view in which to wow clients and investors
Successful coworking spaces have a niche. Launch Academy and The Cranium focus on tech startups, and at Gastown’s Hive, the not-for-profit community space for social impact uses coworking as a tool to support social innovation. MakerLabs offers technical equipment such as 3D printers and wood cutters for inventors and, bridging the gap between tech and technical, L’Atelier opened in August in Gastown as a high-end coworking space for creatives, designers and media types.
Coworking spaces are expanding the sharing economy concept to work together: “Coworking is still such a new industry. As a community of coworking managers, we realize our real competition is cafés and apartment balconies, not each other,” says Denise Brennan, co-founder of the Studio at Creative Coworkers and collaborator on a B.C. coworking passport that will give access to around 20 spaces across B.C. “Once people discover the benefits of coworking through experience, they’re better able to understand the value to them and their businesses.”