How to Get More Out of Your CoWorking Space

Most of the time, you just need a quiet space to sit and work. And your co-working space is a great way to meet that need. But co-working spaces are more than just a desk and cup of free coffee. Co-working spaces provide several avenues into your local community that can help you build networks and a generate a balanced work-life mix.

Meeting Rooms

As a member of a co-working space, you have access to the meeting rooms and common areas. But if you are a solo entrepreneur, you might never really use your meeting room allotment. So, if your focus is on having a quiet desk space, you might let your meeting room hours go unused month after month. But for some non-profit organizations, affordable, comfortable, and professional meeting rooms are hard to find. If you are a volunteer or board member for a local non-profit organization, you can offer your meeting room hours to the non-profit for a board meeting or educational seminar. Most non-profit boards meet monthly during off-hours – like on a Thursday night from 7pm to 9pm. Your co-working space is probably empty during those times anyway. Non-profit organizations frequently need a meeting space once a year for an eight-hour annual planning session. And again, those meetings are generally on a weekend when the co-working space is relatively empty.

Off Hours

Many co-working spaces are available for member use 24 hours per day. But if you walk around a co-working space after 8 pm weekdays, or any time on the weekends, the space is going unused. While one primary benefit of co-working membership is the camaraderie that comes with being around other professionals, sometimes a quiet, empty room gives you the space you need to think, plan, and accomplish. In fact, if you haven’t made the leap to being a full-time entrepreneur, you might be able to negotiate a discounted rate for using the co-working space only during nights and weekends. Plus, when you use the co-working space during off hours, you can dress in sweat pants and a t-shirt. And maybe even bring the kids.

Networking Events

If you aren’t going to the co-working member dinners and networking nights, then you are missing out on a prime benefit. To start, networking events are critical way to find more business. Sure, you might pick up a client or two from within the group of co-members. The key to finding business from a networking event, however, is honing your elevator speech down to a repeatable set of skills you offer. Everyone at the networking event knows someone else who needs your services. By attending the networking event and delivering a compelling elevator speech to ten other members, you are seeding the word-of-mouth marketing that leads to consistent, incoming business. Networking events also force you into much-needed social interaction. Introducing yourself to other members is difficult – especially during a busy workday. But when you add a glass of wine, some jazzy background music, and a cheese plate, suddenly it’s easier to say hello and introduce yourself. By building these social connections, you are creating a more comfortable workday environment for yourself.

Community Efforts

Co-working spaces often have well-established connections to the communities in which they operate. For example, your co-working space might already have a team for an upcoming 5K run to raise money. Or the co-working management might already be donating space to a local non-profit. These pre-established connections are a great way to get yourself and your business into the community. All businesses are built one brick at a time – so by attending the 5K sponsored by your co-working space, you are creating the goodwill that becomes word-of-mouth marketing and more client contracts. You can also bring a community event into your co-working space. Whether you are selling Girl Scout cookies for your daughter’s troupe or looking for volunteers to help clean the beach, you have a wealth of resources available through your co-working colleagues.

Amenities

You might be surprised at some of the amenities available to you as a member of your co-working space. A good co-working space will work to provide a healthy work-life balance to its members. Often that means shower facilities to enable a quick lunch-hour jog. You also might find that there are some exercise machines tucked away in an unseen corner of the office. Make sure to take full-advantage of the drinks and snacks available to members. Your co-working space isn’t really in the business of making a huge profit on the granola bars and club soda for sale at the snack bar; those snacks are there to help you be more productive while working. And if they aren’t carrying your favorite bottled water – ask! Management might be thrilled to add something new to the slate of offerings.

Co-working spaces are built to make your life more productive. But the management team can’t read your mind. Don’t shy away from asking for want you want out of the space. It’s yours – you pay for it – so take advantage of all the features and benefits that come from co-working membership.

Who uses CoWorking Spaces in San Diego?

