Bea Arthur, a mental health counselor, joined The Wing four years ago and recently returned. “I’m a tough girl, I was like ‘nuh uh,’ all the pink,” Ms. Arthur said of her initial hesitation to become a member. “But they nailed the vibe. There’s a lot of diversity. I’m very glad it’s back.” Her biggest surprise upon return? More men working there.
The Wing is dedicated to an “expanded culture code,” Ms. Kasan said.
Plenty of New Yorkers would rather not be bothered with workplace culture at all. “There’s no better gift than being left alone,” said Matt Gallagher, a writer. Labyrinthe, in Williamsburg, has people like Mr. Gallagher in mind. The founder, Lyon Aung, and his partners, all recent college graduates with start-up aspirations, found that trying to work together in cafes was not sustainable. They also “didn’t vibe well,” Mr. Aung said, with more commercial co-working spaces like WeWork. The trio came up with the idea of individual pods, unlocked and rentable by the hour through users’ smartphones.
Mr. Gallagher discovered Labyrinthe last fall, when he had reached his wit’s end working at home with two children and a spouse teaching elementary school remotely. “Having a pseudo office to go to at hours of my choosing has been fantastic for my work-life balance,” he said after a morning shift in the pod, followed by lunch and family time. “I need the space to exit the real world, just disappear into my head and disappear into whatever’s happening between me and the Word document.”
Earlier in the pandemic, hotels offered workday rentals, while many New Yorkers came up with office alternatives that were anywhere but home. Restaurants, too, started to latch on to the concept.
Last fall, the restaurateur Moshe Schulman started Work From Kindred, inviting people to use his East Village restaurant’s Wi-Fi, coffee, outlets and bathroom (for $25 a day) on weekdays from 9 to 5. Hundreds of New Yorkers took him up on his offer, he said, many returning two or three times a week. The program went on hiatus for the winter, resuming in May with the introduction of an outdoor extension. One team meeting there recently used plastic safety barriers as an impromptu drawing board to post sticky notes with marketing ideas. In a strange twist, co-working “regulars” reserve their spots using the restaurant reservation service Resy.