We asked guest blogger and Candy Factory member, Justin Chlan, to share his experience with us after working at the coworking space called Spark in Baltimore, Maryland.
Take Coworking on the Road
by Justin Chlan
Yes, it was one of the coldest days of the year to visit the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, but a trip to the “Charm City” is always a treat. My colleague Bunty has been traveling Baltimore to visit his girlfriend and will be moving there by the end of 2016. Being a virtual company, we rely on the use of Instant Messages as well as other teleconferencing services, but actual face to face interactions are rare. Thankfully, with the rise of co-working spaces like Spark Baltimore, it is easier to make a short trip to make an investment in your employees.
After exiting the parking garage, failing to follow all of the instructions for early bird pricing, and making a quick turn towards the space, I was in the Power Plant district nestled in Baltimore Live!. Baltimore Live! is a bit of a planned/developed entertainment district. Within Baltimore Live! you have many bars, restaurants, and music venues. Areas such as these are not where I would ordinarily gravitate towards, but I could easily envision sitting on a patio with a cold beer and relaxing after the day.
Once through the front door of the building and in the elevator heading towards the third floor, I was on my way to Spark. The doors opened and I approached the desk. Lydia greeted me warmly and inquired about who I was there to visit. I let her know I was there for a day pass and we got the payment information out of the way. While I did not inquire, I did not see them on the visa program website. However, the $15.00 day pass was amazingly affordable; I was happy to contribute.
Lydia showed me around to the two areas where day passers can congregate: a more office-like environment with proper desks, or the lounge. I settled on the lounge as our base of operation. The lounge area has a large counter/shelf along the far window-lined wall. A shuffleboard table and foosball table are available for work or post-work distraction. A large kitchen with a two-tap system (beer taps) is available for day-trippers to enjoy coffee, water, or some suds.
After a successful conference call, Bunty and I explored the rest of the building. Along the outer perimeter of the building and large rooms are the private offices. Being all glass, they are not private and that follows the mantra of coworking and being part of a community. You are afforded privacy and your own dedicated space, but visually you are a part the room. One of the highlights of the whole space is the conference room with a garage door. Absolute genius move. On the opposite side of Spark are additional offices and the full-time desks, either dedicated or flex. As it was on the other side, this room also includes glass-walled private offices.
Before leaving for the day (sadly returning home and not spending more time in Baltimore), I asked Lydia, “I was asked to write a blog. What should I write about?” We decided that espousing the virtues of traveling to new cities and working remotely was a fine topic. As you have read, this blog didn’t go quite as planned. The people and the character of Spark Baltimore won me over and I felt it necessary to share.
I will close with what was my original intention. Get in the car or train and get out there. If you regularly work at a coworking space, it is likely that you do not have a long commute. Take a train to Philadelphia and work for the day. Work for the day and have a great dinner before the train trip home. Grab a few fellow coworkers and drive to Baltimore. Plan a summer trip to enjoy the longer days by the water. Take in an Orioles game. Extend your vacation a few days if you are making longer trips.
Thanks again to Lydia and Chervonne for your hospitality and making sure that Bunty and I had everything we needed for our day at Spark. I can assure you in a few months, when the weather turns to Spring, you will find me in the lounge at Spark during the day and riding the bull at the PBR Bar and Grill by night.
Or at Max’s on Broadway. Yeah, definitely Max’s.
Thank you, Justin, for sharing your experience at another coworking spot! We look forward to more featured blogs by our wonderful members!