The Myth of the Twenty-something Co-Worker

When you think about the typical co-working space, you might image twenty-somethings at standing desks while drinking lattes and snap-chatting about the newest apps. In reality, co-working spaces are multi-generational environments. In a co-working space like NEST CoWork in Bankers Hill, you’ll find a wide range of ages and workers seeking a comfortable yet professional space – from entrepreneurs of all ages launching startups to freelancers to remote workers looking for a quiet, professional place to do their job.

More Mid-Career Start-Ups
Contrary to some popular beliefs, the younger generation doesn’t have a lock on innovative ideas. Certainly, there has been a growing number of Millennials starting their own businesses rather than going to work in a corporation right out the gate. However, entrepreneurs are just as likely to launch a new business at 35 or even 50, as 20. The past several years have seen a significant trend toward mid-level career professionals starting a business of their own as reported by publications including Forbes and Financial Times. Solid business plans and fiscal responsibility, often come from the mid-level professionals who have accumulated the experience and resources to bring a new idea to market. So, for every eager Millennial in your co-working space, there is likely a hard-working thirty-something or fifty-something diligently planning out a business strategy.

The Growth of the Gig Economy
The independent contractor or freelancer is a core group of any co-working cohort. The growth of the gig economy has seen a big increase over the past decade and it’s predicted that the gig economy workforce will double in the next four years. That means 9.2 million Americans are expected to work in the gig economy by 2021, up from 3.8 million last year, according to combined research by Intuit and Emergent Research. Real estate agents, insurance agents, graphic designers, computer programmers and “on demand workers” will occupy a significant percentage of co-working desk spaces.

Remote and Distance Workers
High quality, experienced employees don’t always live close to a corporate headquarters office. So, the co-working space is an affordable, professional solution for any company that wants to provide a desk or office to a distance worker. Concerned about the distractions that come with a home-office, corporations are turning to co-working spaces as a way to keep talented employees focused on work.

The co-working spaces around the country are filled with professionals of every age. That diversity feeds into each community and creates productive and innovate forums for building businesses of every size.

,

How CoWorking Makes Remote Sales Feel Less Remote

For decades, the traditional field or outside sales representative worked out of his or her car. With a trunk filled with brochures, sales forms, and sample products, the road warrior could spend 95% of the week working from the front seat of the car. But the co-working space has shifted the professional lives of that contingent of the American workforce. Thanks to multiple locations, storage spaces, and a lively crew in every office, remote sales reps are now turning to CoWorking spaces for productivity and professionalism.

Co-working Becomes the Home Base
If you’ve ever visited the home of a company sales rep, you likely saw a garage, spare office, or dining room filled with boxes. (Not everything can fit into the trunk of the car.) Co-working spaces are able to customize rental plans to provide space to solve the sales rep space conundrum. Instead of desk rentals, co-working spaces can offer a few shelves in a storeroom along with a “floating desk” membership. The dining room remains clean and the rep has a home base for paperwork and sales calls.

Part of a Community
Being a field sales rep can be lonely work. With long hours on the road, a sales rep might only interact with colleagues by phone or at quarterly meetings. But with a co-working membership, the sales rep suddenly has all the benefits of a collaborative workplace. With even one day per week at a CoWorking office (instead of at the dining room table or overcrowded café), a sales rep can have a sense of belonging and community.

A Professional Presence
For a sales rep covering several cities or states across their territory, a co-working desk serves as a home-away-from-home. For a regional sales rep, a co-working space provides a professional, high tech environment to hold client meetings or company gatherings.

Outside sales reps no longer have to live out of their cars or coffee shops. Co-working spaces can cater to the needs of the individual rep, ensuring a professional environment and community worth coming home to.

Office Space for Freelancers

A Freelancer’s Life

Independent contractor, 1099 worker, gig worker, freelancer, short-term employee… all terms for those of us who don’t work the traditional nine-to-five job. Our numbers are growing. And so are the co-working spaces we use to accomplish our work. Sure, the freelance employee can work from home in fuzzy slippers and an old T-shirt, but that’s so 2001. And working from a coffee shop? That’s only good until the noise of the customers rises above the din of plates and mugs. Today’s freelancer needs a base of operations. Plus, with all the benefits that come with great co-working spaces (like NEST CoWork) why would anyone go anywhere else?

