You’re finally living the dream. You work from home. No more dealing with a boss looking over your shoulder. No more commutes, having to tune in for traffic and weather. No more inner-office politics. You can work in your pajamas. You can fix lunch in your own kitchen.
After a few months, though, you actually miss people. You and the spouse are spending a little too much time together. You live in fear that the kids will sound off during an important conference call. Or you just can’t believe that Phyllis is sleeping with her husband’s brother on “The Young and the Restless,” and you find yourself scheduling important deadlines around your suddenly can’t-miss soap.
You don’t have the budget to lease an office just for you. Your best option? Coworking! Fortunately, Wake Forest has two options in the form of Hatch at 100 E. Roosevelt Ave. and Wake Forest Coworking at 335 S. White St.
What is coworking? It’s essentially a shared workspace environment where freelancers and other independent workers can go and get the basics of an office – a desk, Internet access, conference room, shared printers and so forth. Members buy time in the space from a few hours a week to full-time. Some even have a dedicated small office.
“My parents have owned this building for at least 20 years,” said Liz Johnson, the manager of Hatch. “Basically, they kept seeing coworking spaces pop up all over Durham and Raleigh. I had just become a Realtor, but I wanted something else to do. Coworking just seemed to go hand in hand. So, I told them I’d head it up, and it’s worked out.”
The remodeling of the Hatch space began in January, with new paint, flooring, electrical and other upgrades. Hatch officially opened for business on July 22. Wake Forest Coworking has been up and running for two years.
“This is a growing community,” Johnson said. “It’s crazy the amount of residential neighborhoods going up. A lot of people moving here are independent sales consultants or entrepreneurs or people who want to become entrepreneurs. Most of them don’t have an office or they have a home office. So, you hear stories like ‘My wife is going to kill me if I don’t get out of the house’ or ‘I can’t concentrate with my kids running around during the summer’ or ‘The TV is right there, and I can’t resist!’ ”
Wake Forest Coworking owner Michael Kimsal hears a lot of the same stories.
“Coworking’s been a growing trend over the last few years for several reasons,” he said. “Chiefly, there are a lot more mobile workers, a lot more contingent workers, and a lot more people freelancing. Many of them just need to get out of the house.”
Hatch, for instance, counts among its clientele an interior designer, a real estate photographer, an estate jeweler, an accountant and a babysitter. For its part, Wake Forest Coworking has an insurance professional, a writer and “a guy who used to do a lot of software development consulting but is now focused on a donor management software platform,” Kimsal said.
Most love the flexibility that coworking space offers.
“I needed a place to work that was quiet,” said Paul D. Prisco, who is a licensed agent with US Health Advisors and maintains a desk at Hatch. “This has a climate-controlled atmosphere, it’s comfortable and it offers easy access to the Internet. I can’t recommend it enough.”
Johnson and Kimsal each believe their locations are prime selling points, too.
“There are three coffee shops on this street. So, you’re highly caffeinated,” Johnson said.
Kimsal points out at least a dozen restaurants are within walking distance, a post office is nearby and plenty of free parking is available.
“You’re never more than a 30-second walk from your car,” he said.
And the price is right, too. Hatch’s rates, for instance, range from $25 a day for a desk to a private, corner office for $600 a month.
“It’s very much month to month,” Kimsal said. “There are no long-term contracts. A busy day, we’ll have six or seven people here overlapping for a few hours and usually one or two people here at night. Friday mornings tend to be the busiest. But it’s not the boss yelling at you or the wife and kids asking, ‘Are you almost done?’ ”
— Teddy Durgin • October 2016