Co-working steadily making progress in Grand Rapids

The Steelcase-outfitted co-working space, 654 Croswell (East Grand Rapids), was featured in Rapid Growth Media last January. Its managers say one of the biggest lessons learned during its first year of operations is that if you want to create a space where people are interested in working, it has to be dynamically managed.

Although "co-working is exploding over the country," Grand Rapids is still adapting to the concept, according to Jeffrey Schutte, a member of the leadership team at Turnstone and at 654 Croswell, citing an increased number of inquiries about the space.

Lisa Mead, service delivery leader, identified two insights from their year one experience.

"First is to be more flexible in our offering," she says.

Mead cites the opportunities to adjust hours and rates on a seasonal and 'pop-up' basis, such as during spring break, when parents' home office routines become disrupted. 

The second insight is a bit more complicated.

"We don't want to look like corporate America, but we want to still provide the useful gems that make office work effective," Mead states.  

As an example, she points to the many service and volunteer opportunities that are traditionally organized at work that can be missed at co-working spaces and home offices.

Both Schutte and Mead remain very optimistic about the future of co-working in West Michigan, and rightfully so.

In a recent report published by Intuit, 20 demographic, economic and technological trends that will be shaping consumer and business behavior in the next decade were identified. One that was highlighted was the continued growth of "third places," such as co-workiing spaces and rent-by-the hour offices, both part of the bigger picture of the reinvention of the workplace. 

Schutte concludes, "I haven't been in a city anywhere in the country where co-working  is not a hot topic." To learn more about 654 Croswell, you can visit their website here.

Source: Lisa Mead and Jeffrey Schutte; Turnstone and the 654 Croswell team

Writer: John Rumery, Innovation and Jobs editor.

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