Ten years ago, it was a term that no one had heard of, but now, it's becoming the new "normal" for Toronto's entrepreneurs and freelancers. So what exactly is "Coworking"?
Coworking is the creation of inspiring, collaborative, and community driven workspaces that are drawing independent professionals out of their home offices, and into a creative and welcoming work environment. Running your business in a shared space has many advantages. Typically, the reduced overhead cost is the driving factor. A monthly membership costs significantly less than a professional would pay for a traditional office lease, and the perks that go along with it are invaluable.
Coworking gives likeminded professionals the opportunity to network in a less structured environment. It's an excellent source for referral business, and a great way to connect with others who offer complimentary services. Best of all, it allows independent professional to escape the isolation of a home environment, and many of them offer 24/7 access.
There are already over a dozen coworking spaces scattered across downtown. MakeWorks, located on College Street near Dufferin, is a 10,000 sqft creative studio surrounding by boutiques and bars. Their members are a mix of hardware start-ups, designers, developers and freelancers. MakeWorks is also known as Canada's leading shared research and development lab. Members can create their own prototypes and electronics all under one roof. Additional hands-on resources include 3D printing, ceramics and woodworking.
BrightLane, located on King West in the Fashion District, boasts 30,000 sqft of inspiring space spread out across three levels. It is pet friendly and offers member access to a rooftop terrace with a BBQ. Educational workshops are offered on a regular basis and there are 11 meeting rooms available for presentations and group work.
For Toronto's local artists, Creative Blueprint is the perfect place to connect with like-minded individuals. Their coworking space, known as the Foundry, is located on Bathurst near Dundas. They offer full and part-time memberships as well as private individual offices for rent. In addition, they have art studios available. Studio renters enjoy the added bonus of a rooftop patio, café, and an art gallery. The gallery can also be rented for private events or week-long exhibitions.
If you are a freelancer and feel like the walls of your home office are closing in around you, book a tour at one of Toronto's fabulous coworking spaces. Some facilities offer day passes so you can try it out before you commit to a monthly subscription. You never know what kind of opportunities could come your way when you move your career into a shared space.