Coworking has rapidly become a popular trend among young entrepreneurs and the startup community across the country. The idea is that you can rent a desk and buy memberships to communal office spaces if you’re not traditionally employed by a single company. It allows those who are self-employed, work virtually or participate in a small work force to take advantage of fun, comfortable work environments. Chicago has tons of coworking options throughout the city so you can find your perfect fit.
WeWork is the international standard when it comes to coworking spaces as it’s a fixture in nearly 35 major cities around the world. It was founded in 2010 and is headquartered in New York City. The Chicago spaces (River North, Kinzie, Fulton Market, National Building, and Grant Park) offer a choice between private offices, dedicated desks, and hot desks, starting at just $350 per month.
1871 takes its name from the Great Chicago Fire of the same year to honor the architects, inventors, and innovators who rebuilt the city from the ashes. This coworking company focuses mainly on tech startups and digital entrepreneurs. They have 120,000 square feet in Merchandise Mart and rent to more than 400 city startups. Expect wide open spaces and clean, industrial-style offices.
A glimpse of 1871’s wide-open office space | Courtesy of 1871
Work spaces at MakeOffices downtown give you everything you could want: convenient locations in Chicago, beautiful offices, city views, reasonable prices, and a comfortable coworking community. Scheduling a tour of the space will help you get a discount, so definitely check it out before going all in; you can get your own desk starting at $250 per month.
The Shift departs from the downtown norm and offers quality coworking space outside the Loop. Their Uptown location has all the amenities of a space in River North, including communal tables, comfortable work environments, private offices, and all the gourmet coffee you can drink. Purchase their membership package for as low as $145 per month.
This workspace takes coworking to a whole new level. Brooklyn Boulders’ 25,000-square-foot coworking facility is made for the adrenaline junkie. It’s full of rock-climbing walls and fitness classes to stimulate the creative mind and spark innovation. At their West Loop location, you can squeeze in some office time at standing desks and exercise-ball chairs between workouts.
Free Range has a home outside the congested Loop, in Wicker Park. It’s a great option for getting outside the city center and into one of Chicago’s favorite neighborhoods. It’s a cozy space that has flexible passes if you’re not looking to cowork daily. Use their communal areas, private phone booths, kitchen access, free coffee, and wifi for as low as $95 per month part time.
Space in River North has all your coworking needs covered. Rent your own private office or buy a more collaborative plan. Day passes are just $20 and you can also just buy access to their conference rooms for meetings. Members enjoy 24/7 access, free coffee, communal kitchens, beer on tap, whiteboards, and mailing addresses. Take advantage of their prime location and close proximity to public transportation.
Space highlights the social aspect of coworking | Courtesy of Space
Desktime is a unique kind of coworking resource. It acts as a directory for a few dozen different office spaces available for communal work, with a price estimate and filter options. It lists specific amenities, package costs, and detailed pictures of each listing. You can even list a space to rent and keep communication within the site.
NextSpace is another popular River North location that comes with all the typical coworking perks and benefits. But this space tends to be extra-colorful fun, as it was born out of vibrant Santa Cruz, California. And with a start date of October 2008, they were one of the very first coworking companies on the scene before the idea boomed.
Enerspace has coworking offices in both California and Chicago, and they operate a flexible travel membership with their sister company, LExC. Renting office space at one location will get you into others if you’re in the area. And if you’re a member you’ll also get a special feature on their official website.