As more people turn to the gig economy, the more attractive coworking spaces become. Take a look at a few of our favorites from around the U.S. and Europe.
In our increasingly flexible working world, the stale offices and cubicles of the past decade are being left behind. Colorful, flowing, and funky workspaces are now the new normal in the business world, and companies are on the hunt to attract new talent through their office culture.
But as the image of the office changes, so does the worker. Remote workers and freelancers are becoming increasingly common in every industry. 26 percent of the American workforce joined what’s known as the “gig economy” in 2016; this number is expected to grow to 40 percent by 2020.
According to Villanova University, 3.3 million people work remotely in the United States, and there was an 80 percent increase in people working from home from 2005 to 2012. Because of this, a different office format has taken over: the coworking space.
Coworking spaces can be found throughout larger urban areas and offer hourly, daily, or monthly access to employees from a variety of industries and companies. These spaces cost employers a fraction of the rent on an entire office building, and provide unique opportunities to grow small-business network, or cultivate new ideas with diverse groups from varying industries and mindsets.
Yet these coworking spaces are still fueled by a shared drive and community ideal.
These buildings provide funky environments with fast Internet and plenty of resources to keep any worker entertained, engaged, and happy.
With that in mind, let’s look at some of the most inspiring, unique, and innovative coworking spaces on the market. You’ll see that these creative spaces offer much more than your typical office.
The Mountain Lab
Lake Tahoe, CA
Californians love to integrate their hobby with their career. Luckily, those who visit Lake Tahoe during the winter will now have an option to do just that.
The latest addition to the Heavenly Mountain Resort was created by The Mountain Lab. The 800 square-foot space is dedicated to those that purchase a lift ticket along with a Mountain Lab pass, which prompted the term “ski-in, ski-out” coworking space.
The founder of The Mountain Lab, David Orr, was excited to team up with the Heavenly Mountain Resort. He found that, after proposing the idea, they were already on the same page.
“Heavenly is really smart in recognizing the way the world works now,” said Orr. “Even when you’re on vacation, you’re not really leaving your work behind. There are meetings and things that you are expected to participate in even when you are on vacation.”
Luckily, for Tahoe and skiing fans, they now have the perfect place to curl up with their laptop after enjoying an afternoon on the slopes.
Each coworking space has its own little touch that makes it stand out from the rest. In this case, it’s the material that make the Green Spaces locations stand out from the rest.
Green Spaces stays true to its name with repurposed wood flooring, renewable energy sources, and on-site composting. This coworking company takes environmental awareness seriously, and it has garnered steady support from green companies and those that share the same passion for the environment.
On top of the completely recycled and repurposed interior, the company also hosts regular talks and events that focus on sustainability and environmental issues and a “Handmade Homemade Market” that features wares from local vendors.
The founder, Jennie Nevin, cares deeply about the company’s mission. Her passion is widely shared with the workers that utilize Green Spaces.
“Our members truly appreciate how thoughtful we are about our materials, and they also feel proud and comfortable bringing in new people to the space,” Nevin explained. “[…] By being green, we’ve been able to really strengthen our overall community; from being eco-friendly, people get a sense of a common and shared purpose.”
Hera Hub for Women
California (Carlsbad, Mission Valley, Sorrento Valley)
Hera Hub is an exclusive coworking space just for women. Their target is the female entrepreneur, which is an exponentially growing mark.
Currently, women make up 29 percent of all American-owned businesses, and are continuing to dominate the small business market. Hera Hub founder, Felena Hanson, saw an opportunity to help these women flourish and took it.
Since 2011, Hera Hub has been growing their network on the principle of “women supporting women,” with the image of the Greek Goddess Hera as their masthead.
“In ancient times, Hera was revered as being the only Goddess who accompanied a woman through every step of her life; blessing and protecting her family and financial security. Being Zeus’ wife, Hera represented the fullness of life and affirms that women can use their wisdom in the pursuit of any goal they choose.”
The spaces are full of beautiful and relaxing decor with a “spa inspired” interior. The relaxing environment, topped with supportive and enthusiastic women, has created a coworking space that is more than just an office for these members: it’s a community.
They also host regular podcasts to share ideas and inspiration for other women in the professional space. Hera Hub has now grown its coworking spaces into the international market, with a soon-to-arrive location in Sweden.
New Orleans, LA
New Orleans is well known for its party vibe and friendly atmosphere, but one coworking space is trying to capitalize on the NOLA friendliness through the Landing Zone (LZ NOLA).
LZ NOLA is a collaborative workspace with a special interest in veterans and their startups. The warehouse is partnered with VetLaunch’s accelerator program to give support and mentorship to New Orleans veterans that are interested in creating their own businesses from the ground up.
LZ NOLA is also open to civilians for the sake of creating a unique and collaborative culture of entrepreneurs.
With veteran interests in mind, it’s no surprise that the facility also offers members access to its 3,500 square feet gym and its fully equipped event kitchen, where occasional classes will be held to test out the latest cuisine and offer feedback to the cooks.
LZ NOLA also provides mentorship and legal support to members with a plethora of conferences, talks, and resources to help everyone who enters its doors become successful.
LZ NOLA launched in January, 2015, and has been riding the wave of success ever since.
Canada is well known for its progressive standings on public healthcare, so it should be no surprise that the Coworking Health Insurance Plan (COHIP) started in the great, friendly north.
COHIP is possible thanks to Coworking Ontario, a coworking network all across the Canadian province. Offered to freelancers, COHIP is an amazingly expansive plan that offers health and dental insurance, term life insurance, disability insurance, travel insurance, and more.
The decision to offer such an important package to freelancers was inspired by the experiences of the founder, Ashley Proctor, and has since expanded into a country-wide option for coworking spaces.
After suffering serious injuries from a bike accident in 2003, Proctor was left without medical insurance, in severe pain, and lost her student-status, home, job, and car in the aftermath. Her struggles to find individual coverage at a reasonable rate formulated into the COHIP plan she created for Coworking Ontario.
Her inspiring story is now helping freelancers and artists breathe easier with a flexible and affordable plan—25 percent less than the average individual plan—that covers them and their family.
As the COHIP plan continued to prove successful, Proctor was able to convince the government of its benefits, and convert the plan into a country-wide option for freelancers. She is also currently working on a Creative Blueprint Seattle office (a sister company to Coworking Ontario), and hopes to discuss the same insurance possibility with the local board in Seattle.
Nissan e-NV200 WORKSPACe
When people use the term “flexible workspace,” they normally think of people working at home, a coffee shop, or at a desk. Something that is not in the main office, but still stationary. Well, when it comes to “breaking the mold,” Nissan and UK-based design company, Studio Hardie, did exactly that.
It’s an entire office within a van; complete with coffee machine, pull-out desk, hidden drawers, and wireless Internet. The inspiration behind the vehicle came from a 36 percent increase in demand for flexible workspaces from small businesses and their employees, as well as an increased demand for alternatives to the traditional urban office.
In addition to creating a totally unique office experience, this car is also 100 percent battery operated and with an interior made from repurposed material. Not only is it a touring office on wheels, but eco-friendly to boot. Now that’s innovative.