Coworking spaces are a hot trend in the real estate industry. According to the 2017 Global Coworking Survey, there are now over 13,800 coworking spaces worldwide, with an estimated total of 27,000 cropping up by 2020. There is a lot of demand, and not everyone is going to sign up for a membership for a coworking space that can cost hundreds of dollars -- often, people may just head on over to a local café with wifi. However, some cafés are now fighting back against the influx of these space-hogging, laptop-toting coworking armies, by cancelling their wifi altogether.
Instead, remote professionals in a growing number of cities can now choose another kind of membership, one that allows them to work out of a bar or restaurant during those slower business hours during the day, before they revert back to serving diners and bar patrons during the evening.
It's an interesting idea that brings extra income to owners of these establishments, and provides a cheaper option to coworkers. As we hear over at Bloomberg News and Business Insider, in popular coworking cities like New York City, there are over 2,000 empty restaurants during the day. Local startups like Spacious are tapping into these under-utilized spaces, which might be a boon to remote workers who might not reliably find a spot to work in a popular café. As Shelly Hagan writes over at Bloomberg:
The model of converting dining rooms or bars into shared offices is attractive to restaurant owners because it offers a new source of revenue during the work day, when their spaces are usually left dormant. It’s especially appealing to the food-service industry, which has seen its already-low margins squeezed. “Walking by a coffee shop and seeing everybody piled on top of each other, and seeing a beautiful empty restaurant next door—it just seemed to be a natural fit,” said Preston Pesek, co-founder and chief executive officer of Spacious.
So far, Spacious is managing a network of seven restaurant-coworking office hybrids in NYC, charging people who sign up USD $95 per month to access them all. Day passes are also available, with all locations operating on regular office hours. Spacious provides members with extra-fast wireless Internet connections, tea, coffee, as well as a host at each location to help members check in. Members can hold business meetings at these locations for free for guests for the first hour -- afterwards, it's $6 per hour, maxing out at $29 per day.
The same concept is being plied by competitors like WorkEatPlay, where office space is being hosted in high-end restaurants that can offer members delicious food and full service. And it's not just New York: cities like Austin, Sydney, Melbourne and Tel Aviv are now home to similar startups such as Switch Cowork, TwoSpace and Pub Hub.
Adapting bars and restaurants into daytime offices offers a new twist to the coworking trend that is honestly quite intriguing, and possible further evidence of the coffe-shopification of everything. For starters, you can't argue with the significantly lower membership fees that would allow remote professionals to still network and be less isolated, while also having access to a collection of high-end spaces with most of the perks of a dedicated coworking space, and without the hassle of waiting for your application to be reviewed. There's also the advantage of working out of a space with a beautiful ambiance that doesn't feel like a cookie-cutter office space. And best of all: being able to turn off the computer and partake right away when happy hour rolls around. Read more over at Bloomberg News and Business Insider.