Not many people understand what coworking is and how it works. You hear a lot of different marketing tools trying to persuade you into making the switch. Instead of us telling you why we like coworking, which might be a little bias, we decided to talk to the interns that work at ZED. We wanted to get the most honest opinion about the space.
ZED has multiple companies throughout our working space. As ZED is starting the number of companies is rising. The first three companies at ZED were Genial tech, ConnecPath, and Rock15 respectively. All of the companies have two interns that are working for them currently.
But first lets meet the interns
Yasu, he is the most senior of all the interns. He has been at the office since day 1 and is currently working at Genialtech. He studied finance and data analytics. Yasu also enjoys playing video games in his free time and wants to start streaming it online.
Itaru, is still in college and is planning to go to back to SJSU after his internship (Go Spartans!) He is majoring in Computer Science and is the leading developer at Genialtech. In his free time, he likes to take naps on bean bag chairs.
Evan is attending UCLA and is studying Computer Science. He is very close to graduating and wants to come back to San Jose to work after he graduates. Evan is currently the only developer at Rock15. For fun, Evan likes to game when he is not working on a big school project.
Scott, also attending UCLA but is studying Statistics instead of CS. He is only two quarters away from graduating and wants to move up here to find a job. Scott and Evan are friends back in UCLA, and Scott is how Rock15 found Evan in the first place. He is head of research and development at Rock15. He loves to watch movies whenever he can, whether it’s at home or in the theater.
Shun and Kazuya are such good friends now that they wanted to conduct the interview together. They both were exchange students from Japan who went to San Francisco State and Berkeley, respectively. They have become great friends since they started to work together. While Shun likes to work out and Kazuya loves to go on hikes they still have become friends and enjoy going out at night with a group of friends. They both met working at ConnecPath and do Marketing together. Soon Shun and Kazuya will head back to Japan to finish their degree but wish to come back to Silicon Valley soon.
First of all, have you guys had any experience working in coworking spaces?
Yasu: No, never experienced it.
Evan: I haven’t seen one ever.
Scotty: I had no idea what it was before.
Shun and Kazuya: We both have heard of it before we came, but never had the chance to work in one.
How are the people like in the coworking space?
Yasu: There is a good amount of talking and many smiles. Just an overall good mood, which is very important to me. I worked for KPMG for five years, but it had a nasty mood all around the office, no one was your friend, you weren’t colleagues but your rivals. They aren’t into coworking or teaching others; but, here is very friendly. In other words, if there are two companies the people from both with have many conversations.
Shun and Kazuya: In another office, the whole office knew each other since it was just one company. Everyone communicates, and almost everyone knew each other. However, other coworking offices I’ve seen are very different. They don’t like to talk and choose to focus on their work. There is almost no communication between one another which is not what happens here. I can quickly talk to people and enjoy going to lunch with my friends from the office.
Evan: This is my first time working in an office; but, this place is more modernized than the office area I pictured. I like it here, there many opportunities to socialize, it’s very open, and I like the friendships that you can have. There is virtually no limit to whom you can talk to and meet. We had an event last week, and it was a perfect opportunity for me to get to talk to some I haven’t met yet.
Where is your favorite place to relax when you work?
Itaru: Beanbag chair. I am on the big red one all the time it’s super nice. There is the couch as well which helps me mix it up if I need to. The bean bag chairs are more comfortable than my own bed. Sometimes I take a nap during my lunch break.
Yasu: Did Itaru say Beanbag? That’s what I thought. I took a nap on the beanbag once when my house was under construction and had to leave too early. I am on the rocking chair more than anything else. It usually is open when I want to get out of my desk.
Evan: I like the beanbag chair, it’s very comfortable. I don’t really like working in chairs, even at school too; I mostly work in my bed. It’s more comfortable; especially when your coding, you're super focused and time flies. Chairs are uncomfortable when coding so I prefer to use the bean bag chair here. I’m there all the time; it’s my spot. (This is a different bean bag chair that we put near Evan’s work area so that he could have a place do work)
How does this compare to other offices?
Scott: This is my first time working in an office, and it’s nothing like I thought it would be. I assumed it would be clustered and have many distractions. There is a lot of open space that is very cool. It’s very neat, and this kind of open space makes me more concentrated. It’s a lot like the library at school. I can focus on my work or take a necessary break.
Yasu: The last office I worked at everyone worked from 9 am to midnight and made the workplace super frustrating. Since the office people are just so friendly here and talk to each other, I feel, and it makes it a lot better to work. The free coffee does help. I feel less stress to stay working overtime when I really could go home. Sometimes I stayed till 8 pm because I arrived late and it wasn’t a problem it was straightforward to come and work.
Shun and Kazuya: The offices are entirely different, it was all one company on the floor. There was no relaxing place to take breaks like the kitchen or the lounge we just had all the work. I can quickly stop by the kitchen to catch a breather and get some free coffee or a bag of chips.
Is there anything in the office that makes work easier for you?
Scott: The table that we work at is a whiteboard, and I was blown away when I saw that. We can write down what we are thinking, and the process is just excellent.
Itaru: The supplies are super beneficial when I’m working. Having access to whiteboards, markers, pens, and paper are super helpful. The wifi and electricity are very reliable.
Yasu: The coffee.
How does working at home compare to working in the office?
Shun and Kazuya: Unlike everyone else, I don’t leave near the office. I come just once a week from Berkeley, and then I stay at Shun’s place so I can be here and work more than once a week. Working remotely isn’t that easy; no one can see me which tends to make me get a bit lazy. It’s hard to stay motivated when I’m working from home. When I come into the office I can focus more on the tasks I need to do, and I can communicate much more natural with everyone. It’s nice to have him working in the same office as I can see him work much harder.
Itaru: The CEO is in Japan, so that is a huge obstacle for us. He has to work remotely, and it is quite tricky communicating with someone in Japan. I have to wait until the end of the day it is frustrating, and I want to talk right away. It makes it a lot harder to develop, but I’m excited that he is coming back soon.
Now that you have actually experienced coworking space, do you see it as your future workplace?
Yasu: Yeah I would, I like the people, and it will give me the opportunity to make more friends at work. I enjoy talking with others about their ideas, their visions, and their dreams; and, that is more present in coworking. However, it has to have coffee.
Itaru: Yes, it offers a lot and can give me the right place to work. There would need to be beanbag chair though; but, in all seriousness, the coworking space is a great idea that offers a type of creativity that is hard to find in other office spaces.
Evan: I think after college if the opportunity presented itself I would definitely be more interested. The vibe I get from here is perfect and puts a good taste in my mouth. Also, the beanbag allows me to work at my best.
Scott: Coworking is a brilliant way to work. The amount of whiteboard available and people you could talk to is very nice. It’s also lovely the availability and ease of access to the meeting rooms. That is a significant factor when it comes to office space for me.
Shun and Kazuya: Yeah, we enjoyed meeting each other and all the other people in the office. We don’t know everything about one another, but we learn more and more each day. It’s fun being able to interact with anyone you want. We have so many different companies and interests that it is very likely you’ll find someone similar to you but is different in another way.
We hope all the interns at ZED helped give you some insight into how working in a coworking space is. Coworking is still being discovered for the first time by a lot of people. There is no such thing as a stupid question when you’re asking about coworking. If you have any more questions email firstname.lastname@example.org and use Intern in the subject matter and we can ask our interns to answer some of the questions if you’d prefer their opinion.