Make us your home page

Millennials go back to the office

Alex Altman, left, and Jacob Zuppke of Traffic Digital Agency talk business at Venture Park, an office space they share with other companies in Royal Oak, Mich.

Detroit Free Press

Alex Altman, left, and Jacob Zuppke of Traffic Digital Agency talk business at Venture Park, an office space they share with other companies in Royal Oak, Mich.

For years, Rob Cousineau and his partners operated their video-editing company, Get Super Rad, from their homes. Earlier this year, they decided a more grownup place was in order and moved to Venture Park, a shared working space in Royal Oak, Mich.

They wanted the benefits and amenities of an office without the high cost — or long-term commitment — so they could work around other young, creative entrepreneurs.

The co-working space, which was a hotel years ago, offers a variety of options, from small enclosed offices with lofts to what looks like a table at a coffee shop. In fact, in one large room, Venture Park is building a coffee bar to create a social atmosphere.

"You ever talk to people who are so excited about what they are doing it inspires you?" Cousineau, 30, asked. "That's what it's like to work at Venture Park."

The trend of co-working — putting several small independent companies and professionals under the same roof — has been growing over the past five years. It has been driven largely by technology, enterprising 20-somethings and, in some cases, workers who started small businesses or started to freelance after being downsized.

Deskmag, an online magazine about co-working, publishes an annual Global Co-working Survey that estimated there are more than 110,000 people working in nearly 2,500 spaces worldwide, an increase of 83 percent from last year.

"In some ways this is a trend of going back to the workplace," said Margaret Williams, the interim dean of Wayne State University's School of Business Administration. "A lot of it is driven by the millennial generation and their affinity for social connections."

Co-working allows entrepreneurs who might otherwise toil alone at home, or set up temporary digs at a coffee shop table, to have a permanent business address, access to a conference room and also to socialize with office mates.

"Co-working is all about bringing flexibility to an office, and that appeals to entrepreneurs," said Derek Turner, director of business development at Grand Circus in Detroit. Grand Circus, which opened this year, offers about 40 offices on a daily, weekly and monthly rate. "They don't always know where their company will be in two years."

At the same time, co-working helps separate personal and professional spaces, said Todd Luhtanen, the founder of Metro Work Spaces in Livonia, Mich. One entrepreneur, he said, even opened an office there at his wife's request. Luhtanen said an office lends a small business gravitas and credibility.

"You do not want to bring someone into your basement, den or living room for a meeting," he said.

Jacob Zuppke, a managing partner of Venture Park, said he and his partners stumbled on the space they are developing now when seeking offices for his digital marketing agency, Traffic Digital Agency.

"We were looking for office space last summer and we got really lucky," he said.

Zuppke, 25, and his partners are transforming a Royal Oak building that has about 10,000 square feet. The spaces rent on a month-to-month basis with utilities, and amenities such as hot coffee are included.

Venture Park also offers professional services, such as access to attorneys, at a discounted rate.

Still, Cousineau said, even though they moved into an office, they didn't want it to feel like one. To keep it fun, they hung a stuffed wild boar head wearing a cap on the wall, and they've covered the shelves with action figures and other toys from their youth.

"It's good to be surrounded by forward-thinking people," he said. "It makes work fun."

Deskmag, which compiled a timeline of co-working spaces, said the first official co-working space opened in 2005 in San Francisco.

That space, the magazine said, was started by a programmer, Brad Neuberg, who was seeking an alternative to the home office.

In a blog, Neuberg described the space as a "new kind of work environment for free spirits." It offered five to eight desks for two days a week, along with amenities such as Wi-Fi, shared lunches, meditation breaks and bike tours.

In 2012, the magazine asked in an online survey for words to describe how people felt about being in these shared spaces. The most popular responses were: fun, friendly, creative, inspiring, productive, flexible, social and collaborative.

Millennials go back to the office 12/24/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 24, 2013 1:13pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Trigaux: No more VinikVille as Water Street Tampa finally arrives


    Adios, VinikVille! Hello Water Street Tampa.

    An aerial rendering of the $3 billion redevelopment project that Jeff Vinik and Strategic Property Partners plan on 50-plus acres around Amalie Arena.
[Rendering courtesy of Strategic Property Partners]
  2. Unlicensed contractor accused of faking death triggers policy change at Pinellas construction licensing board

    Local Government

    The unlicensed contractor accused of faking his death to avoid angry homeowners has triggered an immediate change in policy at the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board.

    Last year Glenn and Judith Holland said they paid a contractor thousands of dollars to renovate their future retirement home in Seminole. But when they tried to move in on Dec. 14, they said the home was in shambles and uninhabitable. They sent a text message to contractor Marc Anthony Perez at 12:36 p.m. looking for answers. Fourteen minutes later, they got back this text: "This is Marc's daughter, dad passed away on the 7th of December in a car accident. Sorry." Turns out Perez was still alive. Now the Hollands are suing him in Pinellas-Pasco circuit court. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  3. SeaWorld shares drop Monday to 2017 low after disclosure of federal subpoena


    The Orlando parent company of SeaWorld and Busch Gardens theme parks saw its stock drop 3.5 percent Monday to $15.10, its lowest price of this year.

    Killer whales perform at Shamu Stadium at SeaWorld in Orlando in 2011, before public pressure was placed on the theme park company to curtail its orca shows.SeaWorld has since announced an end to the traditional killer whale entertainment  at its theme parks. [AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack]
  4. Rick Scott appoints longtime ally Jimmy Patronis as Florida CFO

    State Roundup
    Rick Scott appoints Jimmy Patronis (background) as CFO. [STEVE BOUSQUET | Tampa Bay Times]
  5. Local gas prices plummet as Fourth of July holiday travel approaches


    TAMPA — Local gas prices are enjoying an unseasonal dip around the $2 mark just in time for the hectic Fourth of July holiday travel weekend.

    The price of regular unleaded gasoline has dropped to $1.99 at a Rally station on Pasadena Ave. South and Gulfport Boulevard South, South Pasadena.
[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]