The scoop on how to be a successful remote worker, from the South by Southwest Interactive conference in Austin, TX.
A few days ago, someone asked me, “what’s the point of coworking spaces, anyway?” A valid question, indeed. Why go through the process of setting up in a temporary office when you could just as easily work from home? The thing is, though, that it’s not always easy. Even if we can manufacture complete and utter silence on our couch, we’re still cutting our productivity short— we actually tend work better with some background noise. Also, working from home can keep you from realizing your true potential. Unless we have a dedicated home office, we tend to associate home with relaxation. It’s difficult to bang out your next project on the same couch upon which you eat Pad Thai and watch Stranger Things like take-out royalty. Heading to a local cafe is an obvious option, but “obvious” doesn’t always translate to “best”. It can be cramped or noisy, and the wifi can be terrible. At the end of the day, your local coffee joint is meant to be a caffeination station and a meeting spot for awkward dates.
Sometimes, you need to work somewhere designed for actually being productive. And that’s what coworking spaces are for. If you’re in New York City, we’ve already got you covered; today we’ve decided to show Bean Town some love.
Why not lead off with the city’s original coworking space? Workbar has been around since 2009 and set an example for many of the other spaces around the country. Workbar has central hubs in Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, and Arlington. Each is designed to give you collaboration when you want it and concentration when you need it. Workbar also manages several “spokes” locations. Via a first-of-its-kind collaboration with Staples, Workbar has brought the phenomenon of coworking from the city to the ‘burbs. If Boston is too much of a schlep, you can make your work home in Brighton, Norwood, or Danvers. Dozens of member perks and discounts, as well as collaborations with local business, keep the Workbar community tight and actually excited for Mondays.
The collection of workers in this Downtown Crossing coworking space live up to the Coalition name. Setting up shop here puts you in contact with creative minds across a range of industries. Their Boston location will shower you with good vibes. It’s not easy to beat the and floor-to-ceiling windows that afford sweeping views of the Charles— and we all know how important natural light is to your mental health and productivity. The crew that runs the Coalition ship also organizes social events too, making even the lone freelancer feel like they are a part of something bigger. The space is also a short walk to Boston Common and Boylston Street, so if you’ve got some downtime there isn’t a shortage of things to keep you occupied.
Settle into Idea Space, the boutique coworking space “where work feels like home”. Founder Lauren Mearn has described the Idea Space aesthetic as something “you would want in your living room when you’re curling up on your couch”. The aversion to the traditional office accouterments means you’re in for a cozy and contemporary space that will fit whatever needs you may have. Their membership options are catered to your own work habits, too. Think you’ll only drop in a few times a month? There’s a plan for that. See yourself grinding it out every business day of the week? There’s something for that, too. Their Membership Benefits Program with partners like Uber, Drizly, and Boston Sports Club provides access so a variety of services for a discounted rate.
Cambridge’s Kendall Square is home to this bustling coworking space that’s trying to disrupt your expectations. It welcomes inventive startups, sure, but with no contracts and flexible plans, there’s more than enough room for you, too! NGIN prides itself on fostering a healthy work environment. What does that mean for you? Eye-popping benefits and amenities such as international calling, a free shuttle to the Kendall/MIT T stop, a yoga program, and showers. It combines an open layout for casual collaboration and conversation with soundproof offices for those moments when you need to really get on your grind.
Make Shift Boston
This space has taken a different approach to coworking by focusing on creating an intersection of art, social justice, and mental well-being. Here, you’ll find freelance artists and journalists; documentary-makers and actors. If your work is aligned with making the world a better place, than this may be the spot for you. Because of the intimate setting and diverse backgrounds of the people that work there, Make Shift is ideal for collaboration. The space also serves the local neighborhood of South End, as a gallery that showcases local work. It’s deeply embedded in the community and incorporates South End’s well-being into its own mission statements.
CIC believes in bringing many different startups together under one roof. For them, innovation is a collaborative experience. Your ideas will go much further when they’ve been exposed to the opinions of other problem solvers— not sitting on the desk in your apartment. This space also makes it a point to let their clients know they’re “more than just offices”. In addition to traditional coworking spaces, CIC offers meeting spaces for entrepreneurs to connect and labs for their biotech clients. As a freelancer, you can insert yourself into this vibrant exchange of ideas with a single-employee plan.