Freelancers need an office. Even if they never have a face-to-face meeting, independent contractors need a professional setting. Let’s begin here — productivity comes with a dedicated workspace. Focus is key in accomplishing anything. There are a million ways to fill your day as a small-business owner, but only a few tasks will generate revenue. With a standard desk and chair (in a professional setting) you are simply more likely to get work done.

Everyone who works uses the phone. Even if you’re a programmer cranking out code, you have to connect with supervisors, managers, and clients. You can’t have a professional phone conversation with background noises like the bark of a dog, the clang of a café dish, or the siren of a passing police car. You also need space. A café table just isn’t big enough for your laptop, notepad, and obligatory latte. A co-working space will give you the space you need to talk on the phone, use your computer, and take notes.

Sometimes, you do need to meet a prospect, client, or colleague face to face, and teetering on a café stool and shouting above the foam machine doesn’t lend itself to a professional, confidential conversation. A good co-working space will offer quiet corners and professionally appointed conference rooms that will make you look like a mega mogul and make your client feel confident about sharing the latest secrets about his new product launch she/he wants your help with.

With the quality of video-chat on the rise, meetings via Skype are the most efficient way to add a “face-to-face” meeting into your workday. Holding a video meeting from home has an inherently unprofessional feel. And having a video meeting from a café is simply annoying. Thankfully, co-working spaces are adding video conferencing rooms. With a high-quality feed and enhanced sound technology, a co-working video room can be nearly as effective as a 2,000 mile trip to Dallas.

Selecting the wrong kind of office can be just as bad as working from home. For decades, freelance workers and entrepreneurs have been able to rent “executive suites.” Although these kinds of closed-door spaces provide a professional facade, they can also be cold, tedious places to work. Often, executive suites sit in long, white hallways, and are decorated with beige walls and nondescript art. There is generally nothing warm or friendly about these spaces. The other professionals that share the floor or building may only give you a nod of acknowledgement. Co-working spaces, however, have been designed specifically to combat the dreary, single office environment. Co-working spaces are filled with natural light, comfortable couches, and engaging members.

Although not all working relationships are perfect, working around others is a vital way to stay motivated. Freelance work can be very lonely. Traditional employment gave workers with a variety of personalities. Co-working spaces are inherently more engaging because of the vibe and décor. But, people still need some encouragement. So, co-working spaces will generally have social events to bring everyone out of their respective shells. These kinds of networking events are not always about drumming up business. Frequently, social gatherings are simply a way to bring some cheer to the everyday interactions people have in an office. Without the draw of a free lunch or happy hour, some co-working members would remain inside their cubicle or office. Add some beer, and everyone starts making new friends.

For the freelancer, paying bills and filing taxes is a part of the job. With a dedicated co-working space, the freelancer can add some distance between home life and work life. Home is meant for time with the family. The office is a time for serious business. Of course, everyone has a bit of cross over between work life and family life. So, when the freelancer needs to bring the kids into the office over the weekend, a good co-working space will easily host the kids. Pencils, paper, and cable TV are prevalent in the modern co-working space; and all make for great distractions while Mom or Dad finish up some business.

The demand for freelance workers will continue to rise. The emerging workforce (the Millennials) aren’t interested in the traditional job. Companies are seeing that contractors, remote workers, and short-term employees are effective ways to meet business needs without employment liabilities. Co-working spaces have emerged as the best forum to connect both sides of that emerging trend.

Welcomes Start Ups and Entrepreneurs

NEST CoWork Welcomes Start-Up Workers and Entrepreneurs during San Diego Startup Week

San Diego celebrated its start-up culture with the 5th annual San Diego Start-Up Week. Within a five-day span (June 19 to June 23), start-up owners and entrepreneurs attended fifteen tracks, more than 250 sessions, and more than 300 speakers. San Diego Start-Up Week attendees also had the chance to visit several of San Diego’s co-working spaces, including NEST CoWork.

