Co-working and the sharing economy for business travel

November 6, 2015 Mark Dauner

Co-Working-Business-Travel-Sharing-EconomyWhere do you get work done when you’re on business travel? If you’re in a city where you don’t have an office, finding a good place to be productive can be a challenge. Your hotel is the likely first thought, but what if you’re only in town for the day? Say you flew in early in the morning and your meeting was done by 2:00, but your flight won’t leave until 7:30 pm. How do you make the most out of that time? You could get to the airport early. Perhaps as a frequent traveler and club member you have lounge access that will afford you a quiet, comfortable spot to work with Wi-Fi. You can also get day passes to airport lounges in many cases. What if you’re in the middle of the city and the airport is inconvenient? The first thought is to try and find a free corner at the coffee shop. That’s usually crowded. It’s noisy. The tables are usually small and the chairs aren’t always very conducive to productivity.

There is another category of the sharing economy that I haven’t yet covered on the blog: Co-working. It isn’t exactly new. There have been places for reserving a desk, or an office, or a conference room on a short-term basis, for years. As the workforce becomes more and more mobile and people are getting work done outside of traditional office environments, there’s been a great opportunity for entrepreneurs who want to share their available space with those who need a quiet place to work for a few hours. Co-working is typically thought of as a place that virtual employees might use to work in a business environment rather than sitting in their home office, but in certain instances it could be very helpful to business travelers as well.

There are a bunch of different types of co-working spaces. Many of them require memberships and allow you to reserve space by the month. That’s not great for travelers unless you are in the same city enough to make the most of it. Other co-working spaces allow you to reserve space by the hour or the day – a model that is much more conducive to business travel. There are also different types of co-working spaces. With some, you’ll be renting space in a shared office. You might be in a room with others – maybe at the same table. Others may allow you to reserve a private space. One such service, Breather, acts almost like an AirBnB for office space rather than a traditional co-working service. You can get a private, quiet place to hang out, relax, work and get stuff done for as long or short of time as you need. A search of Breather spaces in New York City, for instance, yielded 42 locations with prices ranging from $27 to $75 an hour. That can add up if you’re going to be there for a full day, but if you only need an hour or two to get a break from the hectic city and get some quiet work done, or to rejuvenate before a big meeting, services like Breather can be a good option.

Watch the Chicago Sun Times’ technology columnist Andy Ihnatko discuss his experience with Breather on the MacBreak Weekly podcast.

DesksNear.Me and ShareDesk are other sites that offer similar services, allowing you to book shared space, private office space and meeting space in cities around the US.

Just like every sharing economy service we have talked about (which you can find in our Ultimate Guide to the Sharing Economy), there are things you need to think about before getting work done in any co-working space. Here are a few of them:

  • Find a space that is convenient. Maybe it is near a client’s headquarters, down the street from the convention center you’re going to or near the train or subway station. If you have to travel a great distance to get to your working space, you may have just as well set up shop in Starbucks.
  • Make sure the space has the features you need. Do you need to be on the phone, or working with sensitive information? Then you probably don’t want to be in a shared space that is full of other people working. You might want to opt for a private office space instead.
  • Do you have the connectivity you need? Are you able to print if you need to? Is the Wi-Fi secure? You should keep all of these things in mind wherever you’re working outside of the office, but it’s especially important in a shared space like this.

Have you used co-working space? If so, what sites and services do you use most? If you haven’t, is co-working something you would consider when on business travel? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @TandTNews.

The post Co-working and the sharing economy for business travel appeared first on Travel and Transport.

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