WorkBar Boston

March 24, 2010

Today I’m writing in a shared work space in downtown Boston. The space – WorkBar Boston – is one of a few sites where the concept of co-working has taken hold. In fact, today is the monthly free co-working day at WorkBar and I decided to see what it was like to plant myself here for the day.

In deference to coffee shops and libraries – which offer similar amenities as WorkBar or the Digilounge at Tech Superpowers – the venues that have been set up with co-working in mind are much more valuable to the freelance or contract worker.

For instance, both WorkBar and Digilounge have plugs. Many cafes have begun covering their power outlets to limit the time people can squat in their space and nurse a cafe au lait. Let’s go in to a list of how WorkBar is better than just camping at Panera or Starbucks…

Wifi at WorkBar – fast, free and did I say fast!
Coffee and other treats at WorkBar – plentiful, fresh and provided in a vast variety.
Manners at WorkBar – they’re here. People are respectful of space, both physical and audio.

None of this is true at the local cafe. Wifi can be wonky at best and sometimes costs you money. Panera even shuts you off after 30-60 minutes during peak meal times…even if you’ve made a purchase.

Food at these other venues isn’t free. That’s understandable because these are stores have to make their money via sales. WorkBar and other co-working spaces charge a monthly or daily fee. At WorkBar it’s a reasonable $20 a day and $150 per month.

Finally, you never know what you’re going to run into at the local coffee shop. People are as likely to pour broccoli and cheddar soup on your head and equipment as they are to leave you alone and respect your space. At WorkBar, there are conference rooms (additional cost if you rent space daily, included with a monthly plan), and the staff monitors the behavior of participants to make sure nobody is stepping on other people’s nerves.

All in all, if you need to move yourself away from the kids, pets and other distractions of your home office, WorkBar Boston seems like a simple and smart choice. In a day of pounding the keyboard here, I’ve gotten five blog posts done, a bunch of client work completed and am leaving with a smile on my face.

The only caveat is if you hate people or are unmotivated or easily distracted, this might not be a great solution for you. But then neither are coffee shops or other random spaces.

Where do you do your best work? Share in the comments.