Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer made news last week when she proclaimed that all employees working from home would soon be called back and forced to work from their Yahoo-provided offices to boost productivity. Sort of.
Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home. We need to be one Yahoo!, and that starts with physically being together… Being a Yahoo isn’t just about your day-to-day job, it is about the interactions and experiences that are only possible in our offices. Read more
When Ryan and I lived in Missouri we had this thing completely alien to San Francisco. It’s called “space”. There I converted one of the bedrooms into my office with large L-shaped desk, four monitors, a professional quality printing and scanning rack in the closet with a couch for relaxing and 30 gallon aquarium. It was magnificent and I was magnificently productive. But in San Francisco that 160 square foot office became a 60 square foot space in our bedroom. Our opposite sleep schedules meant Ryan would be sleeping when I needed to use my office.
I eventually moved upstairs and into the kitchen. I’d gone from two computers and four screens to just one computer and its 15-inch screen. On a plus side, I had two magnums of champagne to prop up my Skype call lights (shout out to J Vineyards and Winery). Other times I’d work from coffee shops but that meant I had to totally pack up if I needed a refill, wanted lunch or needed to use the restroom. And don’t even get me started on the state of public wifi and power outlets.
After dealing with the issues I found working from home and subsequent decrease in productivity, I decided I had to make a change. So I went on a search for a co-working space. After checking out PARISOMA, NextSpace and The Hatchery, among others, I settled on WeWork.
Thus far I couldn’t be happier about my decision to go back into the office and work with the other awesome people at WeWork. Productivity is up and I’m actually excited about going to work. Perhaps Marissa Mayer really is onto something!
Before I get into why I chose WeWork, let me layout why I didn’t choose the others.
Just a few stops down, this is the closest co-working space to me. It’s had a great location and interesting events were intriguing and their rates were slightly cheaper ($295/m) but their workspace was really just a bunch of ping-pong tables. The person who gave me my tour of the facilities (twice) seemed to be disinterested in me joining. She implied that their “first come first served” seating sometimes runs out. She complained that people stored their bikes on the racks too long. She always seemed rushed and didn’t make me feel like an equal. Plus their workspace was relatively small, dark and uninviting.
The guys at both of the NextSpace locations I checked out were great. However, the space at NextSpace left a lot to be desired, especially at the rate of $330/m which was $30 more than WeWork. The lights are mostly fluorescent tubes, the flooring was berber carpet and it just felt less like a San Francisco startup environment and more like a thrown-together co-working space. The private offices felt like prisons, small, dark and no windows. There was another floor with hardwoods and natural lighting that was beautiful but the main area was drab and unexciting. You first impression isn’t a great one.
When I was getting my tour of Hatchery I got the feeling she was interviewing me just as much as I was examining the space they provided. Don’t get me wrong, I really liked the person who gave me my tour (the sister-in-law to Nancy Pelosi!). I really liked the people who also worked there and the amenities were nice enough and the space open enough. Many of the companies working out of there were ones I recognized and some of them I could see partnering with. I really liked everything about The Hatchery, everything except the price. At $575-625 a month it’s twice the price of WeWork.
Here is a handy-dandy pricing chart for all of the co-working spaces mentioned.
|Shared Desk||Dedicated Desk||Private Office|
Now why did I choose WeWork? Oh so many reasons.
WeWork’s price was right at $300/m with a $300 deposit and $50 initiation fee. My first month was $650 but each following month will be $300. But before I knew the price I noticed something remarkable. Just like my guide at The Hatchery knew who sat at each desk, Tim at WeWork knew everyone’s name and what they were up to. As he guided me through the space we must have stopped to say something to six people.
There was a solid sense of community. People were talking, laughing, getting things done. Then there is the space itself. It’s huge, bright and full of natural light, comfortable and accommodating.
Where NextSpace had carpet, WeWork has beautiful, original hardwoods. Where PARISOMA had desks out of pingpong tables, WeWork has long solid bamboo desks. Where The Hatchery had a kitchen with coffee and tea, WeWork has six kitchens (best guess) with coffee and tea.
Here are a few key amenities at WeWork:
- Unique interior design and finishes
- Conference rooms
- Private phone booths
- Screening room (giant 3D HDTV, surround sound and comfy couches)
- Xbox game room
- Break room/lounge
- Organic coffee (delicious btw)
- Purified water
- Prohibition Ale beer on tap
- Indoor bike storage
- B+W / color prints, copy and scan
- Weekly events
- Catered breakfast events for the first Friday of each month
- Dog friendly!
Also the Internet here is 3-6x faster than that found at the other locations I checked out. I have a connection as fast as 150 Mbps with a 4 millisecond latency. Insanity!
Since moving here I’ve become remarkably more productive. Enough so that I’ve been able to post on this blog and my photography blog each day! It’s been years since I did that. Twice Ryan and I have come here late at night to take advantage of the awesome screening room for some Netflix and takeout. The beer is a delicious addition.
When I’m ready to grow out of the co-share desk area and get a permanent desk, that’s easily done and costs just an additional $150, still cheaper than The Hatchery. If I ever want a totally private and lockable office (they are beautiful) that’s $675 a month.
The people and startups that are working here are also super cool. I’m planning on doing a series of posts highlighting the startups that interest me the most. First up is this company called Syntellia and their absolutely incredible iPhone app Fleksy.
Moving out of my home office and into one at WeWork is one of the smartest decisions I’ve made so far in 2013. I can’t wait to see where it helps me go through increased productivity, networking with the other great entrepreneurs and everything else that comes from playing well with others. Who knows, maybe this move is what I needed to expand my business. You hear that Amber and Kevin?