We were happy to welcome start-up workers during Start-Up Week, showing them the benefits of the First and Fir office building. Besides the (fully equipped) GRIND Coffee Shop and (awesome) free WiFi, NEST CoWork’s key benefits are its pricing structure and laid-back, creative vibe. “Our plans are flexible — keeping in mind the needs of our members; our pricing is all inclusive, so no surprises at the end of the month,” says Darin Andersen, NEST CoWork founder.

Depending on what stage they are in from seed to growth, start-up companies need flexibility in pricing in order to adapt to an every-changing environment. With hot desk, dedicated desks, cubicles, and offices to choose from, entrepreneurs can expand or retract as needed. Plus, NEST CoWork offers phone booths, conference rooms, patio seating, café seating, and a roller coaster for one-on-one and group meetings. (OK, so there’s no roller coaster. But the patio seating gives you great views of planes landing at the airport!) By selecting NEST CoWork as a home-base, start-up companies have access to a variety of work environments without the confines of a long lease. Plus, with free printing (and free brewed coffee), there are no surprise bills at the end of each month.

San Diego Startup Week showcased access to the CyberTECH network as well as the many functions that members can take part in, including a Pitch Fest sponsored by Procopio and eSentire, a CyberTECH EiR mentorathon, and a Smart City Hackathon co-sponsored by CyberTECH, Cleantech San Diego, GE Current, Intel, and AT&T.

Perhaps, equally important, NEST CoWork has a unique, techy vibe. Although you don’t have to a tech company to connect into the NEST environment, tech start-ups are the core of the NEST membership. Pitch nights, Meet-Ups, and member dinners give NEST its comfy, collaborative feel. By providing forums for formal and informal discussions, NEST members gain access to a knowledge base established by the companies/members just ahead on the start-up journey.

, ,

Clarifying Coffee Lingo

CyberHive Members are able to enrich their workday with coffees and teas thanks to the Grind Café occupying a corner of the first floor at First and Fir. But for some, trying to understand a café menu means Googling a bunch of strange words (like americano and matcha). So to help, we’ve compiled this sampling of lingo from the Grind Café list of options.

  • Brewed Coffee: This is just like the stuff you make at home with Mr. Coffee.
  • Espresso: Compressed coffee. The caffeine in one shot of espresso equals a small cup of coffee.
  • Latte: This is a cup of steamed milk with one or two shots of espresso. (Also available cold.)
  • Cappuccino: This is a cup of SUPER frothy hot milk with one or two shots of espresso. (Not available cold. See Frappuccino below.)
  • Mocha: Anything that combines coffee with chocolate.
  • Americano: This is a cup of hot water with a shot or two of espresso. It’s made to replace a brewed coffee. See story below.

Europeans generally don’t make brewed coffee. Europeans drink instant coffee at home and espresso when at a restaurant or café. During WWII, the American soldiers wanted a brewed coffee – just like Mom used to make. But without any Mr. Coffee makers, the Europeans mixed espresso and hot water to mimic American brewed coffee for the soldiers… thus they created the americano.

  • Black Tea: Your basic Lipton tea – has caffeine. Generally referred to as English Breakfast Tea. (Early Grey is flavored English Breakfast Tea.)
  • White Tea: Same plant as in black tea, just from young leaves. And so, yes, it has caffeine.
  • Green Tea: Again, same plant that makes black tea and white tea, but processed differently. Yes, it’s got that caffeine kick.
  • Matcha: Ground up green tea. Very concentrated and so, high in caffeine.
  • Chai Tea: Black tea mixed with spices like cardamom and cinnamon. (In most of the world, chai means tea. But in English-speaking countries, it means spiced tea.)
  • Herbal Tea: Technically herbal “tea” isn’t tea – any true “tea” comes from one, specific plant. Herbal “tea” is also referred to (correctly) as an infusion. Generally, herbal infusions have no caffeine.
  • Mint Tea: Mint tea is not green tea. Mint tea is generally a combination of the mint leaves and other plants that are not from the tea plant. So, it’s almost always caffeine free.

