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Coworking spaces are neutral, membership-based offices shared by workers or groups that work independently of a corporate office. These co-working spaces are typically located centrally in Chicago, which bodes well with freelancers, independent contractors, startups, remote employees, gig workers, and other groups looking for the amenities of a traditional office at a fraction of the cost.
Using a coworking space gives you a professional edge and builds a sense of community. It also helps boost productivity, while enabling you to connect with like-minded professionals and organizations. Turnkey amenities, affordability, and flexibility are, of course, their biggest draw.
For Windy City-based professionals and companies looking to encourage remote working and cut costs, coworking spaces in Chicago are a feasible option for office space. No matter what you do, the Chicago coworking scene offers a wide variety of workspaces to match your specific needs.
Your choice includes creative hubs for designers, copywriters, and tech professionals; quiet oases for writing; conventional coworking spaces for teams, freelancers, and much more. Below, we’ve compiled a list of the best Chicago coworking spaces, helping you pick the perfect site for your desired amenities and budget.
What Are the Benefits of Using a Coworking Space?
For freelancers, evolving businesses, startups, and small teams, coworking spaces are proven to be a viable option for working space, and it’s easy to see why:
– Coworking spaces in Chicago are very affordable
Perhaps the most obvious reason to opt for coworking spaces is that they’re a reasonably affordable option for people and businesses with limited budgets. The cost of leasing, setting up, and managing a conventional office space can be prohibitive, especially when you consider other cost factors like front desk, security, etc.
Sure, many different types of coworking spaces are popping up around Chicago. They range from boot-strapped and minimal to luxurious and high-end. But, in general, these coworking spaces are far more wallet-friendly than traditional office spaces with similar amenities and square footages.
The average monthly cost of a coworking space with a dedicated desk is around $129 (which offers each member roughly 100 square feet of space), while the average going rate for a private office space is $48 per square foot. That’s a steep cost difference right there, with some core Class A office spaces in areas like Fulton Market averaging around $53 per square foot.
– Coworking spaces bolster a sense of community
Social by design, coworking spaces are all about building a thriving community – an enabling place where you can combine productive work with networking and socializing. You’ll get to meet, commingle, and connect with other ambitious and like-minded professionals.
With an increased sense of community, you’ll be able to not only beat the isolation associated with working from home but also get inspired, grow your network, and even collaborate with others. And in a place with familiar faces and regulars, you’d be surprised how far the community will go to build one another and make sure everyone succeeds.
– Coworking spaces promote career-advancing and networking
When you’re regularly rubbing shoulders with like-minded individuals, it’s amazing how quickly new opportunities will start rolling in organically. You don’t need to get out of the coworking space to professional and business advice. With so much in common with other coworkers, networking and career advancing will be a breeze.
The most popular coworking spaces in Chicago provide event areas where coworkers who rent space can gather. Networking events and classes in event spaces provide plenty of opportunities for you to connect, share ideas, and have a blast with other coworking members.
– Escape the isolation of working from home
With more and more places encouraging their employees to work either part-time or full-time at home, isolation has become a major concern. It can really become lonely pushing papers, answering phone calls, and replying to emails in an isolated corner office in your home.
While remote working is convenient and comfortable, you can easily find yourself falling into a rut. Being around others is good for creativity, fosters a sense of community, and is good for your spirit. That’s why it makes sense to use a coworking space from time to time to get outside of your home and beat the loneliness of working from home.
– It’s all about flexibility
Coworking spaces enable freelancers, startups, and small businesses that cannot predict their office space needs to work and scale up or down as needed. The level of agility and flexibility that comes with a coworking space is unbeatable. You may sign a five-year lease for 500-sqft office space only for your growing company to require 2,000 sq ft of workspace in a year or so.
In coworking spaces in Chicago, you don’t need to sign a long-term lease. They offer monthly, weekly, or day passes that let you access the shared office space. This helps you stay flexible and retain your mobility as you get your startup off the ground.
– Move-in ready office/workspace
Top coworking spaces in Chicago aren’t just easy on your bank account, they’re also move-in ready. The spaces are fully furnished, fitted with the necessary office equipment, and connected to the internet. You don’t have to buy furniture, hire an office fitting company, do wiring, and set up the whole place. Everything has been set up and is ready for use.
