ELLSWORTH — Do you need someone to look over that email before you send it, or edit that line of code? Or do you simply want a desk that isn’t covered in dog hair and disconcertingly close to the laundry pile? Co-working spaces are here for you, says Nicole Ouellette, owner of Anchorspace, which recently opened a location at 53 Oak St.
The company’s second location (there is already one in Bar Harbor that’s thriving, says Ouellette) is a partnership with Dave Charron, owner of Compusult. The two businesses share space in a 2,800-square-foot home that has been converted to offices. There is a lawn and small parking lot, and the area is zoned for downtown use, which allows for commercial enterprises.
“Charron was looking for ways to use his space for more professional development and other collaborative uses,” Ouellette says in a press release.
Eight people can work comfortably in the room at any one time. There’s a conference room that seats 10-12, high-speed internet, a printer, individual desks and tea and coffee. The house has a full kitchen and “a cozy wood stove area” for when the weather turns, says Ouellette.
It isn’t just tech workers taking advantage, says Ouellette, ticking off the occupants she’s seen so far: “We’ve got a music therapist, an accountant, a lawyer, a computer programmer.”
On its website, the company lists “51 Uses for Anchorspace,” which include: food show, silent auction, therapy sessions, comedy shows and game night.
“Ellsworth is really a crossroads,” says Ouellette. Anchorspace will provide is a quiet, secure spot to get work done, hold meetings, and collaborate with other members, says Ouellette. “But Anchorspace Ellsworth also has a soul. It’s colorful with lots of natural light. It’s in a really visible location. It’s walking or biking distance from downtown.”
Anchorspace offers a $199 monthly “floating membership,” which the company’s website describes as “kind of like a gym membership, but for your business/brain.” For those who want to use the space regularly, the company offers a $399 monthly membership, which allows for 24-hour access and a dedicated workstation.
Having locations in both Ellsworth and Bar Harbor will “double the possibilities,” says Ouellette. There will be “more networking, more professional development, more business amongst members, more visibility for everyone involved.”
Since co-working first appeared in San Francisco in 2005, similar spaces have appeared in cities across the globe. Apps have sprung up to cater to the industry, such as Croissant, where co-workers pay a monthly fee for access to hundreds of partner spaces. Restaurants are cashing in, sometimes even ditching dwindling lunch service and opening their doors to laptop-toting workers during the day in an effort to boost thin profit margins.
All of this is to provide services to a growing section of the economy—freelancers and “gig workers,” those who shift frequently between jobs. A 2016 study commissioned by Upwork and the Freelancers Union puts freelancers at 35 percent of the total workforce — around 55 million Americans – and growing. While some were forced into freelancing out of necessity, the study found that a majority were doing so by choice, for scheduling and workplace flexibility, and sometimes because “having a diversified portfolio of clients is more secure than having one employer,” according to the study’s authors.
The Ellsworth location is members-only for the moment. For more information or to sign up, visit anchorspace.com or call 613-5344.
Correction: An earlier version of this article contained an error. Anchorspace offers a $199 monthly “floating membership” and a $399 monthly membership, which allows for 24-hour access and a dedicated workstation.