The decision of where to work -- and how to set up an office -- is a familiar struggle among Seattle-area startups, said Michael Franz, a business adviser with the Washington Small Business Development Center, which is run by Washington State University.
Traffic congestion, combined with high housing prices close to the city's core, have forced many small businesses out to the suburbs or into homes, said Franz
, who has advised 2,000 small businesses in 10 years.
Indeed, brokerage firm CB Richard Ellis reports that office space in downtown Seattle remains tight -- and is expected to tighten over the next year.High-end space rents for $40 per square foot -- which translates to about $20,000 per year for a three-person office.
In the past, offices were viewed as a place to hire employees and keep them, Franz
said.But many employees today don't want to come in -- especially not if they can get the job done closer to home.Offices are changing -- slowly -- to the mobile model.
The younger generation of business owners, who are more comfortable with mobile working, text messaging and using cell phones, are shunning the traditional office, Franz
The five employees at Delicious Monster work from the Zoka coffeehouse near University Village in Seattle.
Shortly after the company was founded in March 2004, "Chief Monster" Wil Shipley and his
colleagues "discovered that we were going to kill each other if we stayed cooped up in this old room in my house," he