There is a new type of space in town. It is part office, with amenities that help the inhabitants get work done. It is part coffee shop, with warmth and ambience that invites you to cozy up to your passion. It is part home office: familiar, personal and safe. It is these things, and something so much more. It motivates and excites, and helps its users find solutions. It is a coworking space, and as we greet the New Year, there are more ways than ever to get plugged in to these dynamic spaces.
Every coworking space is slightly different, each targeting a segment of their region’s innovators and creators. Some, like Toolry in Lynchburg, are suited for the makers and creatives. Toolry offers traditional coworking space - desks and plugs - while also offering studio space for visual artists.
“After working from home for about a year and a half, I found out about Toolry and have been hooked ever since. Home is great and cozy, but being in an intentional place for work, surrounded by people who are passionate about the things they create has been a tremendous blessing in my professional life,” says Kyle Hotchkiss, member of Toolry.
Roanoke’s CoLab is a coworking and event space, providing offices and workspace to entrepreneurs, with a focus on technology startups. CoLab features events and programming that bring the community together to share knowledge, ask questions and explore ideas.
Shawn Spencer, member at CoLab and founder of Project: Real Talk, says that the space is “...an entrepreneurial microcosm of what ‘community’ at-large SHOULD be. The culture is innovative and inspirational.” Community, a common theme in coworking, is featured first-and-foremost in both spaces.
Coworking spaces charge a fee for use, which is different depending on their amenity packages, their proximity to parking and town centers and so on. When asked why they spend hard-earned dollars to join coworking spaces, members will cite various life and business value-adds, depending on their current situation.
These members not only use the space, they contribute to it.
“CoLabers embody an entrepreneurial spirit so everyone is excited to generate collaborations and help everyone around them achieve their goals,” says Chase Counts, a CoLab member.
Their knowledge, their experience, their enthusiasm: all of these intangible, unpredictable intricacies of human nature compile to create an electric atmosphere, one that motivates and supports innovators inherently.
In the end, it is all about the experience. Marcelo Quarantotto, member at Toolry, puts it simply: “There's a lot of merit in that that can't be easily expressed through verbal representation. You have to experience it for yourself. And any voice telling you otherwise is probably just inner resistance keeping you from what you need to do.”
Originally published in Clutch Magazine.