28 Apr Insights from a Suburban Pioneer, Pt. 1: Tapping Corporate Coworking Opportunities
In last week’s episode of Everything Coworking, host Jamie Russo interviewed Mara Hauser (25N CEO + Founder) on the ins and outs of an emerging market and subject close to our hearts: suburban coworking. Read on for Mara’s perspective on the challenges (and unique opportunities) that coworking outside of the big-city limits can present—from corporate coworking and growing small-town economies to advice on opening a suburban workspace for yourself.
I. Suburban Corporations Step to the Plate
M: It turns out that most of the companies we serve are enterprise companies… And I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of corporate coworking and what that could do to a company’s bottom line, how that helps save dollars, real estate and facility needs, human resources… while still keeping the employees connected to the company.
There are five generations in the workforce today.
And, of course, in order to tap that potential, it’s key to understand the changes that are happening now in the workplace. There are five generations in the workforce today. There are people who are out of the office most of the time or who are in most of the time—and there’s a real need to connect those people to each other. We also have to address the use of technology—many employees have better technologies than the companies they work for. For example, how do offices accommodate the 20 or 30-year-olds who have superior technology at home? And we have introverts, extroverts, lots of different people who come into a corporate environment, selected for their skills and experiences, but who need an engaging culture in order to be productive.
J: Over the last 10 years, we’ve certainly gotten to a place where there’s a lot more thought given to design but, sort of, the first phase was coming at it from a community perspective, which didn’t always result in the best design for people to get stuff done and be productive—and so you’re really going at it from both angles. Like, how do we bring people together and give them a place to connect outside of a corporate office or home office—but also how do we design that space really well and give them the experience they might be used to in a corporate office and not make that gap so wide.
M: The really big thing was creating zones where they can connect with each other. It’s like taking someone from the finance department and someone from the marketing or sales department who usually, on a day-to-day within a corporation, would never have to talk to each other or see each other, and, yet, could really support each other. We already know that people in unrelated industries, with different skillsets, actively collaborate in a coworking environment, so what kind of feedback or information can these corporate employees give each other, given the same opportunity?