On July 9, 2014, we asked 27 CloudVO associates to spend their entire day in a coworking place and to share their experience on Yammer real time. This article presents a summary of some of the raw observations made by our group on that coworking safari day, without interpretation or judgment.
The safari was designed to increase our organization’s knowledge of the coworking landscape. Fifty six percent (56%) of the participants had never coworked previously. The rule was for all participants to check in a location that promotes itself online as “coworking,” pay for a day pass, and share his or her experience and observations throughout the day via a moderated discussion forum on Yammer. Most of the discussions were structured – the moderator sent questions to the group throughout the day every ½ hour or so – but the participants also engaged in impromptu and highly interactive online conversations throughout the day. All data reported in this article was strictly based on those field observations.
The group checked-in 26 different coworking places in California and Nevada:
- In 17 different cities
- 16 locations were in the San Francisco Bay Area
- 5 were in the Sacramento area
- 4 were in other California areas (including LA & San Diego areas)
- 1 location was in Reno, Nevada.
For the most part, participants picked locations close to their home or place of work. Since the majority were CloudVO employees, it is no surprise that the observations were skewed to Northern California, where the company main offices are located.
The vast majority of the operations visited by our group were dedicated coworking operations, with names like Hacker Dojo, NextSpace, The Port, The Hub, SandBox, Comerge, Enerspace, Urban Hive, San Leandro Coworking, Reno Collective, SpherePad, Hacker Lab, LapTop Lounge, ThinkHouse, Sillicon Valley Pad, Get Smartworkplaces, Sattelite, Comerge. One operation was a coworking place specifically designed for legal professionals (Thirty33 Legal Suites). Two locations advertised themselves as coworking places but were effectively touchdown space for professionals (e.g. MediaPod, with Courtyard by Marriott). The majority of the operations were for-profit operations, focused solely on coworking, but at least one was a non-profit operation, managed by and for its members.
Capacity & Usage
Half of the coworking places were small, with less than 40 coworking seat capacity, but 30% had more than 80 open coworking seats. Close to 40% of the locations offered private offices (ranging from 5 to 20 private offices). Most had collaborative space. Two-thirds provided private or semi-private conference rooms, ranging from 1 to 6 meeting rooms per location.
Whereas the majority of the coworkers on our safari day seemed to fall in the 31 to 39 years old age group, all ages were represented, including Millenials, Gen Y, Gen X, and Boomers.
Day Pass prices ranged from $10 to $75, with $25 as the median rate. A few locations offered free passes to “test drive” the coworking places. These free pass opportunities were not factored into our statistics.
The median monthly membership, with unlimited access was $295, also with a wide range from $79 to $475 per month. Many operators offer ten-day or five-day access at reduced prices. Dedicated desks, where users often leave their monitor, ranged from $300 to $550 with a median rate at $433/month.
While a few of the smaller locations seemed to have spotty internet connections, most provided decent but not exceptional Internet connectivity. More surprisingly, only half of the locations seemed to provide some form of network printing. When available, printing was often free of charge.
Whereas community events are said to be the critical fabric of their place by most coworking operators, our observers could find events prominently posted in only 58% of the locations.
What really struck our safari participants is that the coworking locations were places to get work done. The image of informality some coworking places promote, with folks lounging on a couch with a beer on hand and a laptop on the knees, were no where to be seen. What the group observed instead were studious, library-style, work environments, where folks are by and large respectful of each other’s space and sound privacy. For example, most folks while making cell phone calls are careful not to do this in a way that disturbs other coworkers.
Coffee and beverage were very simple for the most part –no luxury!- but seemed to achieve their purpose.
Join us for ‘Workspace-as-a-Service Safari Day’ in the Spring of 2015.
We would like to engage our entire industry in a Workspace-as-a-Service Safari Day in the spring of 2015. Let’s cover 100+ cities worldwide! Take one day out of your busy schedule to join our global field trip and in the process:
- Help gather incredibly valuable data and help understand our changing industry.
- Gain deep insights into the operations of other players in your space.
- Enjoy the highly interactive format and benefit from the experience of hundreds of other participants in real time.
Here is how we would like to organize that day:
- If you are a business center operator then check into a nearby coworking place or incubator for the day and offer other participants of the Safari a flat $40 rate to check into a day office at your center for that same day.
- If you are a coworking operator, check into a nearby business center day office or an incubator and offer participants of the Safari a regular day pass at your center, not to exceed $40 for that day.
- If you work for an incubator, check into a nearby business center day office or a coworking space for the day and offer participants of the Safari your regular coworking day pass at regular cost, not to exceed $40 for the day.
For more information, contact us.