The next stop on the 2017 Qtly North America Tour this week was Atlanta, GA. The event took place at the world-famous Peachtree Center, located in the heart of downtown. Thanks to our awesome friends at JLL for hosting us!
An Evolution of the Coworking Model
Before we even started the event, I knew that Atlanta was going to provide us some shared workspace magic. It’s so exciting to have the chance to explore coworking spaces in new cities and as we shared in our Miami Recap post, we’re discovering spaces that no one else knew about and that didn’t know about the industry over all.
Well, here in Atlanta it was more about meeting spaces that clearly were proud of breaking the “coworking” mold. The first stop we made was to Switchyard Downtown Club, which proudly states that they’re not a coworking space and that it’s “Not A Building”. We had the pleasure of speaking with the founder, Michael Tavani, who shared his inspiration for creating a community, rather than a space. When he saw a lack of resources for consumer facing apps and products, he decided to open Switchyards and run it as a club, rather than a coworking space selling desks.
With Rally Shop Spaces, we found a brand new twist on the coworking model that paired shared workspace with storage and fulfillment services for e-commerce businesses. The concept was inspired by Maire Hina, when she found herself short on space for a quickly growing business. Rally Shop is a service she developed after getting constant requests to purchase goods in the United States to send over to relatives over seas. They buy from any website they want and ship to her; she then in turn bundles their shipments and sends that to them.
Leanne from Coworker.com interviewed Ms. Hina, as she lead us on a tour of the newly opened space:
As with every half day conference we host for Qtly, there seems to be unique and specific topics that attendees focus the majority of conversation on. With representatives from Shared Space, Alkaloid Networks, Roam: Innovative Workspace and Industrious to name a few, the conversation included some of the following topics:
- TAXES: Spaces immediately started asking and sharing about how they should (could?!) be categorizing themselves and collecting tax revenue. It’s more than just the taxes they have to pay for their own business, we also dove into the difference in tax collection from memberships vs. leases or subleases. Lastly, have you ever been contacted by state of local tax offices, looking for information on your members?
- Hiring and Training: This is a topic that has come up in several of our past tours and seems to keep coming up at Qtly! How are you finding quality candidates for positions such as Community Manager? How can we as an industry better communicate the job requirements? How can we as business owners better hire and train? Did you know that 20% of an employee’s annual salary is the negative financial impact hit on your bottom line due to their leaving the company (turnover). You’d need to have a member for 12 years to make up the financial cost of losing one employee.
- Being the Connector: Last, but not least the group shared some tips and best practices on how to curate a sense of community and provide connections while not seeming to force it too much. How are you introducing members to each other? There was great discussion on how to empower your members to supplement some of the community building you might feel is always on your to-do list.
We had such an amazing time in Atlanta – we just wish that there’d have been more time to check out more spaces!