Frappuccino: The Frappuccino is a term trade-marked by Starbucks to describe their ice, blended drinks. It developed as a mix of the word, frappe and cappuccino. You won’t see the word, Frappuccino, used (legally) in any café except a Starbucks. However, you can order an iced-blended beverage almost anywhere now because Starbucks made them so popular.

,

What’s Good Etiquette in the CoWorking Space?

Etiquette in the CoWorking Space

With some predicting a freelance workforce at 50% by 2020, co-working etiquette is quickly becoming a defining component for any co-working space. And etiquette isn’t just about how the members behave, but also about how the co-working management sets expectations and upholds those standards. From loud phone calls to garlic shrimp at lunch, workplace behavior is about to get a whole lot trickier.

Let’s start with phone calls. With cell phone reception still far behind land line clarity, scream-talking is fairly commonplace. Plus, 95% of co-working members will be cell phone based. Phone booths are now standard for most co-working spaces, but they don’t solve all problems. For example, a quick phone call to a client can easily turn into an hour-long discussion. And if you need to be in front of a computer while talking, a phone booth or patio might not be a viable solution. Moreover, even those who occupy an office can be a bother if scream-talking with their door open.

This is why strong, gentle management is critical. Co-working contracts need to specify some basic expectations. “All calls longer than 3 minutes need to take place behind closed doors.” Then, when someone is scream-talking in the open or in an open office, the on-site manager can quickly step in and relieve the frustrations that the other workers are feeling.

Food is another major issue. As is slurping coffee. And chewing gum. Even someone clicking a pen or playing with their long hair can be enough of a distraction to drive hard-working members to find another location. The current generation of millennials isn’t known for their selfless lifestyle, and they will be the ones working freelance jobs at co-working offices.

Establishing a Code of Conduct is key in keeping co-working members happy. Enforcing the code means having an on-site Emily Post who can keep a reign on behavior. Ideally, your on-site manager would come with the inflexible gentility of a Savanah librarian. “Keep quiet or get out, sweetie-pie.”

Managing people has always been the most difficult part of any business. So, managing a collection of people who have no employment ties to each other or the office space means having a well-worded contract and a strict manager to enforce the rules.

(And everyone over the age of 25 will quietly say, “Thank you.”)

Business Insider Proclaims WeWork is Tremendously Overvalued. Is it?

Business Insider Proclaims WeWork is Tremendously Overvalued. Is it?

http://www.businessinsider.com/scott-galloway-wework-overvalued-company-world-2017-5

In a video about overvalued companies, WeWork made the top of the list. The current valuation equation puts the value of each WeWork customer at more than $550,000. In other words, WeWork is operating as if each client will generate over half-a-million bucks for the company. That’s like every client paying $5,000 per month in rent for nine years.

Realistically, that’s not going to happen. So why is WeWork riding so high? In short, trend.

Right now, WeWork spaces are generally expensive, and the company has very low vacancy rates. With this kind of money coming into the company, someone will have adamantly pointed out that WeWork is likely operating in a bubble. And all bubbles pop. (See: Housing, 2007)

However, WeWork is leading a trend. For example, right now several large companies are utilizing WeWork instead of managing their own office spaces. (That’s gunna shift.) Plus, WeWork is capitalizing on venture capitalists who want to see their money at work in super-trendy workplaces with free lemon water. (Is lemon water really worth $5,000 per month?)

Coworking is growing – very quickly. So it’s highly probably that WeWork has created several contingency plans to adapt when there’s a shift in coworking demand. At these rates, big companies will eventually see coworking as wasted money. And venture capitalists might stop investing in companies with less than five employees and shift to more established operations. (See: Tech Industry, 2001)

When the winds shift, WeWork will adapt. They likely have five and ten-year commercial leases, so if IBM moves its operations out of WeWork New York, WeWork will have to fill that vacancy with someone.

And it all comes down to the little guy. At $250 or $300 per month, coworking spaces can quickly fill its vacancies with general and “hot desk” members. The real trend is not in coworking, it’s in the entrepreneurialism of the gig economy. It’s the American dream to be your own boss.

