Are Collaborative Workspaces The Wave of the Future?

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When you think of ING DIRECT, you think of that bank without branches and tellers. But did you know that in Toronto ING DIRECT offers a collaborative workspace at the corner of Shuter and Yonge Street in downtown Toronto? The ING Direct Downtown Cafe is very open, orange in colour with free wireless internet service. The space offers high tech facilities for entrepreneurs to come together and share ideas.

I got a tour of the facilities at 221 Yonge Street and I was very impressed. As someone who works from a home office I could see myself having a client meeting there. You can rent a workspace for $20 a day or $100 a month and there are two small offices where you can have meetings with about five people to each room. There is also an open area which sits about 40 people. The place is fully equipped with the latest technology and you can have presentations there.

There is also a cafe that serves fairly traded coffee and organic food. Every day, whatever food is left over, the ING Direct staff delivers it to shelters so that the food is not wasted. And they also swing by the offices of Google, not too far away, and other places nearby to collect their perishable food as well.

ING DIRECT is also working with local businesses helping to promote them. For instance, while I was on the tour, they had some bicycles on display from a neighbourhood cycle shop. ING DIRECT purchased the bikes for over $600 and are selling them to customers for $200 less. The money will be donated to help underprivileged children.

So whenever you feel like you need a change from you home office, or are feeling stuck and would benefit from meeting other people, drop by the ING DIRECT Downtown Café at 221 Yonge Street, and experience the new wave in collaboration. And it’s a great way t expand your networks.

Is this collaborative workspace a wave of the future? If it’s as affordable as The ING Direct Downtown Cafe, it may very well be at that price!

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