Shared workspaces are flourishing in Montreal, to the delight of freelancers and startups looking for economical and flexible accommodation. The short guide to coworking in Montreal.
A change of atmosphere and meeting new people – these are the two reasons often cited by self-employed workers for renting an office in a coworking space.
However, it’s also a great networking opportunity for a freelancer seeking new contracts. “We like to work with people around us”, admits Riad Terki, co-CEO of the Créavif company. Since he established his headquarters at Ecto, he finds that he has used the services of various colleagues for translation, writing and web design.
The conundrum is this – which shared workspace is to be selected from among the wide choice available in Montreal?
Although the main goal is to get out of the house, you can visit coworking spaces in your own neighbourhood. There is 6cent1 in Outremont, the Anticafé in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, the Nexus Workplace and Halte 24-7 on the Plateau. Espaces Well has just opened at an address in Verdun.
If you are ready to move downtown, there are big names like WeWork, in Place Ville-Marie, and the Crew Collective & Café in the former premises of the Royal Bank in Old Montreal.
To get all the benefits of coworking, it’s also interesting to find out about the clientele that frequents the shared workspace, to see if there are networking possibilities.
Some places have very specific niches – BOOM for coworking with children, 402 has photography and videography equipment while IC-MTL targets the creative and cultural industries.
Other spaces have a wider draw: “Our clientele is very diverse,” says Olivier Berthiaume, the co-founder of Halte 24-7. “It consists of business people, professionals, self-employed workers, startups and both Quebec companies and global companies setting up a Montreal-based administrative team.”
The enticing “Co-op” formula
The collaborative aspect of shared workspaces fits well with the mode of cooperative financing. So it’s good to know that the Ecto and Temps Libre coworking spaces are really cooperatives.
“That’s what attracted me at first,” admits Riad Terki. “The fact of having a say in management of the space.”
At Temps Libre, in Mile-End, coworking can pay for an adjacent public space, with WiFi and free coffee, a library, arcade and local info counter.
Renting an individual office in an open space costs from $250 to $300 per month, while it can cost $500 to $800 to accommodate a microbusiness.
In addition, coworking spaces typically are formulated with variable geometries. You can take an hourly or daily package, or take advantage of a “hot desk”, which provides daily access without a specific place assigned.