WeWork is one of the biggest names in the coworking space industry, offering thousands of working spaces in many major cities all over the world. It’s built up a huge community of freelancers, independent contractors, and small businesses and offers many amenities as well as all the trappings of a coworking office.
Unfortunately, WeWork is also a victim of its own success. In larger cities, like Chicago, spaces are getting ever more expensive and much rarer, with weeks going by before a space opens up. If you’re looking for some WeWork alternatives in Chicago, here are some that are worth checking out.
DropDesk is an app that pairs freelancers and independent contractors with office spaces all over the city. DropDesk works by giving landlords a chance to rent out their off-season or unused spaces out to people who need temporary office space, effectively turning these spaces into pop-up office spaces.
The DropDesk app is available for both iOS and Android and is really easy to use. Just type in your location and what sort of amenities you want, and you’ll get a list of available spaces. Then you make a booking to reserve that space for however long you need it, and it’s yours. There’s no need to worry about whether you’ll get there and your space will be taken. With DropDesk, you have the freedom of popping in without having to pay a monthly contract fee.
Whether you need a large room for a few hours or a desk to work at a couple of times a week, DropDesk will find one in your area. You can also filter offices for various amenities, like 24/7 access or conference room, giving you a space that is personalized for your specific needs.
Novel Coworking has locations all over the country, including five in Chicago. The coworking space is rented out on a month-to-month basis, and you can either rent a coworking space in one location or pay a little bit extra and get access to all the locations instead. The workspace is designed to be user-friendly and suitable for both networking and private work, and of course, Wi-Fi is included in the membership fee.
Coworking members also get access to a lounge bar that has espresso and beer on tap as well as a range of healthy snacks to keep you going. Members also get five hours of conference room space per month, perfect if you need to meet with clients regularly.
If you prefer leaving your work at the office, you can also rent a private desk within the coworking area. This gives you all the networking opportunities of the coworking room but also a bit more privacy and a lockable cabinet. Of course, this does cost more than the standard coworking package, but at least you get access to all the locations as part of the standard package.
Platform only has two locations, both in convenient Chicago neighborhoods, close to public transportation and the all-important coffee shops. The offices are tailored towards being quiet and distraction-free without feeling isolating. There’s a community of like-minded individuals who all want to get their work done in relative peace and quiet.
Both locations offer a variety of offices and coworking options, from a flexible day-pass to a reserved monthly desk, all the way to double offices that are also rented out on a monthly basis. If you’re on the phone a lot, you’ll appreciate the phone booths that will allow you to speak in private.
The main appeal of Platform is working with individuals who are all there for the same reason you are and who are all respectful of each other while still feeling like a community.
The main drawback of Platform? Their prices are higher than other coworking spaces, and their day-passes come with a subscription fee when you first sign up.
Rent24 is a more curated experience than other coworking spaces, with members being specially selected and vetted before being allowed to work there. This may be a turn-off for freelancers and individuals who work for themselves specifically to avoid this type of mentality, but the perks include networking with some of the best and brightest minds in your field. Membership with Rent24 includes invitations to a wide variety of events that give you lots of opportunities to mingle with your fellow workmates from all over the world.
There are currently two Rent24 locations in Chicago, with a third one coming soon. Both locations are geared towards networking as well as offering many comfortable amenities to make your day at work a pleasure. Membership options are relatively flexible. If you’re looking for a community-focused place to work, Rent24 may be the place for you.
Industrious is one of Chicago’s most well-known and established coworking spaces, offering up to eight locations in Chicago alone. Membership rates vary between the different locations, and members can’t move between locations. The memberships are on the high end of the price scale, but they also come with premium amenities like wellness rooms and unlimited free printing, which aren’t found in many other coworking spaces.
Other premium features of Industrious locations include a dedicated workspace team at each location that is there to help everybody get the most out of their space. Each space has been carefully thought out to ensure a balance of space types in each location.
Make Offices offers three locations in Chicago, each designed to be as easy to use as possible. Each space has all the infrastructure in place for small businesses and freelancers alike, ranging from fast Wi-Fi to unlimited coffee and beer and even relaxation rooms for when you need a break. Memberships include invitations to events that promote skills development and are another opportunity to network with your peers.
Prices are slightly more affordable than the average, but despite this, the workspaces have all the amenities you’d expect from a high-end coworking location. If you’re looking for a space to work and develop your business, Make Offices is a solid choice.