You can just show up and start working without any delays. Plus, you’ll likely get access to conference rooms, interview booths, meeting rooms, and even private offices. The best Chicago coworking spaces also provide you with an eclectic range of amenities and services, such as a personalized physical address, phone answering services, kitchen, catering, and so on.
These amenities are all meant to make your professional and coworking life easy and hassle-free. Even in these precarious pandemic times, coworking spaces are devoted to providing you with a safe, well-sanitized office environment with social distancing measures put in place.
– Coworking spaces help boost productivity
This is particularly the case for freelancers and other professionals working from home. With pets, kids, and house chores always stealing your attention, it can be hard to be productive at home. By getting out of the house and setting up shop at the coworking space, you can completely tune in to “work mode” and become more productive.
The best thing is that most coworking spaces in Chicago offer around-the-clock access. So, whether you want to pop in at 8 am or 10 pm, you can rest assured that you’ll have what you need to get the job done.
– Coworking helps you step out of your comfort zone
Whether you’re a copywriter, mobile app developer, or consultant, there isn’t much you can gain from staying in your home comfort zone. It’s comfortable alright, but it’s not optimized for realizing your best potential.
You will surely take some time to get used to the social, busy, and open-plan aspects of coworking. Once you have gotten the hang of the dynamic working environment, the perks of working in a different setting and meeting new, adventurous people every day can certainly rub off on you.
Above all, immersing yourself in different perspectives, breaking out of your comfort zone, and trying new stuff can boost your entrepreneurship and innovation spirit dramatically. This, in turn, may result in more flexibility, more resilience, and more success in your professional life.
Why Are Co-Working Spaces Gaining Traction?
Not long ago, the idea of coworking was largely a preserve of the creative community, where they shared studio space, equipment, and tools. Today, coworking spaces seem ubiquitous, with well over 5,000 coworking spaces found across major cities in the US alone.
The global coworking space market is estimated at a little shy of $8 billion and projected to grow at a healthy CAGR of 12 percent to hit $12 billion by 2025. The big question is: why are coworking spaces gaining more and more traction?
It all comes down to the price. In our humble opinion, the low-cost tag is something that appeals the most to small business owners, freelancers, and other fans of coworking spaces. The price of coworking spaces in Chicago kicks off at around $300 per month. Ten-day passes go for about $150, while the daily cost is around $20.
However, if you were to rent a traditional office space and have your name on a lease, you’re looking at a hefty monthly bill of well over $3,000 for a 250-square-foot medium private Class A office in neighborhoods like the Loop. That’s easily ten times more than you might pay for a coworking space in a month. And that doesn’t factor in other expenses like furnishings, security, and setup costs. Clearly, there are tons of savings you’ll make by switching to coworking space, and you can use that money to take your venture to the next level.
Variety is the name of the game when it comes to coworking spaces. The modern workspace is overflowing with creativity and diversity, with a seismic shift in the way we work being brought by new startups and entrepreneurs. Following in those footsteps, coworking spaces have made diversity their best-selling point – you’ll be hard-pressed to find two similar coworking spaces.
That’s exactly what is driving the craze around shared office space. There’s something for everyone, from the writer who loves their silence to the effervescent entrepreneur pitching ideas to the creatives looking to get as much external input as possible.
Collaboration and networking are at the crux of coworking. Millennials who make up the biggest chunk of the active labor force are social bugs who thrive when surrounded by a beehive of activity, genuine interactions, and other people. Turns out, that’s precisely what shared office spaces offer, as they create a collaborative environment where professionals from all walks of life and every kind of career come together to build an enabling community.
It’s been proven that coworking boosts productivity, energy, and motivation. While privacy may be an issue in these shared settings, coworking spaces allow people to escape from the dreaded cubicle fever. And if you’re a freelancer or someone who works from home, it can be hard to muster motivation, energy, and focus. You need to continue delivering great work while stuck alone in your home office.
Shared office space has the ability to boost one’s spirit, much of which comes from the added sense of community. There’s always a whiff of energy, motivation, and productivity in the atmosphere when you’re in a space filled with ambitious and driven professionals. It’s almost impossible to procrastinate and you’ll end up getting a lot more work done.
