LAUNCH|Focus – The Importance of CoWorking Spaces

In recent years we’ve seen huge growth in co-working business in major metropolitan areas with brands like We Work and others expanding rapidly. It’s a market segment that’s fueled by several workplace/economic trends that are currently growing at the pace of 200% a year over the last 5 years!

First, we’re seeing a rise in the number of big companies that are moving to more flexible working arrangements, allowing employees to work from home and other remote locations. This is accompanied by a rise in the freelance/gig economy, with many more people working for themselves as freelancers, consultants, etc.

Finally, the growth in start-up businesses means there are more small/fast-growing companies that need flexible office space.

What do Co-Working places offer?

As more employees move away from the traditional office environment, co-working spaces provide a lot more than the basics of a desk and a conference room equipped with printers and wi-fi. They provide a valuable social element, giving remote workers opportunities to network and get the same level of daily “watercooler chat” that many of us get from coming into a standard office every day.

Many co-working spaces also act as a valuable hub for entrepreneurs and professionals in the local area who may not work there all the time, but participate in events, happy hours and professional mixers. We’re also seeing many co-working spaces take their role within the entrepreneurial eco-system further by developing incubators, accelerators and similar educational/mentoring programs for start-ups.

Why are they important?

Co-working spaces play a vital role in building the entrepreneurial eco-system, providing a flexible and low-cost office environment for anyone starting (or thinking of starting) a business. By combining many entrepreneurs, start-ups, freelancers and big company remote staff into one space, it also creates the sort of serendipitous connections that generate new ideas and promote knowledge sharing.

This is critical, especially for entrepreneurs at the start of their journey or remote workers who spend much of their time head down working on their own projects. At times, being an entrepreneur can feel like a lonely path. It is a huge benefit to have casual connections with others, so they can share problems or issues they may be facing. Getting out of that isolated home office, even for a few days a week, can pay huge dividends in productivity, metal health and wellness, and learning from other professionals.

What does the co-working landscape look like in Southern Oregon?

While Southern Oregon may not have a We Work, we do have some great smaller co-working options locally and it’s definitely an area that is expanding as a new co-working space opened in Ashland just this week. Currently these are our local co-working options:

Ashland:

Rogue CoWorks. Located in downtown Ashland, beneath Taqueria Picaro. Flexible desks from $175/month, permanent desks from $255/month.

Lama Space. Opened this week, also in downtown Ashland behind RedZone. Flexible desks from $150/month, permanent desks from $250/month. Check out their opening party/professional mixer on Jan 25th.

Grants Pass:

The Hivve. A truly impressive open space, combining shared workspace, media studios and the home of software development house Zeal.Flexible desks from $175/month, permanent desks from $300/month.Upcoming events include Medford / GP Chamber’s Young Professionals Network Kickoff Event on Jan 15th.and SOREDI’s LaunchTalks in Grants Pass on May 2ndand Nov 7th.

That just leaves Medford with a gap in the market right now, so if anyone out there is thinking of setting up something like this we’d love to support it! Go check out the spaces listed above for inspiration or get in touch with us here at SOREDI. And if you know of something that we should’ve listed above, please let us know… Contact SOREDI’s Venture Catalyst, Alex Palmer.

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