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The Word Coworking?
Did you know that the concept of sharing the use of an office space has been around for a few decades. However, the term coworking wasn't used until 2005. Brad Neuberg is the first person coined with using the term when he created San Francisco Coworking Space.
What is coworking?
Coworking is the act of using a workspace through a membership or a day pass, where you gain access to the shared space and have specific access depending on the membership or day pass you buy. The company who runs the coworking space is known as the operator and are responsible for managing the space. The members are those who use the space. While the obvious benefit of coworking is sharing infrastructure, cost, and basic office upkeep, one of the most important cornerstones of coworking is actually the community and environment that they create. Coworking spaces provide opportunities into office spaces to markets that traditionally wouldn't have workspace solutions, accessibility to new people and additional visibility, and an increased sustainability over starting off with a traditional commercial lease.
What does Wikipedia say about coworking?
Coworking is an arrangement in which several workers from different companies share an office space, allowing cost savings and convenience through the use of common infrastructure, such as equipment, utilities, and receptionist and custodial services, and in some cases refreshments and parcel acceptance services. It is attractive to independent contractors, independent scientists, telecommuting and work-at-home professionals, and people who travel frequently. Additionally, coworking helps workers avoid the isolation they may experience while telecommuting, traveling, or working at home, while also eliminating distractions.
Coworking & How It Changes Things
Coworking Specifics to CoWorks @ Vita Therapia
What type of coworking options do you have?
hot desk options: day passes, basic membership, and a premium membership;
private office options: fixed schedule memberships and flexible booking memberships
conference room: on-demand reservations, flexible booking memberships
event space: on-demand reservations, fixed schedule memberships, and flexible booking memberships
virtual office: mailing service and meeting room option
Do I have to share a private office with a person at the same time? No, absolutely not. Sharing doesn't mean at the same time, instead it means that several people take turns using a space and the cost of running the space is spread out across many memberships instead being paid by just one or a few people.
Do I have to still pay for utilities? Everything is included in a coworking office membership except for add ons like an upgrade in furniture, extra storage, or if you request something above and beyond the standard membership.
So, who owns the lease of the office unit if many businesses share the same location? Unlike sub-leasing, coworking is different because the coworking company has a direct relationship with the landlord and manages the space, furniture, fixtures, utilities, benefits, and general access to the overall community. It is all of these things that are covered in a member's membership fees.
Why would a landlord want to work with a coworking company? Often times a commercial real estate company will have a larger office space that doesn't quickly move. A coworking company can use this space for their community and several businesses versus the real estate company waiting for one corporate company.
Why wouldn't real estate companies want to offer coworking themselves? It is a lot of work, coordination, and dealing with all types of people. It is easier for real estate companies to let the coworking companies handle the smaller businesses who wouldn't likely be their clients until their companies grew. It is a good idea for real estate companies to work with coworking companies as referral partners so they can catch members as they out grow coworking and need a bigger space.
Interview with our CEO - Jenna Amara
How did you first hear of coworking?
I have always had an interest in commercial real estate and so for fun I am always looking for what is available in the market place. I started to notice ads on craigslist for coworking spaces and so I checked them out to see what they were all about. Turns out they were right up my alley.
Why do you think coworking is important to our business and working infrastructure?
In business there is a high rate of failure especially for newer or smaller businesses, coworking provides an essential stepping stone for new and smaller businesses as they grow. They also foster a community of like-minded individuals that give these types of businesses the extra support they need. This is typically something you can't find if you are working alone at home, in a coffee shop, or just rely on networking and business groups alone.
Did you always own and manage a coworking space? If not what did you do before?
No, I haven't always owned a coworking space. I started CoWorks @ Vita Therapia November 2017. I came to owning and managing a coworking space out of necessity and to solve a problem I was personally having at the time.
I have a deep love of business. I studied business management at Simmons College, where I fell in love with business plans, strategy, and all of the different aspects of business. Through my career, I've held positions in customer service, project management, operations management, and I've helped with marketing and sales initiatives. I have a deep knowledge of customer relationship management systems and have been implementing them or applications that hook into them since 2005. This experience gives me an unique perspective when it comes to looking at systems, customer journeys, and how we experience things not only at work but in our business interactions in general. I love learning new things and owning my own coworking space has allowed me to not only implement many of my own systems but also test what works, what doesn't, and help advice others on ways they may improve what they are doing in their business.
Why did you decide to open a coworking space?
I had just left a position as an operations manager and was pretty burnt out. I wanted to use my knowledge and experience and help others so I trained to become a coach. Meeting with my first clients it became very clear that working from home wasn't going to be a good match for me. I had a dog that just wouldn't stop barking and a family that wasn't good at respecting my boundaries when working. I needed a comfortable and professional space where I could meet my clients. This is how CoWorks @ Vita Therapia came to be. Our legal name is Vita Therapia LLC and means Life Therapy because I truly believe that work is more than just a "job" it is a balance between our outer purpose and our family life.
What value does coworking provide people who live in the outer suburbs of Boston?
The biggest value someone gets out of coworking is the sense of community and being tied to something that is bigger than yourself. The people you meet might change each day and there is opportunity to forge new relationships or foster the ones you've already made.
Why should other organizations partner with coworking spaces?
Coworking results in a variety of businesses that need the support of local organizations such as networking organizations, chambers, business groups, and other special interest groups. Bringing people together in a coworking space and working together only strengthens what we can all achieve.
What are the most important qualities in a coworking member?
I would have to say the most important qualities in a coworking member are:
Collaborative, Respectful, Integrity, Patience, Compassion, Accepting, Friendly, Gracious
To provide the resources, knowledge, and access to connections that enable small businesses, solopreneurs, remote workers, gig workers, and the like to be successful. We do this by providing comfortable workspaces, coaching and consulting services, mentorship programs, sponsorship programs, and online learning programs. We strive to provide an inclusive and supportive environment for our members, their guests, and our community.
Where you work, what you do, how you do it - these are all important factors to working and having a career. We see work as more of a fluid experience that is defined by each individual rather than a cookie cutter cubical 9 to 5 schedule. Therefore the solutions and services we offer need to reflect options for an evolving way of working and occupying space for businesses and workers a like.
There is nothing I am more passionate about than helping other businesses be successful.