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How Coworking Spaces Are Reshaping the Workplace in South Carolina > GSA Business

Expansive's commons area provides a quiet space for colleagues to work. Members and operators say the pandemic is good for the sector.  (Photo/Courtesy)

When Shannon Wilbanks and Joe Erwin, managing partners of Endeavor, left the agency in 2015, they brought the energy, technology, and training opportunities available at larger agencies to the office environment. We worked together on how to deliver. You can operate your business as a sole proprietorship or as a small business.

It was not from this concept that I realized they were talking about coworking.

“We weren’t going to be in the coworking game,” says Wilbanks. “It really came out of that (the concept). Our mission is to do whatever we can to help our members succeed, and it comes from being very sincere.”

Coworking is the use of collaborative workspaces that offer a different way of working. Coworking spaces work individually or in groups to complete projects. This concept is popular because it provides a sense of community and a friendly work environment that you don’t get if you work for a large company.

And in the post-COVID world, collaborative work environments are skyrocketing in popularity. The pandemic has changed how people think about the workplace, with remote work and hybrid environments becoming the norm.

Wilbanks said, “Despite the challenges of COVID, it’s amazing to see all these people trying to do their job and all having an ‘I’m going to get it’ attitude. It cheered me up.

As Wilbanks and Erwin entered the coworking industry, Wilbanks says he realized there was a wide range of people who needed this kind of work environment. People who work in small businesses and need access to the office 24/7; entrepreneurs and sole proprietors; people who work remotely for another company who need one workspace rather than a private office; Suitable for different people, such as those who like to work in the office. Stay at home but want to get out one day a week, or a business traveler.

Endeavor is a membership-based coworking community that opened in May 2016, providing training opportunities, networking events, business consulting for business professionals, as well as a diverse group of peers offering a variety of services and experiences. Offers space.

Wilbanks said he chose the Greenville One Center space in downtown Greenville for this coworking vision. This is because it is ideally located in the heart of downtown with 24/7 doorman security, LEED certified features, and the space also has a private his gym for members. .

“When you step out of our elevator and into our space, people light up and are pleasantly surprised by what we have here,” she added.

The “future” of the workplace

Unicomm Media Group President Ramon Nieves-Lugo founded and leads a 12-employee Hispanic marketing agency. Endeavor has had daytime members almost since its inception.

Nieves-Lugo said cost-effectiveness was the main reason for choosing coworking as an office space option over a traditional office setting.

Employees gather in an ENDEAVOR conference room in downtown Greenville.  (Photo/Courtesy)“Originally we had an office for a few members, but that changed after COVID and we no longer have everyone working in the office,” he said. “Commercial space is also expensive, especially if it is located downtown. .”

According to Nieves-Lugo, even if your company has a lot of employees and doesn’t need 30,000 square feet of office space, this coworking option might be a good fit for them too.

“This type of work seems like the future,” he added.

Wilbanks said each company’s approach is different.

“What’s interesting about coworking, especially if you’re in an office, is that people are increasingly valuing their time and lives and weighing the rent for office space. , one monthly payment, including office, internet, coffee, cleaning, office equipment, everything you need, not just what you would otherwise have to pay separately, but all other expenses is covered, which takes some of the administrative burden off your shoulders, so you can do things that only you can do.”

Endeavor Greenville isn’t the only coworking concept in the city, with similar inquiries from local entrepreneurs and sole proprietors, as well as remote workers in industries like web and tech.


Back in 2007, Atlas Local managing partner and technology entrepreneur Chris Merritt said he and his managing partner needed office space at the time. They had no idea that the cooperative they created would lead to running a coworking business. In 2016, they moved into his one of the renovated Loft Apartment Mill buildings in the West Village Lofts on Greenville’s West End. Members have access to all amenities the property offers.

“We’ve grown, but we still want to keep the co-op feel,” Merritt said. “Sure, my name is on lease, but everyone here is equal.”

Merritt said that being surrounded by like-minded people who are not co-workers is the ideal and best-case scenario for him and the other members.

“When I want to get away from work, I’m in an environment where I can easily do that (as opposed to a traditional office environment),” he said. “When you’re burnt out and want to make a cup of coffee or sit on the couch and paint, nobody cares about paper deadlines.”

Members of Endeavor Greenville work on computers at the Coworking Enterprise in Greenville One Tower.  (Photo/Courtesy of Shannon Wilbanks) Atlas Local is connected to residential units so members can take an early break from work to go to the pool, play a game of cornhole or billiards after work, or host networking events .

