We’ve seen it before. You walk into a local coffee shop for your morning latte and there are no places left to sit. Who are all of these laptop-toting people and why are they here?
Meet today’s mobile workforce: remote teleworkers, entrepreneurs and freelancers. They’re business owners and professionals camped out for the day to conduct face-to-face meetings with clients and prospects. Maybe a few of them are busy parents seeking some sense of solitude that they couldn’t get at home in order to get that project done by the deadline. But is all of this really productive working?
This is the question that inspired Margaret Otto, an active business owner, volunteer, and mother of four, to open Realm Workspace and bring the Coworking concept to the South Bay.
“Quality of life is important for our community. We spend so much unproductive time commuting to work and many home-based businesses need to have a place they can come to work or meet without distractions,” says Otto, owner of Realm Workspace. “I started Realm because I wanted to help people find their work-life balance and Coworking is a great way to do that and be productive.”
Coworking is not a new concept. The idea came from San Francisco software engineer Brad Neuberg back in the early 2000s. He enjoyed the flexibility and independence of being in business for himself but also missed the community provided by working at a job. He created a new kind of space that supported those needs and the term Coworking was born. The communal atmosphere is key to the Coworking concept. It’s less corporate and more like a friendly gathering of like-minded independent workers.
Highly attractive for startups, entrepreneurs and mobile workers partly because of its affordability, convenience and flexibility, Coworking members can rent a desk for a day or sign up for longer-term rentals as needed for a fraction of what it costs to lease office space and equipment. Most Coworking spaces like Realm Workspace offer a variety of amenities such as hi speed Wi-Fi access, free parking, 24/7 access, convenient locations, power plugs and usb charging ports, secure lockers, coffee/tea and snacks.
For many, what’s even more appealing than saving money is the sense of collaboration, community and the networking opportunities that come along with Coworking. Since the workplace is a shared environment with a variety of people from different backgrounds, businesses and organizations, fellow members of the space can prove to be highly valuable contacts, offer insight into business ideas or be connections to new projects, jobs or clients.
While some may think that working in a bathrobe from home is great, it’s not for everyone. Even the most disciplined must face the distractions of home and the neighborhood. Likewise, Coworking is not for everyone. “We look for clients who miss the interaction of other people and want to get out of the house or off the road. Working from home can be lonely. And many of our remote workers get much more done at Realm than a normal day at the office,” says Otto.
Already Realm is attracting a unique set of members from a local clothing line startup to travelers flying in to LAX who need a short-term space to hold meetings and get work done while in town, not too far from the beaches of Southern California.
The popularity of Coworking spaces has increased over the past ten years as 34 percent of the American workforce are independent workers and more of the workforce is younger with 22.5% of millennials working from home at least part of the time.
So what are some of the reasons to consider Coworking? Many find it helpful for expanding social circles and business networks, especially for new businesses or those whose work tends to be more isolating. People who have worked in a Coworking space report that the collaborative environment helps them get new ideas relating to their business and they have had greater motivation by working in a professional environment with others. Popular Coworking spaces also offer other benefits to their members to help them with support services and facilitated introductions to help navigate business problems.
“As part of the Realm community, we want to help our members be successful,” says Otto. “We provide workshops, happy hours, lunch and learns, and networking events to build connections and share knowledge within our community.”
With the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimating that 40 percent of the U.S. workforce will be freelancers, temps, independent contractors and entrepreneurs who run their own businesses by 2020, the future looks bright for Realm Workspace.
Based in Redondo Beach, Realm provides professional coworking space for entrepreneurs, creatives and remote teleworkers without the contractual commitment and expense of leasing and furnishing an office. Realm Workspace is located at 1603 Aviation Blvd, Redondo Beach, CA 90278. For more information, visit www.RealmWorkspace.com.