Austin is a bustling city known for its tech, art, music, and film scenes, and according to an analysis by CommercialCafé, it is the number one city in the United States for start-ups. Affordable coworking spaces in Austin are a big culprit, with new venues popping up year after year.
The expansion of Austin’s coworking spaces was propelled by the COVID-10 pandemic when remote working became the new normal seemingly overnight. While some people loved this newfound sense of freedom, others missed the structure and community that comes with a traditional working environment.
Finding a compromise between the freedom of remote work and the community approach to office working is where coworking spaces come in.
In this article, you’ll learn about the current working environment in Austin during the pandemic and how to choose the perfect coworking space in the city for your needs (and budget!).
What is a coworking space?
Coworking space is best defined as office space sharing, typically by self-employed, independent professionals who prefer working in a collaborative setting around other people rather than solo. For instance, affordable coworking space in Austin enables entrepreneurs, sole proprietors, and remote office employees to come together in a communal setting.
This sounds great, but why is coworking space so important?
For some, working alone is lonely. You may never see another person all day, and it can sometimes be challenging to stay motivated. While working without others around to distract would suggest higher productivity, ironically, this lack of motivation can lead to distractions which cause productivity to drop. Remote employees can also feel disconnected from their team or company, making it challenging to ward off feelings of isolation.
Coworking space provides a venue for anyone wanting the synergy of community, usually paid for daily or monthly for the ultimate flexibility. Depending on the coworking space provider, this “rent” pays for a workspace and access to common areas, such as breakrooms, conference rooms, parking, and even an outdoor area. Prices will vary by company, city, and area of town, but coworking space is typically quite affordable.
The Rise of Coworking Space Popularity
Back in March, when the pandemic began to reveal itself more widely, no one ever realized the work-from-home mandate would last more than a few weeks. People without dedicated home offices have had little time to turn dining rooms or other house areas into makeshift personal workspaces.
While the new office setting may have been a nice change of pace at first, some are now itching to break free from the monotony.
Working from home has its benefits (pajamas, anyone?), but it offers no separation between work time and free time, between office hours and family hours. There’s not even a commute to offer decompression time. It’s like Groundhog Day. Nothing changes, even the faces, if there are any other faces around.
For these reasons, coworking space just makes sense.
Coworking is a relatively new but fast-growing trend in the United States, going from just 14 coworking spaces in 2007 to over 4,000 in 2017. The Statista Research Department predicts that the number of coworking spaces in the United States will reach well over 6,000 spaces by 2022, its popularity undoubtedly propelled by the pandemic.
As the end of 2021 draws near and vaccine rollouts have reached great success, workers are searching for the future of work and to get out of their groundhog dens. But not all shared spaces are the same. People are looking specifically for affordable coworking space in Austin to get the benefits of shared space without all the costs associated with a long-term lease.
With big companies like Shopify leading the way, it’s not hard to believe that coworking is the future. Quite frankly, work as we know it may never be the same, but that provides an opportunity for amazing new ways of working to arise.
The Demand For Affordable Coworking Space in Austin
Austin, the lively city that prides itself in the kindness of strangers, the inspirational backdrop, and the riveting work scene, is undoubtedly one of the best cities to co-work in, but it can also be expensive.
Coworking is predictable, yes. But it allows for a change in scenery, in-person conversations with others outside of your household, and inspiration in seeing others work around you. Now, perhaps more than ever, affordable coworking space in Austin is in dire need.
During the past year, more than 11,000 new “remote work” job opportunities became available in Austin compared to just 4,500 remote jobs in 2020. Remote work is an essential element that Austinites are requesting from their employers, and many companies emphasize remote and hybrid work options to attract top talent.
With companies willing to meet the requests of their workers, Austin’s unemployment rate is one of the lowest among the major American cities, coming in at just 4.4%. To give some context, this is well below Texas’s state average of 6.5%.
With this change in work environments, many Austin businesses are opting for coworking spaces in 2021 rather than long-term leases to avoid high overhead costs and rigidity.
As KXAN reports, life is beginning to boom again in downtown Austin, but they’re noticing a trend in the market where people want flexibility and don’t want to be in the office five days a week, every week. Hybrid work environments, where employees go to the office part of the week and work remotely for the other half of the week, are a solution to this concern.
