St. Louis Coworking Space Experience


color in my workspace
Image by Tojosan via Flickr

Coworking is a hot topic across the US, and the fever is hitting St. Louis. Fresh on the scene is the aptly name St. Louis Coworking located in the Shell Building in Central downtown.

What is coworking?

Coworking is a style of work which involves a shared working environment, sometimes an office, yet independent activity. Unlike in a typical office environment, those coworking are usually not employed by the same organization. (quote from Wikipedia.org)

Initial Impressions

I had the opportunity to attend the one month anniversary. Tours and refreshments were the order of the evening. Unfortunately none of the coworking members were busy working. Some were in attendance to network but the space was otherwise just for show.

Post-industrial with a touch of workshop and lounge, the space gave me a strong sense of getting things done. Looks can be deceiving as well as first impressions. I decided to go back a few weeks later to give the space a hands on review.  What follows are my work-a-day thoughts.

Coworking Experience

Arriving in the morning I was greeted by Rosa, one of the floor managers for the space. She made small talk, asked me if I was staying, and if I’d be joining them for the pancake breakfast. Yes, yes, and yes!

Rosa told me to make myself comfortable and she’d check on me later.

Dominated by more permanent work spaces, there is still plenty of open seating for drop-ins. I selected a table at a window and set up to work.

The picture above is a snapshot of that area. Spreading out was easy; there was room for both laptops, and a power outlet in the wall. Nearby was a power strip just in case.

Luckily Rosa swung by as I was setting up, and gave me the network password.

Before I say more, I have to mention that the view was captivating. I enjoyed sitting at a window and watching the day go by bit by bit.

Working went well as I alternated between day job work, blogging, and weeding the email down.  The comfort of an open space, with low noise and lower traffic made logging issues, following up on tickets, and keeping the peace from a distance all the better.

I was able to put in the ear plugs without threat of someone interrupting. The lighting was good. To top it off, the network was reliable.

Along with work and email, I managed to snag some quiet reading time as well.  Often at home distractions slow or prevent a steady reading pace.  Only a desire to beat traffic made me pack up when I did.

But wait, there’s more!

Pancakes and networking every Friday it seems.  I happened to be there on Friday and had fresh made pancakes with berries and other fruits on the side. Hot coffee was brewed and drew other coworkers around.  This is where relationships are born.

Beyond being an place to work the space is about networking.  Pancakes may seem special, though throughout the month events are hosted in the evenings, and even off site.  A speed-networking night is coming up. The St. Louis Coworking team puts events like this on with an open invitation to other downtown St. Louis workers, and drop-ins like me.

Space for more.

Networking is fun, how much cooler is a fashion shoot though?! Boxers, a local undergarment boutique, holds model shoots in the coworking space.

The team is on the lookout for local St. Louis businesses to give the space a spin. Got a networking idea? Need to do a video shoot?  How about hold a meeting in an unconventional space?  Give the folks at St. Louis Coworking a shout, saintlouiscoworking@gmail.com.

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