As more entrepreneurial folks land freelance gigs or launch startups that let them work from home or anywhere else, they’re turning to coworking. In a study by Clay Spinuzzi, a professor of rhetoric and writing at the University of Texas, the researcher defined coworking spaces as open-plan office environments where “mobile professionals” work alongside unaffiliated professionals for a monthly fee.
“Many independent workers have home offices, but they find they stay in their PJs until noon or the dog barks when they’re on a conference call,” Spinuzzi told the Dallas Morning News in 2012. “They’ve also told me that they get depressed because they don’t meet anyone. They’re really looking for a place where they can do work steadily, building relationships, network and have a place to meet clients.”
Around the world, the coworking phenomenon has grown to more than 100,000 people doing their work at more than 3,000 spaces. In the Austin area, at least 16 coworking spaces are open for business.
Among the Austin coworking spaces is GoLab Austin, which Steve Golab founded in 2010.
“Coworking spaces facilitate collaboration and sharing ideas,” Golab said. “These things lead to more sales, more partnerships and more ventures.”
Case in point: The popular A Beautiful Mess app was created at Link Coworking, according to Liz Elam, founder of the coworking space. Another example: Gaming company GameSalad was born at Conjunctured, said David Walker, co-founder of the coworking space.
Coworking in Austin evolved from Jelly gatherings, which got their start in 2006. Jellys worked like meetups; people gathered every Friday to work together at Cafe Caffeine and Genuine Joe Coffeehouse. But once more than 80 people started attending, entrepreneurs took notice and opened coworking spaces, Walker said. Walker started Austin’s first coworking space in 2008 with Andrew Jones, co-author of “I’m Outta Here: How Coworking Is Making the Office Obsolete.”
While figures aren’t available about the rise of coworking in Austin, Paul O’Brien, a consultant for local startups and coworking spaces, has detected increased demand for coworking as more entrepreneurs move to Austin.
“If a community doesn’t foster a place for people to get together, meaningful ideas aren’t created so startups aren’t developed,” O’Brien said. “What you need to figure out is where the people are that you need to connect with depending on what stage you’re in, who you want to meet and what you want to accomplish.”
Coworking spaces are scattered around the Austin area, so no matter where you live or what your needs are, you’re bound to find a space that works for you.
Here is SpareFoot’s roundup of coworking spaces around Austin.
Membership fee: $550 a month for a dedicated desk
Address: 4031 Guadalupe St., Austin
Membership fee: $150 to $750 a month
Address: 701 Brazos St., 16th Floor, Austin
Membership fee: $10 to $200 a month
Address: 2921 E. 17th St. #4, Austin
Membership fee: $200 to $400 a month
Address: 301 Chicon St., Suite D, Austin
Membership fee: $25 to $275 a month
Address: 1309 E. Seventh St., Austin
Membership fee: $250 to $350 a month
Address: 621 E. Sixth St., Austin
Membership fee: $125 to $300 a month; private offices available for $450 a month
Address: 706B W. Ben White Blvd., Suite 230B, Austin
Membership fee: $200 to $500 a month
Address: 2700 W. Anderson Lane, #205, Austin
Membership fee: Call 512-537-6146 for information
Address: 8204 N. Lamar Blvd., Suite B16, Austin
Membership fee: $500 a month for a dedicated desk
Address: 2125 E. Cesar Chavez St., Austin
Membership fee: $175 a month; drop-ins are $25 a day
Address: 2235 E. Sixth St., Austin
Membership fee: $125 to $400 a month
Address: 3027 N. Lamar Blvd., Suite 202, Austin
Membership fee: $25 to $65 a month
Address: 1210 Rosewood Ave., Austin
Tech Ranch Austin
Tech Ranch Austin
Membership fee: $150 to $300 a month
Address: 9111 Old Jollyville Road, Suite 100, Austin
Membership fee: $95 to $175 a month
Address: 120 Sundance Parkway #350, Round Rock
Membership fee: $150 to $300 a month; drop-ins are $15 a day ($5 on Fridays)
Address: 411 W. Monroe St., Austin