Ever since leaving my former employer and re-starting my own business, I’ve been on the hunt for an ideal work situation.
During the pandemic, I was very grateful and privileged to be able to work from home 100%. But my work suffered some, even with a better at-home setup (standing desk, monitor, etc). But I’ve been looking to re-optimize.
And, like many super small (1 – 5 person businesses), I’ve been extremely picky. Above all, I want super-cheap rent. But I also want a short, bike-able commute. I want super-flexible access, and a good clean environment, and I want to work around people but not with people – i.e., I work well in the hustle and bustle of People Working On Stuff but do very poorly with interruptions.
From 2015 to 2018, I worked in the Hurt Building in Downtown Atlanta.
It was amazing, though the commute was a bit far…and I got unceremoniously booted out when a new higher-paying tenant came along.
From 2018 to 2019, I worked in a super-cheap office in Chosewood Park in an old Church. It was not great – too far, just as quiet as home, with not a great environment (bad Internet, bad HVAC, etc).
From 2019 to March 2020, I worked at the Downtown WeWork. It was great, albeit expensive, and very Corporate. They were also super-shady & very unflexible at the beginning of the pandemic. It also turns out they were a house of cards and awful company in general.
In January 2022, I started looking in earnest again.
Switchyards had been on my radar for a bit. Still, honestly, they had confusing positioning and an almost too-good-to-be-true setup pre-pandemic (they seemed to be an event space, startup incubator, meet and greet place, but I couldn’t figure it out).
However, post-pandemic, they have expanded locations, re-worked their model, and clarified exactly what they were selling (a “neighborhood work club”).
I stopped into the Downtown location where, even though they don’t do tours, I got to look around with their one of their Directors.
I was sold and signed up that day. Here’s what I love about it so far.
First, they have co-working areas, even if they aren’t a “co-working space” like a Corporate-Feeling WeWork, Industrious, or Regus. They are more like 1/3rd coffee shop lounge; 1/3rd classy meeting area; 1/3rd quiet co-working space. It’s really smart blend. You get the energy and inspiration of People Working On Stuff without any of the interruptions.
Second, everything from signup to access to the coffee to the Internet is all seamless. There are no WeWork contracts or leasing agreements. There are no keys or access codes. They’ve got everything on apps & their website. It’s super-smart.
Third, the work environment is great. The Internet is fast, the seating is comfortable, the co-working seating is arranged so that you aren’t awkwardly in each other’s space. It’s also nice to have several locations to choose from.
Fourth, it’s founded & run in Atlanta. It’s very Atlanta-esque through and through. I love it all. It’s super-smart.
Fifth, their membership price makes so much sense. It’s at a price point where it can be a super-cheap full-time office or a nice supplement to an at-home office that can be not ideal sometimes (e.g., when sharing the space with kids / spouse).
It’s a great move and, if you’re in Atlanta, worth signing up. I’ve seen plenty of local co-working startups come up and go under (or sell out). I hope Switchyards is here for the long term. They are a great addition to the city.