Is shared office space worth it?

Shared office space

A new look

First things first. If you’ve been following along, even a little bit, you might notice some changes.  I’ve re-branded my blog from MyCareerReboot to FinanceAfter50.  As I’ve written more posts over the past 3 or 4 months I can feel my blogger voice developing.  I’m also interested in educating myself more about this niche, because frankly, I need it.  I’m still going to offer broader subject categories, (especially about health) but my primary focus will be finance and finance for the mid-life crowd.  I also like the Millennial blogs that I follow, because I learn from them, and I hope they can see some potential life lessons in me, as they cross over certain life milestones. Even though my wife and I have achieved a net worth of about a $1M, it’s yet to be seen if that is enough to provide full financial independence, (another thing I’ll be chronicling).

I’m really happy about the change, and look forward to more sharing and caring.

Shared office space deals

In the past 5 years, I’ve seen an explosion of shared desk space options available in New York City and Brooklyn.  I even tried one deal about a year ago.  Since I’ve been taking the last two years off, to retool some job skills, I’m always on the lookout to find something that might work.  I believe my deal was about $250 for a full month, with a designated spot at a 3 person table.  Like many things in NYC, it was pretty cool.  It offered 24hr access, and an app to open the front door from the street.  It also offered basic coffee and tea supplies a kitchen and ample shared bathrooms.  On the downside it also offered people leaving beer bottles on the adjacent desk that I’d find on the occasional morning.

Recently poking around and I’ve found a similar deal for $180 per month, which sound like a great deal on the surface. The most recent space I was checking out was here at Kinspace.

Even the cost of the commute, doesn’t add that much overhead.  Roughly an unlimited subway pass is about $120 per month.  That takes you up to $300 per month.

In general, if you can figure out how to cover those costs, you might be ok.

Are they really deals?

What I’ve come to value more than anything else as I age, is my time.  That is where the problem arises with the financing of desk space.

I know I’m not the only person that feels this way about their commute. Actually, I think it’s a revolution. I’ve been on several physical interviews in the past few months, and most employers want to ensure that who ever they higher will make the trip into the office each day. The trust is just not there yet.

Since I’m an IT guy, I have more than enough computer equipment and experience at my disposal at home.  I have a 100mbps fiber optic internet connection that is faster than most offices I’ve ever worked in. I have an entire room set aside as my home office, with a full stand up desk and video conferencing ability.

It’s that travel time that I just can not justify. It takes roughly an hour to get from my home in Brooklyn to most downtown locations. In general, I’ve calculated that I’m worth (with my skills, knowledge, manager experience etc.) a round $500 per day.

Even swallowing ones’ pride and knocking it down to a reasonable hourly wage of $50 per hour estimate. (full boat…benefits, everything) that’s where the numbers really push it over the top.

When I factor in a 2 hour commute, per day, that’s $100 per day.  You can call it, sunk cost, opportunity cost, whatever, that cost is very real.

That comes down to $500 per week. or 2,000 per month.

Add that to the other basic costs above, and you’re looking at $2,300,  which you could probably rent a studio apartment for in downtown New York.

At the end of the day, time is money and it’s a cost that needs to be recognized by employers.  As the “sharing economy” expands, side hustles like Postmates will eventually end up in my neighborhood and small income streams will make a commute even less essential. It’s not there yet, but we will get there, eventually.

Do you think you would be more collaborative in a shared space environment?






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