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  • It’s that time of year when we turn to closing out the calendar with Thanksgiving (in the US) and the Christmas, Chanukah and Kwanzaa celebrations. Prior to our restart in 2019, let’s reflect on Gratitude and 7 reasons to be thankful.

    Monday – start of the work week and ability to make an impact; working with colleagues that challenge you to work at a higher level; getting the kids off to school and the opportunity to learn something new; long talk with a friend (yes, could actually be on the phone rather than using that phone to text); typically when the US has a special holiday, making it a 3-day weekend.

    Tuesday – “Productivity Day”, the most productive day, statistically of the work week; recycle pick up by your municipality; volunteering for your favorite cause today; spending time with a friend or loved one who needs extra care; helping your kids with their homework; being the one receiving the extra care from a friend or loved one.

    Wednesday – time for a workout, whether at the gym, at home or simply outside; ability to get or stay healthy in mind, spirit AND body; weekly prayer meeting (no matter your faith); working on your hobby or side gig– your classic car, book club, knitting, woodworking, rebuilding your computer, writing that novel, building your app; recognition by others for your contributions.

    But wait… there’s more!

    Thursday – date night for everyone, even if it’s a night out with your friends; evening of a special performance you’ve booked weeks ago; getting the last major “to-do’s” accomplished at work so you can ease into your weekend on Friday; raising funds at an event supporting your favorite charity; Museum “Free Day” or reduced admission day; the long-sought contract got signed.

    Friday – week accomplished TGIF!; lunch with a friend (vs at your desk); mentoring a colleague or being mentored by a colleague; Pizza & beer night; kid’s Field Trip day; going out to a comedy club; heading out of town for a long weekend; feet up, on the couch, doing NOTHING tonight.

    Saturday – major personal errand day; cooking your favorite meal; going out to a movie, play or concert; getting outdoors and off the grid; remembering that fantastic baseball game you caught over the Summer; celebrating a birthday or anniversary today; cheering for your favorite college team; catching your kid’s game or performance.

    Sunday – Fellowship day – over football, food, friends, faith (could also be Saturday, depending on your faith); storytelling with your family or friends of all the great memories that made you laugh so hard, you cried; celebrating the passing of seasons; reflecting on all that life brought this week and enthusiasm for what’s to come.

    This is our quick list. What makes you Grateful?

    November 21st, 2018

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    Here is our third and final podcast about coworking space development with Brittanie Campbell-Turner of Constructrr.com 

    This episode is an interview with Wendy Spreenberg who is great resource for her expertise in workspace as a service.

    We discuss in this 3 part series, the most important things that I thought would be useful to the any one who is trying to start a co-working community.

    In this last part of the series, Wendy and I talk about the making sure the business model is sustainable to ensure the business owner’s success.

    Find the previous episodes of this Co-Working series at constructrr.com/11 and constructrr.com/12

    February 16th, 2017

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    Part 2 of our coworking podcast series with Brittanie Campbell-Turner of Constructrr.com 

    This episode is an interview with Wendy Spreenberg who is great resource for her expertise in workspace as a service.

    We discuss in this 3 part series, the most important things that I thought would be useful to the any one who is trying to start a coworking community.
     
    In this the 2nd part, we discuss how does understanding the community translate into the necessary design/architectural elements.
     
    If you want to know the answers to these questions – this episode is for you!
    1. To Coffee or Not to Coffee? and how?

    2. Do you need to do any renovation in your space to make it usable as a co-working space?

    3. If so, what did you do in order to get the space ready?

    4. What kind of furniture do you need?

    Find the next episode of this Coworking series at constructrr.com/13

    February 7th, 2017

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    When developing coworking spaces in partnership with our clients, we come across the most amazing (and frequently refreshing) perspectives on how to market and operate coworking spaces.

    To be sure, we love working with entrepreneurs – whether first timers or veterans. We ALWAYS learn something from each project we manage. Lifelong learning energizes us and keeps us in grounded in reality.

    Still, this quick list features marketing strategies that caused us to internalize a “huh, that’s interesting”:

    • A new coworking space in the CBD of a major market with many competitors (traditional shared space and coworking alike) put no money into a marketing budget, believing a strong strategy was to have a college student stand in front of the building wearing a sandwich board, handing out flyers about the new space

     

    • New coworking space in another major market that relied solely on social media to drive traffic to and awareness of the space. Ownership was operating the space as a secondary business and was too busy to build a community from Meetups and outbound networking events. Expected “if we build it, they will come”

     

    • Established space that pivoted to featuring only non-members as speakers and panelists at lunch and learns and after-hours networking events

     

    • Spaces that reject all corporate users (corporate users is a growing population). Context is key but worth reconsidering

     

    • Constant use of shock and awe language (as in something “sucks” or equivalent) in marketing tools. Over time it becomes ineffective and narrows your target demographic options

    We have worked with each of the above clients and have been successful at coaching a few into alternate directions. In our experience, clients that did not move from their marketing position above are no longer in operation.

