Co-working spaces buck the home office trend

What comes to mind when I say, “commuting to work”?

Maybe it’s a morning rush-hour drive or transit trip to downtown Vancouver. Perhaps it involves a walk through the parking lot of a suburban office development after you’ve parked your car or disembarked from the company shuttle bus at a nearby SkyTrain station.

For a growing number of us, work involves a trip to a different kind of place altogether — to a co-working space. Co-working spaces are offices made available by daily or hourly rental, or through a membership model. They provide ample amounts of office necessities: an ergonomic seat, wireless Internet, power, coffee and soothing, inspiring surroundings.

Many small businesses or remote workers choose to be based out of co-working spaces as a pleasant alternative to home offices, with the added benefit of being more reliable and formal than taking meetings at a local coffee shop. Co-working spaces almost universally cultivate relaxed, friendly environments by hosting social or networking events.

Speaking to two people who are members of these co-working spaces, I heard that being able to choose to use transit added to the attractiveness of the co-working space. Proximity to clients and colleagues were cited as the driving factor for being located outside downtown.

Both mentioned the flexibility that comes with working at a small business goes hand-in-hand with the benefits of the co-working model. For one member, co-working is invaluable for supporting their work preferences as a creative professional. The other spoke of driving not being a realistic option, as they enjoy spending their commuting time being productive or restful.

As Richard Littlemore pointed out in a recent Globe and Mail piece on the high-tech industry in B.C., there are 5,000 one-person start-ups in tech, and the industry employs 84,000 people across the province — more than combined employment in industries like forestry, mining and oil and gas.

The million people coming to our region will be building tomorrow’s small businesses. Many of them will be run by or employ people not unlike those I spoke to, who are flourishing in our region’s other downtowns. Those future workers and residents don’t get to vote in our plebiscite now on whether they’ll have a well-functioning transit system.

They’ll simply come here, stay if it’s working for them or leave for a better place if it doesn’t.

Source: Metro News

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