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The Takeoff: Shared workspaces — CovWorx and the power of collaboration post-COVID-19

By Abby Ober
Blue North

Of all the things needed to maintain a business, be it in the form of employees, supply chain, or capital, support from your peers in the business community isn’t just useful – it’s critical to success.

CovWorx, LLC, located inside the former Knights of Columbus Hall on Madison Avenue in Covington, was founded by Adam Koehler in 2016 following the sale of his startup, Dotloop, to the Zillow Group in 2015. A coworking facility that makes offices and conference rooms available to aspiring startups and entrepreneurs alike, CovWorx is home to Reversed Out Creative, The Delish Dish and Kickstart Kitchen.

Prior to the pandemic, collaborative workspaces were on the rise. But what does coworking look like now? Co-host of the aptly named “Side Hustle City” podcast with partner Kyle Stevie, and owner of Reversed Out Creative, Koehler has spent a significant amount of time thinking about the future of the collaborative workspace.

“COVID was both a blessing and a curse. For most Americans and people around the world, it let us pause and reevaluate our lives and how we work,” says Koehler. “It made companies think about how they manage their employees and accept technology in a way they may or may not have before.”

For entrepreneurs, utilizing the opportunity to launch a business in a collaborative workspace proved to be wise. Collaborative workspaces not only provide a physical space to house your company, but also a proper environment in which to work.

Think of a collaborative workspace like having a gym membership for your ideas. Instead of paying for thousands of dollars in equipment, a collaborative workspace has top of the line equipment ready for use for a nominal fee in an area where like-minded individuals are working to improve their physical (or in this case, business) fitness. As opposed to personal trainers, you have copywriters, designers and developers available at your disposal waiting for their skills to be utilized.

Says Koehler, “Go to any city that is bustling, or was bustling before COVID. They had collaborative spaces where people came and shared information. Those people might be here (in a space like CovWorx) and you might be able to get your idea off the ground.”

Koehler is passionate about entrepreneurial endeavors, which is why he hopes to renovate CovWorx’s upper floor into an event space in the future. While events haven’t been possible during the pandemic, Koehler has seen promising results from social-distanced coworking spaces. CovWorx has been fully occupied for a majority of the past 15 months. In Koehler’s view, however, people shouldn’t expect most major companies to allow employees to permanently work remotely.

Instead, he sees remote work becoming another facet of employee benefit packages in the future, making now a perfect time to use a collaborative workspace to launch your own business.

“Office space in general is on the decline because a lot of businesses were afraid to jump into (remote work) because their competitors weren’t … COVID forced everybody to do it,” he says. “They realized the sky didn’t fall, it’s more beneficial for some people and some people may be more productive. You’ll have people that want to work with people like startups. They’ll desperately need to be able to collaborate with other people and coworking spaces will truly benefit from that.”

Abby Ober

Collaborative workspaces highlight one of the main things we truly believe in at Blue North: “power in numbers.” It may be cliché, but it’s true.

Pooling resources helps growth across companies of every size. Whereas CovWorx may be able to help provide you the space and staff needed to get your company started, Blue North can help connect you to resources to help it grow and expand your business knowledge and capital in the process.

If you think you’re alone in your goal, a collaborative workspace is a great place to see just how untrue that is.

Abby Ober is program director at Blue North whose mission is to empower startups and small businesses. They welcome any questions and encourage small business owners and entrepreneurs to contact them here.

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