Alone, Together, Working



We all know coffee shops have become default offices for technology-inclined freelancers and independents. (Remember the neo-"Bedouins" article?) Well, many of these lonesome laptop warriors no longer use cafes as offices. They've finally moved into real offices. The movement is called "coworking," and it involves meshing the community, social environment of the café with the infrastructure of a real, wired office. Of course, there's one in Berkeley. Berkeley Coworking on Shattuck Avenue near Ashby BART opened about a month ago, and appears to be thriving. Here's how it works: anyone can drop in and work for free using their WiFi (there's a tip jar and a vacuum for those who want to pitch in). Those wanting a more permanent setup can rent a desk for $400 a month plus an initial $300 fee. And in true social networking interconnectedness, the folks of Berkeley Coworking have their own blog, give updates on the office's daily availability using Twitter, have a Google Group, a shared calendar, and a Flickr photo album. No health plan just yet.