(Cowork Frederick Expansion Series – Part 1)
A look back …
Cowork Frederick opened our shared office work space September 4, 2012 in a great little historic building at 122 E Patrick St in downtown Frederick. Thanks to some early sign-ups, on opening day our community already had 20 members.
In the nine years since, our work space has evolved based on ideas from those early members and many others. We have loved and made good use of the 2700 square feet of our current location.
So, why is it that we began considering a new space several years ago? Excerpts of a post we shared with members (only) back in 2018 follows. Read on.
Are we at capacity?
It’s tempting to think the reason we’re considering a new space is that we’re running out of square feet. That’s not it. Our best estimate, which depends on how often members come in to work on any given day, is that our current work space can handle 60 members. We currently have 46. If it’s not square footage, what is it?
What has us thinking about a move?
While we believe there’s room for our community to grow in numbers at our current location, there are constraints that preclude things we (and you) want. It’s a matter of quality rather than a quantity. We want to address what we perceive as community-impacting limitations of our current space. Where does that come from? Glad you asked! Here are some of the things we’ve heard from you, our members:
- “People connect over food. We need a place to sit together, eat, and have a conversation.”
That was a “DUH!” moment for us. Of course people do that! When designing our current space, we maximized spots to work, not considering the value of sitting down to a cup of coffee or a meal with a coworker. As such, we have only one small table in our break room. We want to fix that.
- “We need a quiet car.”
It’s so great to see people greeting each other, sharing funny stories or a bit of news, or talking through a challenge. We LOVE to see you connecting. But, with our current layout, a boisterous conversation that brightens the day of some may come at the expense of others who just lost their train of thought. People are here to coWORK, as well as socialize. In the last member meeting, people suggested a “quiet car”. Love the idea. Just need a spot to create the quiet space.
- “We like the social aspect of being here. We don’t want that to go away.”
Sometimes nearly the entire Community Room erupts in lively conversation. It happens because someone has brought up a topic people find interesting. I get caught up in these conversations too. This is one of the reasons I like being at Cowork Frederick and many others have said the same. Still, there’s that work thing. Mental breaks from work are good. Laughter is healthy. Social interaction is too. It’s really all about balance. See the above bullet. We need spaces for working (including one designated as “quiet”) and spaces for socializing.
- “It’s time to hire an employee and get an office, but I don’t want to leave Cowork Frederick.”
First, let’s take a moment to celebrate that success: YAY! Moving on to the need for offices, we’d love to add private offices. We need a larger space to do that.
- “This place feels like home. I like it here and definitely don’t want to leave downtown.”
We agree. Glen and I fell in love with this building the moment we saw it and knew we wanted it to be home to a coworking community in Frederick. 122 E Patrick St has served us well as we’ve learned and grown. Let’s keep what’s great about this space and add the things that will make it better.
Fast forward to today …
So … here we are in late 2021. While we were searching for a new space, the building right next door to our current location became available. It’s currently under renovation and will soon be home to our newly expanded coworking space, and more (stay tuned!). We took all we learned from 9 years of operating a coworking space and listening to the great ideas of our members and incorporated them into the design of the new space. Read more about that in our next “Expansion Series” blog.