More and more people are looking for flexibility in their workspaces. Traditional office spaces tie you down to a long, costly lease that doesn’t necessarily reflect your company’s bottom line. Freelancers, independent contractors, entrepreneurs, and startups love the flexibility of coworking space, further fueling the demand for these shared spaces.
How Much Do Coworking Spaces in Chicago Cost?
Each of the co-working spaces in Chicago is almost unique (no two are exactly the same), and the cost does vary greatly from one site to the next depending on an assortment of factors. City-wide, the average cost for renting a coworking space in Chicago ranges between $300 and $600 per month.
The real cost will be different when you factor in aspects like:
Type of coworking space you opt for – Coworking spaces in Chicago offer a mix of well-equipped shared spaces and private offices, along with meeting rooms, interview booths, conference rooms, food prep areas, exclusive networking events, and an array of other free amenities.
Most coworking spaces with a private office for 1-2 workers will set you back anywhere from $315-$650 per month. If you switch to an open-plan coworking space with a desk for a person, the monthly rate dials down to around $250.
How you plan to use the office space – If you’re looking for barely anything beyond a professional address for your business, you can opt for virtual office packages that start from around $75 per month. In most Chicago coworking spaces, this will grant you access to the physical office space and amenities eight to ten times a month.
How frequently you plan to use the office space – It’s worth reiterating that flexibility is what makes coworking spaces so attractive to Chicagoans. You can choose to use the facility every day of the month or occasionally. There’s likely a plan available to suit your specific needs.
If you wish to be charged a daily fee for when you use the shared office space, you can expect to pay from $20 per day. Weekly, ten-day, and 12-day passes are also available at affordable rates.
Location of the coworking space – Some shared offices in high-end or luxurious downtown neighborhoods are, of course, pricier than those located in the outskirts of Chicago. A standard coworking space in the heart of the Loop, for instance, will cost you around $475 per month per desk, while a similar shared office space in Logan Square will set you back $175 per month.
Are Coworking Spaces Useful?
Yes, coworking spaces are super useful, especially for self-employed people like freelancers, independent contractors, technologists, entrepreneurs, and those who work out of their homes. While shared office spaces do have their downsides like a reduced sense of privacy, too many distractions from other members, and limited space, the pros far outweigh the cons.
How are they useful?
Can You Rent a Coworking Space for Days or Weeks?
Most people that use coworking spaces in Chicago rent on a month-to-month basis, but you can rent the shared office on a daily, weekly, or even hourly basis. You don’t have to rent the space for a whole month, especially if it’s not within your budget.
Best of all, most Chicago shared office spaces allow clients to take out ten-day, 12-day, and even 15-day passes. For minimal use, you can rent it as a virtual office space, so you can have a business address and still do the rest of your work elsewhere (perhaps in the comfort of your own home).
What Companies and People Use Coworking Spaces?
Coworking spaces are unsurprisingly popular in the world of freelancing, entrepreneurship, and startups. However, today’s coworking spaces aren’t just for startups and freelancers looking for a space to settle down and get some work done. People and companies that use coworking spaces include:
Remote workers and digital nomads – The gig economy has created a barrage of contract employees that includes copywriters, graphic designers, programmers, publishers, consultants, website developers, and so on. Coworking office spaces have also become a magnet for virtual assistants, accountants, data entry workers, and other remote workers. This group comprises 19 percent of coworking space users in the US.
Not-for-profit organizations – NGOs often work with lean budgets, and coworking spaces are a viable solution for their flexible office space needs. The best news is that many top coworking spaces in Chicago offer some discounts and arrangements for charities and other non-profits.
Enterprises – When you visit a coworking space, don’t be surprised to meet some people working for some of the biggest corporations, including Fortune 500 brands like Nike. This is especially true for enterprises that are looking to establish their presence in a new location. The coworking space serves as a satellite workspace until they set up a more permanent, dedicated location.
Small to medium enterprises (SMEs) – SMEs that don’t mind sharing office space with other like-minded businesses can save serious money by using coworking spaces. After all, they don’t have the funds to rent, furnish, and manage a fully-fledged office floor. It’s no wonder small and medium-sized enterprises make up more than a third of coworking space clients.
What Are Common Co-Working Space Amenities?
Coworking spaces in Chicago offer a broad range of amenities. The most common amenities include: