If you thought it was too early for the co-working industry to experience disruption, think again.
A new breed of co-working spaces is emerging focusing first and foremost on the tenants’ interests, needs, and values. Each space is built around one core idea, and it’s meant to attract tenants who align with its single-minded purpose, creating a work environment where everyone in the building shares a common bond.
For example, if your startup cares about sustainability, you can find co-working spaces that are certified green and all of the tenants have a similar desire to help the environment.
This personalization enables you to integrate your lifestyle with your work style and plug into a like-minded community. When you work alongside people that share a similar passion, it creates an instant camaraderie and support system that is hard to find in the traditional co-working spaces due to their size and diverse priorities.
Here are seven unconventional co-working spaces pioneering a work movement that focuses on people first:
1. Flow Yoga Center, Washington D.C.: Co-Working and Yoga Space
Namaste is not a typical greeting you hear at the office unless your office is also a yoga studio.
Flow Yoga Center has created WorkFlow, a co-working wellness program that integrates mindfulness classes, yoga, and work. More than a novel twist on co-working, WorkFlow is an entirely new way to approach work.
They believe yoga and meditation are powerful methods for reducing stress, allowing you to focus on your well-being. The classes are designed to break up your workday with a boost of clarity, energy, and balance.
The WorkFlow program offers built-in wellness breaks throughout the day including meditation, yoga, and mindful movement. They have both quiet and communal workspaces, ergonomically-designed standing, sitting, and reclining workstations, and guided meditation breaks. They also provide aromatherapy to promote focus, vitality, and relaxation.
Health and wellness have been proven to have a significant impact on work performance, making WorkFlow a practical option for a coworking space.
Workflow membership fees are only $80 a month, which is considerably cheaper than a traditional workspace. However, the lack of private rooms for team meetings might make it hard to run your startup from the space.
For the solopreneur or remote worker, this combination of work and well-being is worth trying. Work is one of the leading causes of stress, so a workspace specifically designed for relaxation and renewal is the perfect counterbalance.
2. The Wing, NYC: Women-Only Club and Co-Working Space
The Wing is a work and community space for women, designed to make their lives easier by offering amenities and benefits that are unique to women. The founders were inspired by the women’s club movement of the late 19th century, where pioneering women provided each other with encouragement and community at a time when they needed it most.
In addition to a communal workspace and a feminist-focused library, The Wing provides on-demand blowouts, a pumping room for nursing mothers, a cafe, and vanities stocked with women-owned beauty products. Members have all the amenities they need to stop by before a meeting or social event, freshen up or change wardrobes.
The Wing has grown in popularity in just a few months, boasting over 45,000 Instagram followers. Women across the globe have been using the hashtag #BringtheWing to express their desire for a space in their own city.
As of now, they have plans to open two more locations in New York and another in Washington DC. You can apply for membership on their website. Membership is open to all women, but there is a waiting list. The Wing’s popularity has attracted celebrity members including rapper Remy Ma, J.Crew President Jenna Lyons, and Lena Dunham.
Membership is $185 a month, plus a one-time registration fee of $100. This is quite reasonable, considering a WeWork desk is $220/month. Most of the services, such as hair and makeup, are extra.
If your team is all women, this would be an ideal co-working space because every detail of the space is meant to help women succeed in business. If not, it’s still a place to consider as a secondary space for your female employees to expose them to a strong community of women and treat them to the occasional blowout.
3. NeueHouse, NYC and LA: Private Club and Co-Working
NeueHouse brings the luxury and exclusivity of a private club to co-working. They describe themselves as a private community of entrepreneurs, innovators in film, design, fashion, branding, architecture, and the arts.
Here there’s space for individuals and small companies of up to ten people. The workspace has lounge areas for casual meetings, a cafeteria called the Canteen with a full bar, a screening room with up to 60 seats and a recording studio capable of producing podcasts and voiceovers. There are also art exhibitions, evening lectures, performances and film screenings.
NeueHouse is an exclusive creative and culture hub. The programs and community thrive on collaboration with an eye towards creative innovation. For example actress Reese Witherspoon recently spoke at a panel discussion about sustainability, and Icelandic band Sigur Rós led a sound bath seminar for members.
NeueHouse has locations in New York and Los Angeles. The cost to access the co-working space starts at $600 a month, but if you want a dedicated desk, it will be $1,250.
If your startup is in an industry in which associations to art, culture, and exclusivity are important, NeueHouse could be the perfect co-working space to meet those needs. NeueHouse gives you access to a community of intellectuals and trendsetters that you can tap into to help grow your business. Growth is just what you’ll need to help you pay those high monthly fees.
4. The Landing Zone, New Orleans: Co-Working for Veterans
There are over 3 million veteran-owned businesses in the U.S.
The Landing Zone, based in New Orleans, is a co-working space built for veterans. As owner and Marine veteran Robert Armbruster puts it, “I wanted to create a space where vets can come and be in a shared workspace with other vets that are going through the same challenges.”
Veterans share a special bond that translates into a tight-knit business community. In addition to peer support, the Landing Zone offers a 12-week accelerator program that has already helped launch more than a dozen vet-owned companies.
