Working solo has its rewards. Still, we crave connections with other people. Which explains the rise of the coworking space, where “laptopreneurs” can drop in for a desk, a wireless connection, a productive atmosphere — perhaps even some collaboration. The idea took root around 2004, and a recent count tallied around 800 such spaces worldwide, 350 in the U.S.
A seemingly urban phenomenon, coworking is now in small towns like Beacon, New York, population 15,500, 60 miles north of Manhattan. In 2009, Scott Tillitt, a Brooklyn transplant, opened Beahive there. About 20 people at any given time — mostly newcomers to the area — pay to maintain relationships ranging from “community member” ($20 a month gets one day’s use), up to “resident desk” ($240 a month, 24/7 access, a dedicated perch and locker), or even “resident studio” (private space, higher price).
Every week, there is a “members’ lunch,” where people share the challenges of working independently. Frequent bonding events include film screenings, game nights, art shows, and benefit parties. “We’re more than a physical space to work,” the website declares.