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What are the benefits of coworking?

In many ways, coworking spaces are the antithesis of traditional corporate culture. With an environment based on flexible working spaces and 24-hour availability, coworking offices have a fluidity that is nearly non-existent in most 9-5 offices. However, because coworking spaces have become so prevalent, and because coworking spaces are producing some of the most innovative products and services, coworking centers and corporations have formed tentative bonds that offer benefits to each partner.

Money
The coworking economic model is not always the most stable. Because coworking lease agreements tend to be highly fluid, coworking managers don’t always know how much revenue is going to be coming in month over month. Corporate sponsors can lend stability to a coworking company’s budget. With an annual sponsorship, the coworking company sees stable revenue and the corporations gets brand exposure to up-and-coming professionals.

Space
Sometimes, coworking spaces get over-run with members who need space to work. And sometimes, corporations have dozens of empty cubicles to fill. A space exchange helps balance the desk equation by offering an additional resource for each side throughout the year. In conjunction with a corporate sponsorship, a desk exchange program can really help both sides use square footage effectively.

Collaboration
Some of the most innovative thinking happens inside coworking spaces. And some of the best resources are locked up inside the corporate structure. For example, a manufacturer with unused machine time might need a new innovative product to produce. And a coworking team might have some great ideas without the financial resources to produce a prototype or finish product. By coming together, both sides of the equation get to maximize resources with minimum risk.

It’s not always easy for corporations and coworking spaces to find each other. Generally, collaboration must come about through casual contact at MeetUp events and networking parties. And as with any possible endeavor, the partnership takes time to develop into something highly productive. However, coworking spaces are the center of enterprise thinking. And corporations will remain the core of financial resources. So each side has the motivation to seek out the other and find common ground for development.

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Wellness at Work

Work can be stressful; but your workplace shouldn’t be. The modern office has come a long way from the dull pallor of the grey cubicles and fluorescent lighting of the 1980s. To be fair, some work spaces seem to have gone too far… basketball courts and open floorplans might seem enviable — but could mean far too many distractions for functional workplace. The right approach to wellness in the workplace means creating a plan customized to match your location and meet the needs of your group of workers.

San Diego’s CyberTECH is embracing wellness with an initial, three-pronged approach: hydration, nutrition, and physical activity. Moreover, CyberTECH is partnering with emerging companies to bring these wellness activities into their co-working space.

To start, CyberTECH has partnered with Kona Deep to ensure its Members have the best water available throughout their working day. According to its website, “Kona Deep offers a very different hydration experience because of its unique blend of naturally occurring deep ocean electrolytes.” As an incubator space for entrepreneurs and tech companies, CyberTECH is a second home to many of its Members. Early morning meetings and late nights are standard in this workplace. Most of the Members will spend more (awake) hours in these offices than at home. And while tap water might be sufficient, proper hydration comes from drinking high quality water, like Kona Deep.

While CyberTECH has a great Banker’s Hill location with fantastic views of the San Diego bay and Lindbergh landing strip, there aren’t many places nearby to grab lunch. To encourage healthy eating, CyberTECH is soon to open Grind – Fresh and Healthy Choices Coffee Cart. The in-house cart will be using local coffee roasters and local food producers to offer Members a way to buy fresh food and coffee. Members will soon have an easy way to grab food and gather around a café table or conference table to discuss collaborative business opportunities.

CyberTECH is also going to expand its use of the interior courtyard at the First and Fir building by offering Feng Gong Relaxation. With the help of a Member organization, CyberTECH wants to help others at First and Fir reduce work-related stress with this Asian practice of stretching and relaxation.

CyberTECH will continue to expand and adjust its workplace wellness plans as Member needs grow and change. Possible future additions include a running club, morning yoga, and in-house benefits consultations.

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Picking Your Workplace: Finding the Niche for your Business

Not all co-working spaces are created equal – and that can be a good
thing. Perhaps you want a super-professional, crisp and clean lobby
with white furniture and no music. Or maybe you need a wide expanse of
desks with active conversations and collaborative teams. Before you
make the decision of which co-working space will best suite you,
consider some of these issues:

Can you easily downgrade or upgrade?

You might feel invincible, but every business goes through its ups and
downs. If you suddenly lose your biggest client, can you easily switch
from a private office to a single desk without much trouble? And when
business picks up, can you easily add one of those desks onto your
lease so you have a place for your part-time employee?

What are the other businesses in the space?

While it might be comforting knowing that you are surrounded by other
businesses like yours (think tech starts ups, non profits, lawyers,
etc), you will likely have a greater sense of workplace satisfaction
with a greater diversity of people at your co-working space. Plus, if
you are a business that is looking to use the co-working space for
networking and business development, the greater the diversity, the
better. Be sure to ask about networking events; people often need some
wine and chips to step outside of their office shells and start
talking to each other.

What kinds of fringe benefits does the space offer?

More specifically, how good is the coffee? Neither you nor your
clients want off-brand coffee that sits all day and turns into tar. If
the co-working space doesn’t include hospitality services, you might
want to consider another place. Single serve coffee machines, free
printer use, and a strong Wi-Fi signal can mean the difference between
a mediocre office and a stellar one. And check on the hours of
operation. Some co-working spaces are locked up by 6pm and closed on
the weekends. So if you are going to use your office for any off hour
meetings, you will need to ensure you and your clients have easy
access.

Parking and Meeting Rooms

Is parking going to be difficult? Many co-working spaces are in busy,
downtown areas. Is there public transportation that can get you to the
office? Without it, you might be paying a meter and moving your car
throughout the day. And how accessible are those meeting rooms? Sure,
you may not need to meet clients at the office every day, but if the
meeting rooms are booked three weeks in advance, then you might
trouble when you need to have a private, professional conversation.

Most importantly, visit each space and try to interact with some of
the current tenants. Every co-working space will post beautiful photos
on the web; but standing at the espresso bar and chatting with some
current tenants about the next internal networking event will make
selecting the office an easy choice.