“I have always been of the opinion that this is a sustainable approach to work, and one that I personally prefer, coupled with younger generations joining the workforce. In our opinion, being part of an autonomy and fun work environment makes us more productive at work.

Humans need to be around other humans, but just being around each other for work isn’t necessarily the healthiest model.

Merritt says more people are forced into contract roles or leave to start their own businesses, leaving fewer W-2 employees and wanting traditional full-time jobs. there are fewer people.

“Being around other people who share your passion also promotes entrepreneurship,” he added. Our community here tends to work with each other organically rather than something we push.

Another aspect of remote work and coworking is the ability to hire from anywhere. For the average job these days, Merritt said people can work remotely, so physical proximity doesn’t limit the talent pool.

“I think the restriction on companies to only hire employees who can drive to a physical office will go away entirely in the next few years,” he added. “I see it less and less.”

space for everyone

Coworking spaces in Colombia run the gamut from small spaces in historic buildings to large buildings that have been converted from traditional offices to coworking locations.

There is something for everyone. FemmeX is a co-working space and social club dedicated primarily to women-owned startups and entrepreneurs, located at 1501 Richland Street.

SOCO offers coworking in two locations. SOCO 80808 is located in a he 11,000 square foot space in the Post-Industrial Building at 808 Lady Street and SOCO Bull Street is located in a historic building in the Bull Street neighborhood. business community.

One of the largest coworking spaces in Colombia belongs to Expansive, a Chicago-based company founded in 2012 and currently offering coworking and other flexible workspace options in 48 locations nationwide. I’m here. In Carolina, the company has offices in Charlotte and Columbia.

Expansive purchased the 12-story building at 1122 Lady St. in 2021 and now offers a variety of working options in 159,013 square feet of space. The site includes everything from SmartSuites, high-tech office space for large teams, small rental office space, to a variety of options for small businesses and individual employees.

Jeff Barnes, Expansive’s area sales manager for the Carolina region, says customers at the Midlands office come from all ages, demographics and occupation types.

Members can work or hang out in the common areas of Industious Charleston.  (photo/hardworking)“I have everyone from students who can’t get work done in their dorms to companies with remote employees to startups,” Barnes says. “We look a little bit at everything. We have insurance companies, law firms, technology companies, use our space to name a few. You can do business from your laptop. If so, you can use the coworking space.”

Like most coworking spaces, Expansive is one of the building’s open lounge spaces, including high-speed internet and access to copiers and other office equipment, where customers are welcomed for easy access to a table or sofa. provide options for which you can pay.

Sharing space doesn’t seem to be a problem for many, Burns said.

“Our dedicated desks are currently sold out,” he said. “It’s the most popular option because members can access the space at any time. It depends on their schedule and when they want to do business.”

Barnes believes coworking will continue to expand as people accustomed to working from home during the pandemic seek other options rather than commuting to the same office every day.

“The days of traditional workspaces are coming to an end, as people are realizing that it costs a lot of money to rent an entire building, equip it, and bring people into a traditional workspace.” he said. “It’s not what people want anymore.”

fundamental change

In contrast to Endeavor, Atlas Local, FemmeX and Expansive, Industrious is a national co-working company that will open on Charleston’s King Street in early December.

South Carolina native Melissa Bessler, regional director of Industrias locations in the Midwest and Southeast, said the company wants to offer other businesses and employees unique and inspiring spaces. rice field.

“Charleston is a rapidly growing business community and we believe that the world around us has a profound impact on how people work. We want to support, we want to adapt as our community grows, but it looks different in each community we serve.”

Similar to the mentality of other co-working companies, Bessler said that while COVID-19 has accelerated many of the trends we’ve already seen, there’s been a fundamental shift in how people are currently choosing to work. said there was

“People want more autonomy and want to make their own time. With coworking, you have flexibility and you can go anywhere,” she said. “Also, people no longer want to commute long distances and want to physically go to work fewer days.”

The new Industrias location and building, which houses a bike shop and yoga studio, boasts a premium, sleek, modern design in Charleston’s historic district.The workspace occupies 2nd and 3rd Each floor of our Class A Building at 677 King Street offers abundant natural light and top-notch amenities designed to enhance your productivity in your daily work.

Industrious has a membership for hybrid workers, so whether you commute to the office once a week or once a month, you’ll have the space you need.

“It is highly unlikely that we will return to the 8-to-5 type of work environment where employees are always in the office,” says Bessler.

SC Biz News reporter Christina Lee Knauss contributed to this article.

Contact Krys at 864-640-4418.

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