A Virtual Office Worker’s Utility Belt of Shared Environments
Take one part Regus, mix in a little PowerSPACE, season to taste with Grind and New Work City and accompany with an occasional (former) LooseCube, this was my personal recipe for creating the ultimate affordable and flexible office space in NYC.
As a virtual professional who constantly traverses the far reaches of Manhattan’s island on a daily basis, the need for a place to “touch down” and get work done is an ongoing challenge. Whether to have a cup of coffee, use a restroom, rest my legs, charge my devices or simply to clear my inboxes, there is always the need to touch down quickly and conveniently no matter where I am. Yes, there was a time when coffee shops and hotel lobbies and business centers were a suitable alternative, but let’s face it, sometimes you need a little more privacy and professionalism. Fortunately, if you’re willing to pay for it, there are many solutions available.
Personally, I rely on a mixture of the following types of facilities: a) executive suites, b) coworking spaces and c) shared office environments. Here are the details on how this all works:
First and foremost, none of this would be possible without my devices, a laptop (Dell XPS 14Z), smartphone (Samsung Galaxy S3) and mobile internet access (AT&T with an assist from a Sierra Networks device). But taking those for granted, let’s move on to physical spaces.
Executive Suites, include such brands as BevMax Office Centers, Carr Workplaces, HQ (now Regus), QuickSuites, Regus, Select Office Suites, Silver Suites, Sunshine Suites or Virgo Business Centers. Wow, that’s a mouthful, hope I didn’t forget anybody, but chances are good that I did. In fact, these types of centers are so prevalent (over 100+ in Manhattan alone), that some of the larger commercial landlords have gotten into the game. Two of the larger REIT’s (Vornado and S.L. Green) now have competing brands in PowerSPACE and eMerge212, respectively. Most of these environments are corporate in look and feel and utilize a “pay-as-you-go” model, which offers flexibility at a premium price and are suitable for smaller offices and/or regional sales teams.
However, what many tenants don’t know is that there is a virtual option at many of these providers. I currently have a Virtual Office Plan (VOP) at PowerSPACE’s 330 Madison Avenue location, which is conveniently located one block from Grand Central Terminal. VOP’s at PowerSPACE start at $200.00/month. Additionally, I carry a Regus Virtual Office Businessworld Gold membership card, which gives me access to the 29+ locations across the city (as well as the other 1,200 across the globe). I usually call ahead to gain building access, then drop in and use either the business center, kitchen facilities or a new addition, the stand alone, egg-shaped pods near the reception areas. Virtual office membership with Regus starts at $49.00/month.
Coworking spaces include such locations as AlleyNYC, Grind, NewWorkCity, Fueled and others. I am currently a member of Grind (419 Park Avenue South) and spend several parts of many days a week at Grind. Grind offers lockers and free coffee to members as well as a bright, open plan installation with cool Vitra furniture. Not only is the furniture sleek and efficient at Grind, but so is the co-working environment. Ninety minutes with the earbuds on at Grind can easily help me knock out half a day’s workload. Membership at Grind costs $500.00/month.
I am also a community member at NewWorkCity which entitles me to intermittently use their facility, attend their events and receive their member newsletter. I am an intermittent visitor to Tribeca, so at $30.00/month, it is well worth the expense. AlleyNYC offers membership for $450.00/month, which is very compelling, but for a variety of reasons, I opted not to join. Fueled, located in the Foursquare building (568 Broadway) in Soho, offers a membership for $650.00/month.
Lastly, but certainly not leastly, there was LooseCubes. LooseCubes was a member-only service that matched hosts and guests of unutilized, hence “loose”, workstations across Manhattan. The beauty of LooseCubes was that I could access their website, find the closest availability via their mapping software and secure a reservation all on my mobile phone. (Many times I’ve arrived at the host offices before they’ve even seen my reservation in their inbox.) They’re gone, and I miss them.
There you have it…my personal facilities cocktail. For under $800/month, I have access to two co-working spaces, thirty executive suites and formerly, countless third-party shared environments all in New York City. Cheers to that!