The coworking companies are here to stay. They are becoming our second home – our oasis in a life of soccer practices, mean bosses, and in-law visits. All of those employees showing up for work at a WeWork coworking space are the future tenants for the company. And that is worth $5,000 per month.

Coworking Spaces Act as Anchor

Think about the American worker in the 1950s… or the Japanese worker in the 1980s… the workplace was a reliable haven of productivity. Sure, there must have been long hours, office politics, and noisy coworkers slurping soup at lunch, but the office was always there. Today, the vast majority of that reliability is gone. Layoffs, cutbacks, and outsourcing has become commonplace. And even in a big city, finding a cushy replacement when you’ve been laid off from your Fortune 100 job isn’t easy. Plus, there was a time when you and your employer made a pact: you show up to work hard and the company wouldn’t fire you. Today, a bad supervisor can put you out on the street with a few well-crafted emails to HR.

With today’s expensive lifestyle (where hors-oeuvres and a drink can cost $50), most of us need a side hustle. There are likely some mid-level executives flipping on their Uber app while they drive home from work to pick up some extra money for Christmas. And blogger-moms staying up late to get sponsored dinners for a date night with hubby.

So coworking spaces are not just for the full-time entrepreneur. In fact, anyone looking to work a few hours on a blog, ebook, or part-time coding gig needs a desk and a cup of coffee away from the house. Even if you’re a full-time employee, maybe you have a desk for the days when you want to avoid the commute and “work from home.”

Thus, the coworking space becomes the new workplace anchor. It doesn’t matter if you get fired, laid-off, or quit. You keep going to the familiar coworking space, shifting your time and energy to the project at hand.

Coworking spaces have become key for personal productivity. When your employer no longer sees you as a necessary asset, you simply flip the switch and do more work as an independent contractor. In fact, coworking spaces, along with the gig economy, are a tremendous threat to corporate productivity. Coworking offices have leveled the playing field, offering workers the chance to remain productive and happy regardless of where the work is coming from. And the more you are in a coworking space, the more you learn how to source and duplicate work as a contractor.

Take that, corporate America!

IBM Turns to WeWork

In a massive deal for co-working giant, WeWork, IBM just rented the entire 70,000 square feet of WeWork’s University Place in New York City. So the looming question is why? As a major leader for more than a century, shouldn’t IBM be able to manage its own office space? Sure. But it’s not 1945, and WeWork is offering IBM a few systems that the company can’t ignore

Flexibility: While we don’t know the terms of the deal, it’s likely that WeWork is offering significantly more flexibility to IBM than a traditional commercial lease. In fact, co-working is based on flexibility. So if IBM has to move a department out of NYC or lay-off 200 workers, they aren’t stuck with the cost of an empty office.

Talent: Young employees don’t want to be stuck in a dull, grey cubicle. And while those workers in their 40s might still tolerate the traditional office setting, the millennials simply won’t. They know that companies like Google and Uber have slick, comfortable working spaces. And if an employer can only offer bad coffee under fluorescent lights, the new and eager workers will go somewhere else.

Productivity: Yes, co-working spaces like WeWork can seem like a distracting environment. But the environment is also comfortable. So instead of stopping at Starbucks before work, employees will show up to the co-working coffee bar and get settled faster. And if they like where they work, they are much, much (MUCH) more likely to stay an extra 20 minutes at the end of the day to finish a project. Even better – the kids like to come in with Mom or Dad on the weekend because the office is filled with couches and café tables. (Plus great WiFi for Netflix.) Think about productivity hours for a company like IBM. If everyone starts to average an additional 25 minutes of work per day, then the 600 people in the WeWork/IBM building are cranking out 250 more work hours per DAY. That’s like 31 free employees working for the company simply because the employees like lemon water and soft lighting.

Co-working companies have begun a revolution. A century ago, businesses needed to eliminate harsh factory conditions and develop concepts like Lean Thinking to compete. And while the office cubicle of 1992 is hardly harsh, co-working is proving that desk-bound workers need an improved workplace to drive business forward.