A Vancouver company has set out to make coworking systems as affordable as possible by using local restaurants as venues during the hours that they are closed.
FreeSpace charges a $49.99 monthly fee to give members unlimited access to its network of locations.
The company launched its first space – The Ellis in Kitsilano – on August 1 and since then it also runs coworking spaces regularly at Mamie Taylor’s in Chinatown and Mangos Lounge in downtown Vancouver.
These spots are open mostly regular office hours (around 9 am to 5 pm) before dinner service kicks off, or on days the eateries are closed. Users stepping into a FreeSpace venue will be greeted by a host and can enjoy solid WiFi along with free coffee and tea throughout their stay.
FreeSpace founder, James Komenda, explains his concept is the “most affordable coworking solution” in the city, noting that other companies’ “membership fee’s start anywhere from $200 monthly on the low end, up to $500/monthly at some of the more established brands” such as WeWork or Spaces.
Komenda explained that the first week is always free so users can see if the system works for them, and then opt to continue on after that for the monthly fee, a portion of which will go to the restaurants providing the space.
FreeSpace members cannot currently order from restaurant’s kitchens as they won’t be operational during closing hours.
Komenda says this is something he aims to change in the near future as the company continues to expand, but users will never feel obligated to buy something in order to maintain a workstation in the space, as some people feel they must do when working at cafes and coffee shops.