Make us your home page
Instagram

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

Loading...
  1. Appointments at the Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA and the Straz Center highlight this week's Tampa Bay business Movers & Shakers

    Business

    Charities

    The Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA has named Matt Mitchell its new chief executive officer, effective Oct. 16. Selected by the Y's CEO Search Committee following a five-month search, Mitchell will succeed Tom Looby, who is retiring. Looby has served the Y Movement for 37 years, the past 10 …

    The Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA has named Matt Mitchell as its new Chief Executive Officer. [Handout photo]
  2. Rep. Larry Ahern gets roughed up by Clearwater City Council

    State Roundup

    It seemed innocuous enough: an "end of session report" from state Rep. Larry Ahern, R-Seminole, to the Clearwater City Council.

    Then Ahern got taken to the woodshed.

    Rep. Larry Ahern is vying for a seat on the Pinellas commission.
  3. There's a bar in Tampa where you can roller skate and eat sushi

    Food & Dining

    Roller skating, it's not just for kids birthday parties and the 1970s anymore.

    The exterior of Pattinis features this mural by Art Aliens! [Pattinis South Tampa via Facebook]
  4. Lockdown: Florida's 97,000 prison inmates confined through weekend

    State Roundup

    All of Florida's 97,000 state prison inmates are on lockdown — and will remain confined to their dorms at least through the weekend — in response to unspecified threats about possible uprisings, officials from the Florida Department of Corrections confirmed Thursday.

    Blackwater River Correctional Facility. [Florida Department of Corrections]
  5. Carnival announces five more cruises from Tampa to Cuba

    Tourism

    TAMPA — Carnival Cruise Line is adding five more cruises from Tampa to Cuba in 2018, Port Tampa Bay announced Thursday.

      Carnival Cruise Line announced additional cruises to  Cuba. Pictured is its Paradise cruise ship departing on its inaugural voyage to Cuba from Tampa. | [MONICA HERNDON | Times]