The 30,000-square-foot space has all the amenities and perks of a modern co-working facility, including single desks, private offices, and social areas as well as a full gym, showers and locker rooms.
Membership starts as low as $10/day. A private desk costs $300/month, and they offer larger offices for your entire team starting at $800/month.
If you are a veteran running a startup, this is certainly a place to consider. In addition to the mentorship opportunities from fellow veterans, the community has a wealth of information around unique veteran benefits such as special financing and federal grants that you won’t find at a traditional workspace.
According to the Small Business Association, veteran-owned businesses have a higher success rate than civilian-run businesses. That could be reason enough to give it a try.
5. Green Spaces, Denver, CO: A Sustainable Co-Working Space
At first glance, Green Spaces looks like any other modern co-working space with office equipment, dedicated workspaces and all the perks like free coffee and snacks. But Green Spaces offers your company something special: the opportunity to be certified green.
Green Spaces describes their mission as bringing businesses together that are addressing the environmental and social impact on the planet. And they follow through on their commitment to the environment by providing complimentary sustainability reports so you can track your progress.
There are over 160 solar panels on their roof to offset energy use, and nearly 100% of the energy comes from solar power. This space features custom-designed reclaimed wood by Eden Oaks Designer Woodware, and recycled and non-toxic products for cleaning and paper supplies.
They have a partnership with Zipcar promoting car sharing and are working towards Zero Waste with Alpine Waste and Recycling, which offers trash, recycling and composting services.
Membership starts at $245 a month and goes up to $1350 for private offices.
The most compelling reason to bring your startup to Green Spaces is that your company can be certified green. Besides the personal satisfaction that comes with supporting the environment, there are millions of consumers and other businesses that make buying decisions based on the values of a company.
According to a Nielsen survey, 62% of consumers said they trust sustainability-focused companies and are willing to pay a premium for their products. Your green certification is more than just a badge of honor; it can translate into more business opportunities and growth.
6. Brooklyn Boulders, Somerville, MA: Rock Climbing Gym and Co-Working Space
If yoga is not your thing, but you like the idea of working in a space that promotes health and fitness, Brooklyn Boulders is a rock climbing gym that delivers a unique experience for a unique kind of worker.
For starters, it’s very loud as people working in the communal space often cheer on the climbers below. The workspace is located on top of a 120-foot-long and 22-foot-high climbing wall. Don’t worry, there are stairs if you’re not in the mood to climb to work.
For work, they provide free Wi-Fi, a lounge area with couches, a communal table, a smattering of standing desks with built-in pull-up bars, seated desks with balance ball chairs, and a few quiet spaces.
For your fitness needs, the facility has a full gym, sauna, personal training, fitness classes and of course 28,000 square feet of World-Class Climbing walls.
Brooklyn Boulders states that rock climbing will engage your imagination, passions and physical potential, which they believe is a perfect counterbalance to a stressful workday.
Day rates start at $29 or $139 per month.
While this is a co-working space, it’s more about rock climbing and the camaraderie that comes with it. That said, it might be difficult to run your startup here on a full-time basis with the constant distractions of people cheering on climbers. There is also a lack of private rooms to hold meetings.
While it might not be the ideal choice for a startup every day, Brooklyn Boulders could still serve as a cool place to take your team a few times a month to work and play.
7. Hacker Dojo, Silicon Valley: Co-Working for Hackers and Tech Startups
Calling all tinkerers, hackers, and tech enthusiasts, Hacker Dojo is one part co-working space and one part maker space – a place to launch a software startup or build a robot.
They are a non-profit cooperative of people who share a common love of creating and understanding how the world works. And they are clear that you don’t need to be a programmer to use the space.
Hacker Dojo is a playground for techies with a maker space equipped with 3D printers, power tools, laser cutters and computer components just waiting for you to build or invent something. They also have a Mobile Device Lab where you can test your apps on other devices.
As a co-working facility, they offer personal desk space and communal work spaces. They also offer 250-megabit bidirectional fiber internet, coffee, a kitchen, electronics lab, library, small and large office spaces, event spaces, and a gaming lounge.
The monthly cost is $125 for membership and $300 for a dedicated desk.
If you have a technology startup in Silicon Valley, you have to consider Hacker Dojo. Not only is the space equipped with the latest gadgets and amenities like the mobile lab and maker space, but you and your team will also have the opportunity to meet and collaborate with some of the brightest minds in tech.
Notable companies that started at Hacker Dojo include Pinterest, Pebble Watches and Word Lens. They were obviously able to get things done without getting too distracted by the gaming lounge. And so can you.
Co-working Spaces That Focus on People First Build Stronger Communities
If you are looking for a co-working space where community and collaboration are at the forefront, it’s worth looking into a space that embodies your core interests and goals.
People-focused spaces that are built around a common mission or philosophy are becoming a viable alternative to traditional co-working spaces. Whether it’s for a social cause, your well-being, or simply for a change from the traditional day-to-day work routine, the ideas of how and why we work will continue to evolve.