With over 2.7 million people calling the city home, Chicago has one of the largest concentrations of workers in the United States. Chicago is the largest tech hub of the Midwest and arguably a contender for one of the most innovative cities in the US. The city is constantly bustling and has drawn the attention of major companies across the globe. However, many workers are taking a step back from cubicle office life in favor of a new kind of work. Coworking spaces are changing the way professionals across the Windy City are getting things done. What exactly are these industry game-changers? Let’s get to the breakdown.
We as humans are conditioned to always be changing. Doing the same thing, in the same location day in and day out can become monotonous and boring. That’s why remote workers or those looking to get a bit of work done out of the office, usually flock to coffee shops and libraries to get work done. Getting out of the house isn’t only healthy, it usually leads to more productivity.
Like everything in Chicago, the way we work has absolutely changed. With new innovations and trends popping up almost daily in the Windy City, it’s no surprise that we’ve gone on to solve one of the most annoying problems plaguing workers today. That is where coworking spaces come in. Let’s dive into the world of coworking as we give you the insider info on the best coworking spaces in Chicago.
Why Do Coworking Spaces Matter?
Working in coffee shops is now a thing of the past for many people. Coworking spaces are taking cities by storm and effectively changing the way many professionals collaborate and work. How did we get here? Let’s break it down.
In 2018, a little over 2,000 new coworking spaces opened across the world. It’s estimated that around 1,000 of them were opened in the United States. The rise of coworking spaces is projected to grow at about 15% a year.
The concept of coworking spaces isn’t even something new. In the midst of Greek and Roman innovations, it was common for great minds to want to collaborate together. It’s actually biologically compatible with who we are as humans. Most humans crave social interaction.
What does this mean for the Windy City? First, it means that Chicago is about to become more productive. Coworking spaces are good news for professionals, especially, freelancers and those who work remotely. If you didn’t know, the remote work industry is also continuing to skyrocket.
Research shows that by 2020, an estimated 40% of the United States workforce will be comprised of freelance and remote workers. While some of these workers choose to work from home, many find the prospect of working at a coworking space engaging and enlightening for their productivity.
Chicago is home to industries filled with innovation. If you look at some of tech’s biggest industry mergers including Chicago’s major “Fintech” merger, then we already have a pretty good idea of how willing Windy City workers are to collaborate and try new things. With the rise of coworking spaces in the Chicago area, will come the rise of production and overall innovation in the tech capital of the Midwest.
What Should You Look for in a Coworking Space?
With so many unique coworking spaces to choose from, how do you decide which ones are worth your time and money? When thinking about the perks of using a coworking space, it’s important to break them down into three different categories.
Coworking spaces are changing the way we learn and interact with peers. Over the next decade, coworking spaces could very well become the “it” spot to meet and interact with industry professionals.
One of the biggest perks of coworking spaces is the social atmosphere. Many coworking spaces regularly have mixers and other networking events for professionals to get to know one another. While perks aren’t everything, coworking spaces are notorious for offering some pretty sweet ones included in your monthly membership. These can range from free food, gyms, parking, and class opportunities.
If you’re used to working in coffee shops and libraries for free or super cheap, you may be in for a shock when you look at some of these coworking space’s prices. A dedicated desk at one of these spaces could easily set you back $125 to $1,000+ a month. However, if you’re running your own business or are in a financial position where paying a monthly fee makes sense, then feel free to carry on with your coworking space search.
The entire reason for going to a coworking space is to, well, work. As fun and engaging as coworking spaces are, they really serve one purpose, to make you more productive. Be on the lookout for quiet and private coworking spaces that offer enough room for you to spread out and get comfortable.
Best Coworking Spaces in Chicago
Chicago is home to a variety of diverse people working in a multitude of unique industries. With so many different people and interests in one city, it only makes sense that coworking spaces reflect this diversity to attract a variety of workforces both niche and mainstream. With so many different coworking spaces to choose from, where do you begin to look? We’ve scoured the streets of the Windy City for the best coworking spaces in Chicago. Let’s get to the breakdown!
1. 1871 – Best for Tech Workers
Named after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, this coworking space is dedicated to elevating the city’s technical innovation. The space spans 120,000 square feet and is home to a startup incubator that includes over 400 startups. The space offers a variety of different amenities and networking opportunities including regular talks with high-level industry speakers. Additional perks include treadmill desks, podcast studios, conference rooms, drinks and snacks, and more.
Individual membership pricing starts at $300 per month, shared desks are $350 per month, reserved desks are $500 per month.
2. Writers Workspace – Best for Writers
Writers Workspace is a space built and designed with writers in mind. Gone are the days of library and coffee shop writing, Writers Workspace exists as a place for writers of all disciplines to work in a productive and engaging atmosphere. Studio spaces maximize creativity with quiet, conversation free workspaces. Lounges are also available for more a more open and social atmosphere. Perks of the space include conference rooms, snacks, resource libraries, access to events, and discounts on writing workshops.
Membership is on an application basis. Accepted full-time members pay $160 per month for unlimited access, while part-time members pay $100 per month for access during certain time periods.
3. WeWork – Best Chain
If you keep up with financial news at all, you may have heard the term WeWork before. WeWork is a multinational coworking community that spans across several US cities and continents. WeWork has had a pretty busy year. From a near IPO on the US Stock Exchange to a shift in senior leadership, WeWork has proved that they’re a force to be reckoned with.
WeWork has 11 locations in Chicago alone, and another one on the way. Chicago WeWork pricing varies based on each individual location across the city.
Individual membership costs range from $350 to $1,000 per month. This number varies depending on if you want an open coworking desk, your own dedicated desk, or your own private office.
For teams and small businesses, the price rises further with monthly costs ranging from $1,200 to $27,000.
4. Brooklyn Boulders – Best for Fitness Lovers
As the name might suggest, Brooklyn Boulders originated in Brooklyn, New York and has since made its way to the Windy City. This space is perfect for anyone dedicated to merging their fitness and work routines. Amenities include a rock climbing gym, a full gym, showers, meeting rooms, and open work lounges.
Membership which includes both the gym and coworking space is $125 per month.
5. mHUB – Best for Product Development
mHUB is a highly unique space do to the fact that it’s one of the only coworking spaces in Chicago that can accommodate manufacturing and product testing in the shop. The space includes 10 fabrication stations, various 3D printers, electronics lab, metal shop, and a micro-factory. The space also includes dedicated lounges and rooms for office work.
Access to both the lounges and the shop is $300 per month. Full-time Shop access which excludes lounge access costs $200 per month.
What’s the Takeaway?
Remote work is taking over the workforce as we know it at lightning speed. Over the next decade, we could very well see a shift in the way we work as the gig economy and the remote work culture continues to grow.
Coworking spaces are a force to be reckoned with and they’re bringing major cultural and economic changes as they continue to pop up in cities across the world. With these changes will inevitably come a shift in the way we work and interact with other professionals.
Not all coworking spaces are equal. With the surplus of coworking spaces in big cities, many companies have had to carve out niche markets for themselves. There are now individual coworking spaces for all types of professionals, from corporate employees to artists and health gurus, there’s something for everyone in the coworking space industry.
Why does this matter for you? Whether you live in a big city or not, the chance is that within the next decade you’ll find a few coworking spaces in your neighborhood. Coworking spaces can be great buzzing hubs of innovation and networking opportunities. If you’re in the market to put yourself out there professionally and connect with peers, coworking spaces may be a great place to make this happen!