With Rising Rents Come More Virtual Offices and Co-Working Spaces

Young companies and start-ups typically don't have the cash to rent an office, leading to the rise of co-work and virtual work spaces.

Where there's a start-up community, chances are high that real estate prices are close behind. In cities like Boulder, Coloardo, and San Francisco—cities that rank in the top 10 in U.S. regions with the highest ratio of tech start-ups—commercial rent prices can prove a financial obstacle to would-be small businesses.

To get around the prices, cash-strapped entrepreneurs are turning to virtual and co-work spaces to get their businesses off the ground.

“Headphones are the new cubicle,” Duncan Logan, founder of RocketSpace, said in The New York Times. Logan started his San Francisco-based office rental company in 2010, turning over a neglected office building into a shared work space. There, some 580 young companies work side-by-side at long tables, using the office for its centralized location within the city's tech hub and its high-speed Internet access (not to mention the free beer).

And it's not just the U.S. In Hong Kong, where start-ups are rapidly emerging and butting heads with real estate prices, an industry of "more than 10 companies operating from 30 locations containing hundreds of thousands of square feet of flexible, short term office space," has taken root, writes Joshua Steimle, owner of an online marketing firm based in Salt Lake City and a contributor to Forbes.

Started by local entrepreneur Jonathan Buford, the co-work/virtual space model in Hong Kong offers the bare essentials to entrepreneurs at a fraction of the cost of a traditional office space. “But that's just fine with entrepreneurs who only want to pay for what they need,” writes Steimle.

And when it's time for expansion, trends suggest that moving into a physical space may be a move against the grain. According to a study from Telework Research Network, 30 million Americans work from a home office at least once a week. In the next five years, that number is expected to increase another 65 percent. And people are reporting they're happier that way.

Moreover, working from home at least half the time “accounts for savings of more than $10,000 per employee per year... [and] employees save somewhere between $1,600 to $6,800 and 15 days of times once used driving to work or taking public transportation,” according to Forbes.

But what about collaboration? The kind of spontaneous, creative sessions that can prove crucial to a business's success? With teleworking technology growing more sophisticated (check out this list of online collaboration tools), physical collaboration has been ceding ground to the border-less online community.

Dawne Lane, who runs her small business, Virtual Business in a Box, from her stone cottage in Cornwall, England, is reliant on online collaboration and wouldn't have it any other way. Writes Lane for the Guardian: “My team of three other associates, all of whom also run their own home-based businesses, are geographically separated across Devon and Cornwall but we are able to work together through the use of super-fast broadband and the latest technology such as webinars, cloud-based storage, Skype and video calling. This is also means that we can work from almost anywhere and I have been known to be in touch with them and clients while on a beach in Egypt!”

Physical spaces are becoming less relevant in today's small business and collaborative economies. So long as small businesses have the right tools, their commitment to the idea they hope to build will weigh more heavily than the top-floor office suite they can secure. Or, as Rob Bellmar, senior vice president of conferencing and collaboration at InterCall, puts it: “To be a leader today, success starts with making 'I'm going to work' a state of being rather than a physical destination. Empower staff by giving them the tools they need to break down whatever barriers stand in their way. Then you will be prepared to take advantage of the collaboration economy.”

Photo via (cc) Flickr user Will Keightely

Julian Meehan

Young leaders from around the world are gathering at the United Nations Headquarters in New York Saturday to address arguably the most urgent issue of our time. The Youth Climate Summit comes on the heels of an international strike spearheaded by Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden, who arrived in New York via emissions-free sailboat earlier this month.

Translated from Swedish, "berg" means "mountain," so it may feel fated that a young woman with Viking blood in her veins and summit in her name would be at the helm. But let's go out on a limb and presume Thunberg, in keeping with most activists, would chafe at the notion of pre-ordained "destiny," and rightly so. Destiny is passive — it happens to you. It's also egomaniacal. Change, on the other hand, is active; you have to fight. And it is humble. "We need to get angry and understand what is at stake," Thunberg declared. "And then we need to transform that anger into action."

This new generation of activists' most pernicious enemy is denial. The people in charge — complacent politicians and corporation heads who grossly benefit from maintaining the status quo — are buffered from real-life consequences of climate change. But millions of people don't share that privilege. For them, climate change isn't an abstract concept, but a daily state of emergency, whether it comes in the form of "prolonged drought in sub-Saharan Africa…devastating tropical storms sweeping across Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific…[or] heatwaves and wildfires," as Amnesty International reportsare all too real problems people are facing on a regular basis.

RELATED: Greta Thunberg urges people to turn to nature to combat climate change

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet

Millions of people in over 150 countries across the globe marched for lawmakers and corporations to take action to help stop climate change on Friday, September 20.

The Climate Strikes were organized by children around the world as an extension of the of the "Fridays for Future" campaign. Students have been walking out of classrooms on Fridays to speak out about political inaction surrounding the climate crisis.

"We need to act right now to stop burning fossil fuels and ensure a rapid energy revolution with equity, reparations and climate justice at its heart," organizers say.

There's no doubt the visual images from the marches send a powerful message to those on the ground but especially those watching from around the world. GOOD's own Gabriel Reilich was on the scene for the largest of the Climate Strikes. Here are 18 of the best signs from the Climate Strike march in New York City.

Keep Reading Show less

September 20th marks the beginning of a pivotal push for the future of our planet. The Global Climate Strike will set the stage for the United Nations Climate Action Summit, where more than 60 nations are expected to build upon their commitment to 2015's Paris Agreement for combating climate change.

Millions of people are expected to take part in an estimated 4,000 events across 130 countries.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
via Apple

When the iPhone 11 debuted on September 10, it was met with less enthusiasm than the usual iPhone release. A lot of techies are holding off purchasing the latest gadget until Apple releases a phone with 5G technology.

Major US phone carriers have yet to build out the infrastructure necessary to provide a consistent 5G experience, so Apple didn't feel it necessary to integrate the technology into its latest iPhone.

A dramatic new feature on the iPhone 11 Pro is its three camera lenses. The three lenses give users the the original wide, plus ultrawide and telephoto options.

Keep Reading Show less
via I love butter / Flickr

We often dismiss our dreams as nonsensical dispatches from the mind while we're deep asleep. But recent research proves that our dreams can definitely affect our waking lives.

People often dream about their significant others and studies show it actually affects how we behave towads them the next day.

"A lot of people don't pay attention to their dreams and are unaware of the impact they have on their state of mind," said Dylan Selterman, psychology lecturer at the University of Maryland, says according to The Huffington Post. "Now we have evidence that there is this association."

Keep Reading Show less