Co-working makes space for freelancers
By Michaela Kemp
We’ve all seen them. They crowd around tables at Starbucks, frantically typing on their laptops, answering calls, and rolling their eyes when the table beside them gets too loud. Some of them are writers, others web
designers, or even students, but all of them are trying to find a productive space free from the crying kids, cluttered kitchens and the distractions of home.
Last November, CoworkYYC came to Calgary.
“The trend started in Europe and has only started to catch on in Canada,” said Jeff Gibson of CoworkYYC. They operate out of the Ramsay Design Building at 19th Avenue and 11th Street southeast and cater to those freelancers who just can’t find that quiet space. CoworkYYC allows everyone and anyone to rent a desk space on a monthly basis. They provide wireless Internet, a kitchen, desks, comfy chairs, and even a shower. They foster a quiet, calm, open environment where anyone from writers to students can come and work.
The main goal of CoworkYYC is to promote a space that harbours a more professional environment than working from home, and one that is much less noisy – and more appealing to clients – than working from the local coffee shop. Contrary to the traditional office rental — a row of closed off, personal, locked offices — CoworkYYC aims to provide networking opportunities within the space and allows for a much more open experience.
The area is reminiscent of an art studio loft with an open plan, marbled concrete floors, an unfinished ceiling and brick walls. The desk areas vary in terms of privacy and size, from a more closed off area for one to three people to a large open space with approximately six desks.
Despite being open for only a few months now, they have filled 14 of their 20 desks and demand continues. They are located just outside of downtown, in Ramsay. The building is within walking distance of bike paths and running trails, parks and smaller local shops. The freelancers can reap the benefits of working in a downtown environment without having to deal with actual downtown.
“It was when I decided I needed to take my freelance business seriously that I decided to call about the space,” said Tabitha Beaton, who rents a desk for her communications business Respond Commun-ications. “I just needed a place to come and get my work done that wasn’t at home.”
The appeal for many people is being able to have a space where they can come and work; a place that requires changing out of one’s pajamas.
It isn’t just business owners and writers that make use of the space. Karola Radler, who is working on her master’s degree, simply wanted to step out into the world again. She was studying from home and began to feel the isolation that comes with it so, in January, she decided to call CoworkYYC and rent a desk. She was drawn in by the networking and community feel of the collaborative office space.
Web designers, oil and gas companies, non-profit organizations and professional communicators are all making use of the co-working concept.
Desks rentals are $450 a month. The desks themselves are large and open with room for personal computers, files, textbooks and folders. The company also rents out desks for a flat rate of $40 a day for those who are unsure about the concept or only need a desk occasionally. For more information, check out coworkyyc.com.