What is Coworking?
Coworking or 'co-working' is a work concept that has grown in popularity in recent years as increasing numbers of people telecommute, freelance and generally work off-site (i.e. not in an office).
In fact, in 2008, the New York Times published a significant feature article on coworking.
The general idea is to provide entrepreneurs and freelancers with a communal workspace that would be both inspiring and cost-effective.
Traditionally, freelancers work from their homes or a coffee shop with WiFi such as Starbucks. However, many people still find that they benefit from the traditional work environment model (showing up in an office every day).
Coworking is paid for by the freelancer or telecommuter, with spaces often rented out by the week or month. It offers office amenities and equipment, interactivity and the social framework of an office, but still allows for an independent approach to the work itself.
What is a Virtual Office?
In the past, the costs of setting up an office were significant. They required rental of a space in a building, an office support staff, and office equipment.
However, in today's era of the DIY small business entrepreneur (spurred by the online revolution), setting up a virtual office is an easy and relatively inexpensive solution that doesn't require overhead and such.
Coworking Office Space and Virtual Offices in LA: BLANKSPACES
"LA technically has a higher percentage of independent professionals than San Francisco, New York, etc.," says Jerome Chang, founder of BLANKSPACES, which offers virtual offices and coworking facilities in the Miracle Mile area (and in a subsequently opened Santa Monica space). "There are probably more due to the entertainment industry," he says, "Technically Spielberg is a freelancer."
Knowing the independent orientation of LA's workplace, and armed with personal needs, Chang set out to spearhead his business which launched in 2008. He dreamed of opening his own architecture firm. "I noticed many people were working out of Starbucks, libraries, etc. so I expanded my concept to accommodate some 30-40 people." And so BLANKSPACES was born.
Coworking and BLANKSPACES: How it Works
- Choose a 'shift' (what time of day you like to work); morning, afternoon or evening. Off-peak shifts are less expensive within the packages offered by BLANKSPACES.
Select from various light or heavier rental plans. Here are a few basic options:
- A monthly office and workstation plan will include amenities like a mailing address, telephone number, lock-able storage and parking.
- The virtual office package includes a mailing address, telephone number and part-time office access.
- The Work-Bar and any day/week passes only include access to the space itself.
What Types of Businesses and Business People Cowork in LA at BLANKSPACES?
The short list is:
- Executive recruiters
- Talent managers
- Digital sales teams
- Internet marketing professionals
- Web developers
- Entertainment production firms
- Real estate agents
- Public relations teams
The Coworking and Virtual Office Network
Undoubtedly, part of the incentive to cowork and rent through virtual office space providers like BLANKSPACES is the possibility of fostering a sense of community and building up a network (though this is not a priority for everyone renting, of course).
BLANKSPACES offers enough office space to accommodate 50 to 60 people at a time. Although Chang says everyone essentially works on his/her own schedule, there are opportunities to connect with other coworkers.
BLANKSPACES has hosted mixers for over 200 people. Informal events, meet-ups and classes also encourage a sense of community. However, says Chang, it's not organized networking, "Networking and collaborating occurs organically by nature of being neighbors and sharing."
Los Angeles (Miracle Mile area):
5405 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
1450 2nd St.
Santa Monica, CA 90401