Co-working at Second Gear – Lansing Michigan

A screenshot of Second Gear's webpage featuring pictures of the inside of their building. Two weeks ago I found myself headed to Michigan for some last-minute travel that couldn’t be avoided.  I’m fortunate enough to have an employer that supports my working from home so I browsed the web for co-working locations in Michigan.  As luck would have it a local design and development company called Gravity Works was running a “community project” called Second Gear – a co-working space (one of only a handful in all of Michigan) just a few miles from my mom’s house where I was staying.  I thought I’d share with you all a little be about my experience working at Second Gear.

On Monday morning I made the short drive over to old town Lansing through the bustling traffic and crazy road construction Lansing has going on.  It seemed that all of Lansing’s roads were under construction while I was there and no one was in any sort of hurry to wrap up the construction work.  Between the road construction and the one way streets I got a bit lost but quickly found my way using Google Maps and the GPS system in my phone.  I parked right behind the building dropping enough quarters into the meter to keep me safe for a few hours and headed into the building.  At first I wasn’t sure they were still open…  locked doors, and it was already 9am (a full hour after they opened)! Quickly I found a sign directing me to the doors for Gravity Works and I sheepishly poked my head in the door not wanting to interrupt the designers and developers there in the office.  Greeting me at the door was Amelia Marschall who was nice enough to show me around and introduce me to some of the Gravity works folks.

Walking into the workspace area I was introduced to Adam and Scott two Gravity works employees whom are located in the co-working area because they’ve outgrown their own digs next door.  These two outstanding gentleman were nice enough to spend their week with me sitting next to them calling into meetings and bugging them about where to eat lunch and how to avoid the crazy road construction.

The workspace itself was gorgeous! Covered in rich hardwood flooring, a stark contrast from the concrete floors beneath my feet as I’m sitting here at Gangplank writing this post, the floor creeks and echoes off the walls as you walk around. The tables are spacious with power outlets at each table.  Additionally the workspace features some nice touches with an antique looking ceiling and modern lamps at each table.  The front of the workspace looks out over the streets of old town Lansing through some wood framed glass doors that let the sunlight poor in (during the 15 or 20 minutes a week when their’s sunshine :)).  It’s really nice being able to look up and people watch for a bit or see how much rain is coming down throughout the day.  They’ve also got a nice semi-private conference room in the back that can been partitioned off using a pair of french doors… this room doubles as the kitchen and a general purpose meeting room.

The people at Second Gear (really Gravity Works folks) were fantastic… the were super friendly and didn’t mind my questions (or at least didn’t let me know they did) about where to eat, protocol for taking meetings, and how to navigate to the closest BestBuy!  Aside from the Gravity Works folks there weren’t a lot of people there during the week.  One day there was a group of folks that normally work individually from home that all met at Second Gear for some socializing while getting some things done and there was a group of three guys from Grand Rapids that were in Lansing for the day and decided to come in and get some work done.

In terms of getting work done, Second Gear had a great WiFi connection that was fast and easy to connect to.  I did have some problems running remote desktop (from my Macbook Air to my Lenovo work machine) over their routers but suspect an out of the box setting on their router was preventing my connection.  It wasn’t a big hassle and probably not something that most folks do (bring in multiple laptops and remote from one to the other).  Other’s must-haves for getting work done at Second Gear included a couple of restrooms, a nice big whiteboard (that they installed while I was there), and lots of space for sprawling out! Getting work done from Second Gear cost me $15 per day after the first day (which was free).  It seemed like a good value for the money and something I’d do again in a heartbeat!

Other tips for working out of Second Gear:

  • Check out Pablo’s Panaderia for lunch, fantastic authentic Mexican food!
  • Get out and stretch your legs a bit.  There are lots of good people-watching and scenery surrounding Second Gear as you walk around old town.
  • Bring lots of quarters… public parking requires $.25 / hour to park… lost of space available, you just need to remember to bring change!
  • Bring a headset for phone calls… even in the conference room it’s not easy to do a call on speakerphone because the noise just seems to echo in the building.
  • Give Adam and Scott a high-5 tell them Josh said hi!
  • Don’t have $15 in cash… no problem, they take credit cards using Square – VERY COOL!
  • Let Lauren know where you’re from and what your twitter handle is and she’ll give you a shout out from @WorkAtTheGear
To the fine folks at Gravity Works, I appreciate the opportunity to get some work done there at Second Gear and you’ve done a great job setting up a warm and welcoming place to get work done for the traveling (or social) information worker.  Thank you!

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