As the appeal to work remotely increases, so does the popularity of coworking spaces.
Whether clients are looking for a private office, conference room, sound proof studio or a single desk in communal work space, Oklahoma’s coworking spaces offer solutions for a variety of situations.
One of Oklahoma City’s coworking spaces, Workflow, provides all the basic office needs such as WiFi and printers, but proudly offers non-traditional amenities too, such onsite creative workshops and inspirational qigong – a form of martial arts.
Still, the question lingers: why are clients choosing a coworking space over the comfort of their own homes?
Workflow’s co-founders, Ginger Casper and Chelsea Banks, offer some insight.
“Just because you can work from home doesn’t mean home is the best place for your work,” says Banks. “Home – the place where you rest – isn’t the place where you should produce an output.”
Lori Zeller opened Elevate, a coworking space in Tulsa, and echoes this sentiment in her own journey as a professional working from home. She emphasizes the tug she felt between her personal life as a wife and mother and her professional life as a small business owner. She realized she needed to accomplish her professional goals in a different space; she needed to find a distraction-free space where she could successfully work for a few hours a day.
“The reality of a 5-year lease agreement, high rent, plus utilities and many other overhead expenses created a new set of challenges in my business. I looked around me and realized that I was paying an enormous price for the professional environment that I desired,” she says. “I realized that so many people share similar struggles, particularly when navigating a remote or hybrid work culture.”
What is a Coworking Space?
Coworking spaces are built and designed for a variety of clients and occasions. Entrepreneurs and remote workers, start-ups, hosts of special events, clubs or groups, creatives and companies in the midst of a move all seek coworking spaces. The appeal? Flexibility and utility.
“Our approach is to intersect with all the needs. We have to make sure the people are comfortable in the space,” says Banks. “We offer what you need. We created this space for the human in mind.”
Workflow, Elevate and other coworking spaces share a common goal: investing in their communities. The locations also open their doors to the community in times of crisis; most recently, Zeller lent a helping hand during the June power outages in Tulsa by offering major discounts to businesses in need of workspaces.
“We’re so grateful to have been able to provide for the need,” she says. “We’re grateful to those who found us and that we forged new friendships in the business community. When I consider the value of coworking, this experience will always stand out as an example of why I do what I do. It’s about people, and when you take the time to care for them well, business just works better.”
Coworking spaces offer more than a room or an office. They offer community and creative energy to serve as a catalyst to help professionals keep and maintain their momentum. Many offer membership programs paid monthly or annually, or clients can choose to purchase hour, day or weekly passes.
“My encouragement for people is to take ownership of their own needs,” says Banks. “Of course you need a printer and basic office needs, but you also may need help to grow your professional dreams. Community is fundamental to mental and professional health. You always have this creative power – you just need space to unlock it.”
Main photo cutline: At Elevate Coworking in Tulsa, employees can rent everything from a single desk to a studio or conference room. Photos courtesy Elevate Coworking