Unofficially reviewing coworking spaces and my monthly question to myself.
I hope you all are staying healthy and positive through these last few weeks of winter. March is just around the corner!
A special thanks to those of you who emailed about my first mini-detox in January. I had no idea so many of you had so much knowledge and interesting experiences about food and health until I mentioned what I was doing in my January Notes. It’s really good to know! I'm going to put to use all the stories, tips and recipes you all shared. I plan to use a mini-detox as an annual reset and reflection ritual every year.
In the meantime, I’ve been blurting out, “Parasite!” to pretty much anyone I see or text. I am so proud of this truth telling, history-making South Korean movie and the people behind it that I could just burst with pride. Nelson Mandela once said, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” Well, these guys really showed us! Did you wonder who the heavily made up woman was who gave the speech, when the film won Best Picture at the Oscars last weekend? You can read about the visionary (born into the privileged South Korean conglomerate family Samsung) Miky Lee in this Hollywood Reporter article.
Speaking of powerful women, many of you know that I work as a guide, or a facilitator, of Core groups for Chief, a startup company dedicated to accelerating gender parity in the C-suite. Seeing all the benefits Chief members receive (small private dinners with luminaries like Geena Davis and Barbara Corcoran, workshops on topics like personal branding and negotiation, and a beautiful space to work and meet with other members--to name a few) made me a little jealous and prompted me to consider joining a coworking space. I would love to share with you what I found from my exploration so far. In addition to access to workshops and events, I am looking for a flexible, comfortable place to drop in and replenish myself and my devices in between meetings; and a quiet spot to do coaching calls. I prefer having access to multiple neighborhoods in the city; and a bonus would be the ability to bring in guests for in-person coaching sessions. Of course, I would need to be able to pay for it. 😅 The Wing
So I finally went to an open house at the Bryant Park location of The Wing, a network of work and community spaces designed especially for women creators. The Wing has multiple locations in the U.S., and even locations in London and Toronto. Thank you, Danielle Holly, a Chief member and CEO of Common Impact, for being my lovely date that night!
While Chief is decorated in rich hunter green with gold and leather accents, like a super hip, powerful boardroom and private club in one; The Wing looked brighter and more open, with lots of nooks and crannies that look Instagram ready. Soft colors and pretty accents. Both places are beautiful. Just different sensibilities.
The Wing location in Bryant Park
After the row of spacious private phone booths, there was a beauty room filled with mirrors and comfy chairs and every kind of hair product, located close to a locker room with showers. I thought it was funny when I first saw it, but I actually think I would use it to get ready for events at the end of the day. Maybe it would even motivate me to squeeze in an exercise class during the day? There was a lactation room, which doesn’t apply to me now, but always makes me happy to see that such a room is now a given for a work space like this.
Every Wing location has something unique to it (a café; workout room; or a podcast booth, to name a few location specific amenities) and there is an option to join a single location or to access all locations including other cities. Like Chief, members receive invitations to a variety of events designed to facilitate learning and networking. Also like Chief, The Wing is expensive to join. If you are a client (especially if you are a man), would you want to meet at a place like this? Let me know.
Croissant was named after that croissant you don’t want, but feel compelled to order because you need to sit somewhere and use WiFi. The thought makes me smile. The Croissant app works like how Uber gives you access to the nearest Uber cars, except that with Croissant it’s for a seat at a coworking space with WIFI, free coffee, clean bathrooms and ample outlets. Most of them have phone booths for phone calls so I don’t have to feel paranoid that the man seated next to me is judging my coaching skills. I also hate fighting the sound of a coffee machine frothing someone’s oat milk while speaking to a client at a coffeeshop. If I have more than an hour between meetings, or if I have a coaching call, I open up the app to find the nearest available spot. You can try it free for a week using this link. (Disclaimer: It says I will get $20 in credit if you join after trying it out.)
I pay $39 a month for 10 hours, and unused hours roll over to the next month. If you need additional hours, you can buy a pack of ten hours for $45. Most spots have conference rooms you can use for an additional fee and an option to bring a guest for extra fee. Croissant has participating coworking spaces all over the world.
Breather is also like Uber except it’s for private offices and you can reserve ahead of time. You reserve the room you want for the date and time you need, then the app will send you an access code to open the lock of the individual room 15 minutes before the reserved time.
A lot of company offsites and meetings take place in these spaces and they are all furnished in minimalist mid-century modern style. Think West Elm furniture in white painted rooms with big windows. While all the rooms are similarly decorated, there’s a pretty big gap in how much these spots cost, depending on the size of the room you are reserving and the neighborhood and the building where it’s located. Most buildings are nice, but some rooms can feel a bit unprofessional as you walk through other businesses (wholesale accessories and bags for example) on the same floor. I facilitate offsites and brainstorming sessions in the bigger Breather spaces, and hold some first coaching sessions in its smaller ones.
It was co-founded by a journalist and writer who wanted a quiet place to think and write as an alternative to the cramped, loud coffee shops. I find Breather to be too costly for me to sit alone, but I do use it quite a bit. You can get a $45 discount on the first reservation using this link. (Disclaimer: I see that I will get the same amount of credit in my account if you sign up.)
Meet In Place
Recently, I had a good experience at another new (and fancy) private conference room space in SoHo called Meet In Place. They have multiple locations throughout the city, that are beautifully decorated, and are more tightly managed than the Breather.
You may have noticed that WeWork is missing from my list. That is because I have never felt at ease at the bro-like vibe in some of the WeWork locations I’ve worked out of in the past. Of course, the recent challenges the business is facing doesn’t motivate me to try it now.
New York Public Library on 42nd Street
I can't forget the majestic New York Public Library on 42nd Street, one of my favorite places in New York City to sit and work alone. With its sweeping high ceilings and marble columns, this landmark building has good WiFI, quiet, gorgeous reading rooms with outlets, a small coffeeshop in the main lobby and a depressing but always empty old phone booth structure near the Ladies’ Room with a hole where the phone used to be. There’s always an interesting free exhibit on display and a small gift shop where you can get books, notebooks and last minute gifts.
New York Public Library on 42nd Street
The only drawback is that you have to go through security to get in. It’s much faster to go through the side door on 42nd Street, though you’ll miss out on the grand entrance up the stairs. You do NOT need a NYC library card to get in. Also, it’s free admission.
This service doesn’t appeal to me, but it’s an interesting concept for remote workers who seek company, motivation, and accountability from other people. You can set up a virtual coworking time with friends and work together via a free video conferencing service like Zoom or use an existing service platform like myworkhive.
Please let me know if you have another favorite coworking option in New York City, or have thoughts on the places I listed!
In my December Notes, I shared a list of reflection and planning questions I use to plan for the New Year. I am planning on highlighting one question per month in my monthly notes in 2020.
The question I have been thinking about this month is:
What is a true talent and gift I am not using?
Something I have neglected for a little while is my love and gift of bringing people together. I love celebrating something meaningful with people I care about, and enjoy connecting great people to one another. I have already started re-activating this talent in my personal life this year.
Professionally, I want to re-activate this gift by hosting one or two events that bring together small groups of clients and colleagues around a specific topic or activity. Stay tuned! If you have some ideas, please email me. And please share what talent and gift you feel you are underusing at this time.
Spending Valentine's Day with the people you love!
Oh, and Happy Valentine’s Month! I hope you spend some quality time with those you love. Please don’t forget self-love too. Talk to you soon!