Calgary

Co-working office launched in Calgary

A new office has opened in Calgary for the self-employed who want an alternative to working alone at home.

A new office has opened in Calgary for the self-employed who want an alternative to working alone at home.

About a dozen people are sharing space at CoWorkYYC, a 2,500-square-foot office in the Ramsey Design Centre on 11th Street S.W.

Each person pays about $450 a month; the rent includes a desk and a chair, a conference table, internet access, a shared mailbox, kitchen, toilets and showers.

Working at home has disadvantages, said Nik Thierry, a graphics designer and one of the founding members of the office.

"Humans need to be around other humans," he said.

"It is nice to have a jabber about what you've done on the weekend or if someone has minor computer problems. This morning I was trying to find images I needed and just shouted out over my desk, 'Does anyone have suggestions on where I should be looking?' and I got a stack of replies."

Self-employment is the fastest-growing type of employment in Canada, with more than two million people falling into this category. Statistics Canada estimates that about a third of all self-employed people work from home.

Co-working advocates say the arrangement promotes networking, and brings a level of professionalism to their job that can't be found in a home office or coffee shop.

Aurynn Shaw, a computer programmer, moved her work to the office after trying to deal with distractions at home for three years. "[At home] you can get up and have some food. Oh, I have to do my vacuuming, I have to pick stuff up. Anything you can do to not work."

Sharing office space with strangers may not be for everyone, such as entrepreneurial mothers who have young ones at home, Shaw said.

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