You’re an entrepreneur who runs a business online from your home. You need to interview potential clients, so you block out a few days to do that. But where do you meet with them? Up until now, it was most likely your quietest neighborhood coffee place. However, your options just doubled, because now we have “the shared workspace”. According to Jefferson Graham, in USA Today, NextSpace is so far the leader in the shared workspace field. The basic idea is that NextSpace takes over an office area and rents out segments. Customers can rent as little as a table and chair, or as much as a conference room. A daily, weekly or monthly fee is charged, from $145 to $300 a month, depending on location, or $15 to $30 a day. For that, the customer is provided free coffee, an internet connection, a quiet office space without music and social activity, and even access to a private online social network. They are expected to clean up after themselves though. The shared workspace idea resulted from more than meeting customer’s needs for occasional interviewing space. Not all people like working in the solitude of their homes. Others like not only the stimulation of being around other people, but value the potential business connections they make by working among other entrepreneurial types. As everyone who has used Starbucks as an office for an hour or a day knows, one can’t always find an outlet or a good table space, let alone enough quiet for a phone call. One commenter in the article said that the shared workspace idea fills a niche, but a small niche. Depending on a business’s particular needs, it might make a lot of sense. If meeting with others in a professional atmosphere is a sporadic need rather than a constant requirement, the shared workspace just might be the perfect situation. Why pay an exorbitant rent when only one week a month will fill the needs? Regardless, it appears this solution may take some of the space pressures off of the local coffee shops, freeing up some space for students and others who continue to fill up the tables.
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