Hey, AR! Hope you're enjoying your Sunday - although the rain from the remnants of Hurricane Ike are wearing very thin here in wet Chicago.
We count our blessings, however - just a lot of water, no destruction, as you in Coastal Texas have had to endure.
Most Realtors affiliate with offices, and have a "business place" to go to get work done, meet with clients, and see another human being every once in a while.
But many of us work predominantly from home - where it may get a bit lonely every once in a while - except for your kids and playing dogs trying to distract you continuously.
For a few Independent Brokers, and other entrepreneurs and self-employed individuals, Coworking Sites - minimalist office set-ups offering little more than a desk or cubicle, electrical outlet for your laptop, a high-speed Internet connection, and perhaps a conference area - may be an answer.
Jeff Park runs an independent pharmaceutical exporting business on the North Side of Chicago, "In the winter time, I'd go for a week and not speak to anyone other than another voice on the telephone line. It was miserable. I had zero interaction with other people."
Park decided to rent a 1,600 square foot workspace - far more than he needed for his own business - and rent most of it out to other like-minded self-employed individuals as coworking space. His shared workspace in the Ravenswood Neighborhood of Chicago offers non-dedicated desk space, use of a small conference room, electrical outlets, and high-speed Internet - all for a cost of $150 per month. Those needing a dedicated desk pay Park $285/month.
Individuals using the Ravenswood workspace include computer programmers, web site developers, manufacturer's reps and business-to-business salespeople looking for a quiet place to make phone calls, doctoral students writing their dissertation, and a lady running a dog-walking business.
Author Daniel Pink calls these folks the "Free Agent Nation." They can work anywhere, as long as they can plug in their notebook computer, connect to the Internet, and get good cell phone reception. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates the number of one-person businesses jumped from 16.5 Million in 2000, to 20.4 Million five years later, in 2005.
Coworking sites have been established in San Francisco and neighboring communities for several years. The Bay Area is the apparent birthplace coworking. According to the Coworking Community Blog,there are at least 38 coworking workplaces open or preparing to open across the U.S. and in several other countries.
Although some still prefer the privacy of home to a shared coworking environment, many coworkers enjoy the interaction with other like-minded entrepreneurs that the shared work sites provide.
At Cubes & Crayons, Menlo Park CA, office workspace is combined with child day care. "We're finding that our members have really connected," said founder M. F. Chapman, a mother of two young daughters who has seen membership grow to 60 people since she opened the space in January. "Some are coming specifically at the same time so they can take coffee breaks together."
Relevancy to the real estate industry? Perhaps - especially if you work in two or more distinct geographic areas, and you prefer a bit of privacy rather than competing with the noise of the espresso machine at the closest Starbucks.
See our post today @ BlogChicagoHomes.com for more info. We link to Stevenson Swanson's article in the September 8th edition of the Chicago Tribune.
DEAN & DEAN'S TEAM CHICAGO