With mobile technology freeing office drones from their desks and 24/7 connectivity erasing the boundaries of a 9-5 job, bringing work out of the office and into the world is now a common occurrence. However, the limitations of the local Starbucks as an alternative workspace are also becoming evident. While workers might once have chosen their home or a café over the corporate office, the distractions and lack of appropriate infrastructure pose a real problem. The ‘fourth place’ is a term coined by author Richard Florida to describe an entirely new set of spaces where people now engage in work. In this series, we’ll explore a few ways this trend is gaining traction at home and abroad.
The Rise of the Coworking Space
Having an office away from the office isn’t just for ‘creatives’ and people traveling to handle international business deals. Many small, local businesses and independent professionals also get serious business done in these ad hoc working environments. Coworking spaces are no longer restricted to trendy locales like Silicon Valley and New York or Boston. They are becoming part of a much larger industry as a feature in business centers.
For example, Regus offers coworking spaces in addition to virtual offices, day offices, meeting spaces, and other fully serviced, outsourced workspaces business professionals require. Kimberly Lilley, General Manager at a Regus location in North Texas, says the model is growing by leaps and bounds. “Regus has 2,000 sites worldwide and is still expanding.”
Who Is Using Coworking Space?
Kimberly notes that the Arlington, TX location serves a demographic that is heavily sales oriented. The coworking spaces provide desks, storage, broadband internet connectivity, and printers or fax machines to support daily work. Other sections of the business center include a staffed reception area, a lounge, break room, and meeting rooms to support the full range of business needs.
According to Lilley, “The design team tries to keep the theme and furnishings fairly consistent from one site to the next. We have people come here who’ve been to some of our other locations and immediately say, ‘Oh, you’re a Regus!’ It’s very recognizable.” That’s a tip that any business with satellite offices can use. It’s not just the color scheme that conveys your brand. It’s the quality of the office furnishings, layout, infrastructure and more.