With the hybrid or completely work-from-home modes of working, coworking spaces are immensely appealing to maintain the perfect balance between work and life. Coworking spaces are where life meets work, and where work meets fun, but it can’t break the bank! That’s why there is an extreme demand for affordable coworking space in Austin.
How to Find The Perfect Coworking Space in Austin, TX
There is no shortage of beautiful and affordable coworking spaces in Austin. Finding a space that works best for you is as easy as following a few simple steps.
Step 1) Determine your budget and the number of days per week
When you work in a coworking space, you are renting your workspace, and just like any rental, prices will vary. If this is your first time coworking, you’ll want to do some research on the rental costs of coworking spaces around the city.
Of course, the rates will all come with different access, services, and perks, but the point is to get an idea of what rates look like in the area.
Once you know what you are willing to pay monthly, you can decide whether to rent by the month or a few days a week. You will save money renting by the month, but if you only want to work outside of your home occasionally, it may make more sense to pay as you go instead of an entire month upfront.
Step 2) Find a part of town you would like to work in
You may or may not want a coworking space near home. If commuting doesn’t bother you, this could be the ideal time to branch out of your neighborhood and work in a completely different area of town that offers something your area does not.
The beauty of purchasing coworking space is that you can choose how long you stay in one location. You can work in South Austin one month and North Austin another month if you want, for instance.
Step 3) Begin comparing coworking spaces in your budget and area
Once you have your list, begin comparing options by looking for answers to the following questions. You may be able to find these on the coworking space’s website, but given the many changes since COVID-19, you may get more current information if you call.
Some questions you want to consider when looking for the perfect coworking space:
What is the cost?
When looking for affordable coworking space in Austin, you want to stick to your budget. Make sure you understand exactly what your costs will be all in and what that payment buys you. For instance, if you want a private office, you can expect to pay more than if you work in an open office space with others. Having 24/7 access would also likely cost more, but not all coworking spaces provide that availability.
Your payment may also include a certain number of hours of access to a private conference room and guest passes if you want to schedule on-site meetings. Some companies charge extra for this and parking, so make sure you understand how the pricing works.
If you know you won’t need to use the space five days a week, ask if they offer multi-day or per-day pricing. This will give you more flexibility but may cost you slightly more per day for this convenience.
Does the coworking space require a membership?
Many coworking spaces in Austin offer monthly memberships, as well as day passes. You want to know if those memberships require any minimums or come with contracts. Depending on the space, you may pay to have access to internal community events and programs. This is ideal for people who want to be part of a community regularly but still want to work at home from time to time.
If you do want a dedicated desk, check to see what the membership includes. Some companies have multiple coworking spaces in Austin, and your membership grants you access to any of them, giving you some excellent flexibility in changing up your scenery. Your membership will come with a range of privileges; ask and compare what each membership level includes.
What are the workspace options?
Coworking spaces may offer only open space, where there is a large room with multiple tables, similar to a library. Some may also offer private offices, although privacy will usually cost an extra fee. If privacy or silence is critical, it is worth the additional cost, but keep in mind that most companies require a certain level of quietness in an open area, and fellow coworkers are typically respectful.
Does the coworking space provide parking?
Parking may come with your membership, but that doesn’t always mean there is plenty of parking to go around. Depending on how many people are renting space that day, your parking options may change. If you plan to drive to the venue, ask the company if parking is ever an issue.
What kind of common areas are available?
Coworking spaces typically provide break rooms and conference rooms, but not all of those spaces come with your membership. Ask to see if they do.
If you expect to conduct meetings, you may want to see if the coworking space has a lobby area with a receptionist who can direct your guests to a conference room.
Are there extra community-building opportunities?
Finally, while finding an affordable coworking space in Austin is important, the whole point of coworking space is to be part of a community. You may not know anyone working alongside you, so many companies provide networking and community opportunities to get to know other members.
These events may be during the workday or on the weekends or evenings. Yoga, wine and cheese tastings, guest lectures, acceleration programs, community outreach opportunities, and other programs will give you the chance to meet new people and perhaps learn something new. Find out what each coworking space offers and if there is a cost to participate.Austin has some great coworking spaces that will keep you energized and motivated with a community of people to surround you. Come see the inspiring, beautiful coworking spaces at Vuka. With two locations in Austin, you can find exactly what you need while keeping costs in check.