Grind Collaborative Workspace NYC
The term “coworking” has been thrown around quite a bit in recent times, especially in New York. Benjamin Dyett, co-founder of Grind prefers “collaborative workspace”. Partners Karina Warshaw, Stuart Warshaw, and Benjamin Dyett set out to create a different kind of work environment, for those that didn’t want to work in an office or at home. Grind is invite-only (or referral from an existing member).
This private, exclusive club is creating some amazing things. You may recognize the names of Grind collaborators, such as Co:Collective, Behance, Cool Hunting, and BreakfastNY. These companies have their hands in this space in a multitude of ways. For instance, Breakfast NY is responsible for the framed screens on the walls (and the famous Conan O’Brien Blimp). These screens display images all the time. You can upload your own to view, and they also grab images from Behance. One of the great things about this feature is the ability to walk up, see the name of the artist below the screen, and print out a small copy with the contact information. You are also able to “like” the image right on the wall, which sends an email to the artist letting them know that someone from Grind likes their work. This is one example of how the community comes into play at Grind.
The privileged few that are allowed to join are connected in some way, which means being surrounded by similar views and interests. This does not insinuate that everyone is the same. This means that members are vouched for their aptitude, experience, and abilities.
“Community is the most important thing here, and the reason this Grind has been so successful is we have just a ferocious attention on the community, and that’s why everybody loves being here”, Ben tells me as we sit in the corner café facing 29th Street and Park Ave. There is complimentary coffee brewing from Intelligentsia a few feet away. He goes on to mention that they pulled the project together in four months. They opened in September, and closed membership at the end of December after they filled all of the spaces. They also like to keep about 20% of the seats open, in case there are clients coming in, or if you want to change your seat for whatever reason. He tells me that about 80 people come in and out of the 7,500 square feet space every day.
He calls the freelancers working in the space “Free radicals”, which are “basically independent workers that want to work in a new way”. They have unique needs, and don’t always have to be in the space. As a freelancer or contract worker, there is not always work. So what Ben and his team decided is that there shouldn’t be a required amount of time you have to be in the space. He says it’s unreasonable. You can buy time daily, or go month-to-month, and come and go as you please. This frictionless membership allows for greater flexibility in your work schedule.
There is no dedicated seating, and they encourage the members to sit next to someone new each time. There are more opportunities to meet someone that you could connect with, and possibly start something grand. They also host “Liquid Lounges”, which is a time to drink and network at Grind, in a less formal manner. They host a mix of public and private events.
Grind is “a workspace for free-range humans”. Grind doesn’t lock their members in a cage, they let them roam and work they way they always wanted to, with some sweet perks as a chosen one.
What do you think of “members-only” workspaces? Would you ever want to work in an environment like Grind? Why or why not?
New York photographs courtesy of JaegerSloane, Inc.