    January 31st, 2017

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    Our humble thanks to Brittanie Campbell-Turner for featuring us in 2016 on her Constructrr Podcast. We focus our discussion on coworking.

    As described by Brittanie, “This episode is an interview with Wendy Spreenberg who is great resource for her expertise in workspace as a service.

    We discuss in this 3 part series, the most important things that I thought would be useful to the any one who is trying to start a co-working community.
     
    The first part is about what characteristics a co-working host have, and how a host should think about impacting their community.
     
    If you want to know the answers to these questions – this episode is for you!
    1. If you are a co-working host already, what were the benefits you desired when you first thought to do it?
    2. What did you decide your revenue model to be? Monthly, daily, hourly?
      Do you provide meeting spaces, or desk space only? What other amenities do you provide?
    3. Who do you market to?
    4. What are the challenges you find from being a host in a co-working space?

    Find the next episode of this Co-Working series at constructrr.com/12

    January 25th, 2017

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    Want to hear more about how we work with our clients? We deliver immersive business partnering to bring your coworking space alive!

    One aspect is to help you understand more about your particular SWOT in your market and with your location.

    Take a listen to Jamie Russo’s “Everything Coworking” podcast,

    Everything Coworking episode 37: SWOT Analysis of Experienced Operators in a Rapidly Evolving Market

    Wendy Spreenberg, President and Founder of SITE RESolutions, goes through a SWOT Analysis for experienced shared space operators in a rapidly evolving market.

    We explain how existing locations cannot simply tear down walls and insert a 500 sf coworking space in the middle of their floorplan. We also share how those exploring starting a coworking space cannot approach it as a “if we build it they will come”. Coworking is about hospitality, building community and relationships. Take a listen!

    January 17th, 2017

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    Cheers to Lake Forest, IL!

    champagne glasses

    LifeWorking Coworking in Lake Forest, IL announces the next of many opportunities to see the newest NorthShore coworking community take shape.

    LifeWorking Coworking has set two dates for Hard Hat tours, leading visitors through the space while it is under construction. The address is 717 Forest Avenue, 2nd floor. Completion is set for mid-August 2016.

    Steve Whittington, Founder and CEO explains what LifeWorking Coworking brings to professionals; “LifeWorking Coworking is a network of productive and collaborative spaces in both downtown Chicago and the suburbs – designed to enable you to deliver your best, most productive, marginal minute – for your job, while you network, so you can LifeWork!”

    Steve caught on to the concept of developing a coworking space from years spent working from offices, home, hammocks and coffee shops all over the world during his two decades at Proctor & Gamble. He observed a lack of highly functional and professional space where mobile workers could touch down for an hour or two, be highly productive and get on to the next priority in their day.

    “We felt we could deliver on the last mile for mobile workers, corporate refugees, retired executives and next-stage businesses to gain access to flexible workspace, meeting rooms, workstations and even open plan, relaxed seating in a community setting.”

    Eliminating isolation for solo-preneurs and free lancers is also part of the attraction of being a member of LifeWorking Coworking. Steve adds, “Our members will be invited to attend onsite educational sessions delivered by fellow members or area thought leaders. Part of our mission is enabling our member businesses growth opportunities through the connections they make at LifeWorking.”

    Join LifeWorking Coworking on Thursday June 9 “Suds and Dust”, between 4 pm and 7 pm on both days to tour the space and explore how this new workspace will enable you to deliver your best, most productive, marginal minute!

    May 26th, 2016

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    How does celebrating Arbor Day equate to workplace wellness?

    Cultural Landscape Foundation Omstead Parks

    Cultural Landscape Foundation
    Omstead Parks

    We believe that productive and healthy workspace shares these qualities:

    • comforts – creates options for multiple work postures, sitting, standing & lounging
    • stimulates – both mind and senses, using color, scents such as vanilla or citrus, white or pink noise
    • energizes – from the amount of natural light throughout the space to healthy food choices in the vending machine and kitchen/cafe
    • inspires – your best work no matter the work mode, from quiet/focus, to collaborative, to networking
    • evokes – a sense of belonging and eliminates feelings of work isolation and stress

    All of these qualities can also be achieved by conducting some of your work outdoors, under a tree!

    Let us explain.

