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'Coworking' comes of age in metro Kansas City

Posted: 4:53 PM, Jan 05, 2016
Updated: 2016-01-05 19:30:33-05

Coworking has come of age. Never heard of it? While the term may not appear in dictionaries yet, here is the Wikipedia definition:

"Coworking is a style of work that involves a shared working environment, often an office, and independent activity. Unlike in a typical office environment, those coworking are usually not employed by the same organization." MORE

Melissa Saubers of Cowork Waldo describes the practice as "a collaborative, shared work environment.... A community of independent workers that come together to work side by side on their a project, business."

Who is a good candidate for coworking?

Pretty much anyone who needs a work space that is comfortable and efficient--and allows them to leave the distractions of a home office behind. Among the folks who have found that space at Cowork Waldo are freelancers, startup employees, telecommuters, independent workers and writers. Even attorneys, programmers and filmmakers have found it useful.

“Give it a try," said Saubers, who is also the chairperson of the Kansas City Coworking Alliance. Get out of the house. Get out of the coffee shop and go to the coworking space. You will be amazed at the people you meet.”

What you'll find at most coworking spaces:

  • Desks and workspaces of various sizes
  • Meeting or conference rooms
  • Internet access and connectivity
  • Scanning, printing and copying tools
  • Screens and projectors for presentations

While Cowork Waldo offers a bright and cozy space with a casual aesthetic aimed at individuals, Plexpod is geared toward both independent workers and team spaces for up to 20 people. There's a recording studio, a digital maker's space and game room.

“We joke that they are playing ping pong, air hockey or foosball, but they are meeting and interacting” said Plexpod CEO Gerald Smith. "That's really the secret sauce of coworking."

Flexibility is another coworking plus: Most spaces offer a range of rates to suit a variety of professional needs and budgets.

Village Square, in the Kansas City Startup Village, caters to early stage entrepreneurs and telecommuters. Andrea Essner, Office & Events Manager, has seen the benefits of coworking for people in different professions.

"It's working alongside people who are as passionate as you are, but about something completely different," Essner said.

Is coworking for you?

  • Visit spaces you think you might like; many offer tours or open house days
  • Ask coworking veterans for their recommendations
  • Compare prices, facilities and amenities

Kansas City coworking sites (see list below)

9 COWORKING SPACES 

1. Cowork Waldo
7449 Broadway Street | Kansas City, Mo.

2. Enterprise Center of Johnson County
4220 Shawnee Mission Parkway | Fairway, Kan.

3. OfficePort KC 
208 W 19th Street | Kansas City, Mo.

4. PLEXPOD
10000 Marshall Drive | Lenexa, Kan.

5. Sprint Accelerator
210 W 19 Terrace | Kansas City, Mo.

6. Regus Kansas City
Multiple locations

7. Think Big Coworking
1712 Main St #200 | Kansas City, Mo.

8. Innovation Cafe
111 West 10th Street | Kansas City, Mo.

9. Village Square KC
4436 State Line Rd. | Kansas City, Kan.