    Providing outdoor workspace, complete with strong wi-fi signals makes it a “no excuses” option. (ok, excluding inclement weather, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, blistering heat, frozen tundra conditions, tsunamis if we must)

    Let’s share more specifics. Stacia Pierce was recently published on the Huffington Post “10 Best Practices to Staying Healthy at Work”. The highlighted parentheses are ours but lets focus on  #7 “Take breaks and get out in the sun and fresh air. Make sure to get your daily dose of vitamin D by getting outdoors every day.(stimulates) Even on your busiest days, it’s important to take a few minutes to step away and regroup. (inspires) Invigorate yourself by going outside and taking a brisk walk around your office building.(energizes) Or calm yourself from a hectic day by simply sitting and meditating quietly for a few minutes surrounded by nature” (comforts)

    Taking it outdoors will evoke the feeling of being connected to something bigger and reducing stress.

    We agree with the Arbor Day Foundation that “Trees are Simply Amazing” so take action!

    logo-arbor-day-foundation-color and PLANT A TREE  and remember the hammock!

     

     

    April 29th, 2016

    Posted In: Blog, Coworking, HR - Your Team, Workspace

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    Well, we did indeed promise you truth-is-stranger-than-fiction stories of our experiences in the world of developing coworking spaces.

    It’s a beautiful late-Spring day in a Midwestern town. We are traveling to meet with a prospective client who needs to reposition a 15-year old workspace to improve overall revenues and occupancy.

    The town has developed from a remote and heavily rural community to a desirable bedroom community within 10 miles of a suburban hub of a larger metro area. New homes in the town now command upwards of $450K.

    Based on our initial conversations, the onsite team has created a welcoming spirit and has been stable for 7 years. Currently, they generate approximately 35% of their revenue from additional services beyond space fees and technology. (for those not familiar, the average services revenue equals approximately 20% of overall business revenues) Our separate conversation with the onsite team confirms our impressions that they are competent, thoughtful and very service-oriented.

    This is a productive work environment for everyone.

    Location in their town is easily recognizable in a commercial/office area and is within 2 miles of trains to the metro downtown. A great option for prospective clients who need an office but only occasionally need to be downtown. Area amenities are increasing as the town develops. Specifically, a new health club and local restaurants have popped up within a quick drive of the building.

    As the initial conversation outlines, the client owned the building but has sold it to the current landlord and they negotiated a very reasonable rental rate through the next 3 years. Their current occupancy is approximately 70%.

    They’ve tried everything they can think of to advertise locally and maximize market awareness. Granted, their marketing materials could be updated, inclusive of their website. The owner has been very active in Chamber of Commerce networking and using local vendor/members for services to support the workspace.

    The client is open to putting in some funds toward updating marketing materials tools as well as the appearance of the space, with a single exception. This exception is that updating the reception lobby and is simply non-negotiable.

    As we drive into the parking lot, indeed, the lot is full of cars, the building is well maintained. Landscaping, decor, cleanliness all meet standards for a good, well-run property.

    We enter the workspace lobby and determine EXACTLY why they client is having difficulty increasing revenues and occupancy. In addition to the 1950’s themed outdoorsman artwork throughout, we are greeted by a mounted equivalent of this

    grizzly.standing

    The client is an avid outdoorsman and this is a personal trophy that he insisted on displaying in the lobby. Talk about frightening small children and nearly all the female prospects to the space!

    It took us 6 months of cajoling, reasoning, suggesting that finally convinced the client to relocate it off site on another property. The decor was updated at a reasonable cost and within 12 months (6 months post-trophy) the client achieved 87% occupancy and increased net profit by 18%.

    Sometimes the client gets in their own way.

    We could “bearly” contain our excitement at the outcome!

    If you’d like to share a story, please reach out to us.

    April 20th, 2016

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    So much is happening in the world of collaborative workspace across the US- check it out!

    InBIA – already NEXT WEEK! April 17 – 20 in Orlando – details can be found here

    Coworking? This is THE one to attend, opposite coast – GCUC in LA, May 3-6

    WORKTECH15-New York is May 13 &14 – for those involved in the future of work!

    WANY – Workspace Association of NY is an invitation-only opportunity and this year is themed “BC@50” -celebrating 50 years of the serviced office business center, the FIRST iteration of coworking space. It will be taking place June 10 in New York. Curious? Please reach out to ray@workspace-any.com

    NeoCON- Chicago – June 13-15 – “Good Design Can Achieve a Lot” – here’s how – much more trending in creating Design that Works, in the City that Works!

    Then Summer to enjoy, take a break, work your ideas and then let’s get back at it in August!

    April 12th, 2016

    Posted In: Blog, Coworking, Office Business Centers, Workspace

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