I did a thing last month: I stepped on a plane, flew across the country, and attended an industry conference for the first time in two years.
In ‘normal times’ it’s hardly the sort of thing that deserves a headline. But these, as we all know, are anything but normal times.
It was the North American Global Coworking Unconference Conference (GCUC) that took me back to New York City: an annual gathering of North America’s top coworking and flex space owners, operators, managers and real estate experts.
It’s a gathering that provides a unique opportunity to listen, learn, and exchange audacious ideas with some of the best in the biz on how to make the future of work and wellness one that *actually reflects* the world we all want to get out of bed for.
I’m proud that Vibe Coworks is among those top spaces.
New York City, as many of you know, is where Vibe was born. I distinctly remember that night in May 2017, when Marcel and I sat staring at the ceiling of our 800 square foot Manhattan apartment after work and made the final decision to go all in.
That night, we committed to leaving a city we loved. We committed to changing the entire trajectory of our careers… We committed to doing everything we possibly could to catalyze a new world of opportunity, connections and happier work in the Puget Sound region by bringing a powerful new coworking experience to Kitsap, my hometown.
This week, we celebrate three years of Vibe Coworks as we know it today. (Ready for a flashback? Watch this)
The future of work is flex, and its changing lives
When Vibe Coworks first launched in 2018, we spent an inordinate amount of time explaining what coworking was.
Indeed, in those Before COVID times (can we call that BC?), it was nearly impossible for most people to imagine a world without traditional, single-company offices, soul-sucking commutes and geographically-limited talent pools.
The pandemic has irrevocably changed all of that, breaking the chain that linked work (and workers) to the offices of old, and empowering individual people with the gift of choice. From Amazon to Salesforce, Facebook to REI, companies today no longer want to be tied to an office. In fact, even the government—one of the largest employers in the country—recently announced that it doesn’t want to be tied to an office either.
Instead, the US General Services Administration last month, “flexible coworking services will enable the federal workforce to occupy only the space needed in order to meet their missions and promote a responsible use of taxpayer dollars.”
What companies—and the government—finally want are humans who are happy, healthy, creative and committed to delivering their very best work—wherever that happens best. And guess what? Freelancers and solopreneurs, many of whom were working remotely long before the pandemic, continue to want the same.
For millions of people all across the country, the new model for work can now look like “Hub, Home, Roam,” a flexible combination built to bring out the very best in our people and teams:
- A central Hub location where teams can come together with intention to collaborate and create—in person (on-site is the new off-site, friends!)
Dedicated Work From Home days for focused, independent work
The freedom to change up the scenery and spend a portion of their time working anywhere from anywhere they’d like
Coworking spaces like ours fill this need by serving as both ideal Hub locations, and Roam destinations, with feedback from our members showing that we’re remarkably successful in doing so.
(Fun fact: in a recent survey, 70 percent of Vibe members indicated that they come here to change up their work environment. Perhaps even more telling, a whopping 71 percent of members report having increased their productivity, while also reporting that 69 percent are happier since joining here.)
Happier, healthier work is here to stay
Three years into the West Sound’s largest coworking adventure, Vibe Coworks counts with a remarkable number of members who have gone into business together, developed new products, pursued patents and launched businesses that might never have seen the light of day, were it not for the support and encouragement they’ve received here.
Vibe has become a regular destination for “internet refugees” when home connectivity has proven a dismal disaster, and the meeting place of choice from local businesses ranging in industry from healthcare and law, to real estate, construction, technology, finance, government and more.
Time and time again through these trying pandemic times, Vibe has proven itself a saving grace for educators teaching remotely, working parents doing their best to juggle it all, and students desperate to satisfy explicit remote testing requirements.
We have members who’ve formed pet sitting exchanges, traded recommendations on the best dentists and financial planners in town… even supported each other in donating blood for the first time when the pandemic first began. Nearly two years on, those donations are still running strong.
As we look to the months and years ahead, we’re thrilled to be forming new partnerships with organizations including the Northwest Tech Bridge, the West Sound Technology Industry Association (WTIA) and others, that will allow us to host an exciting, sustainable line up of programming at Vibe Coworks in support of our region’s startups and entrepreneurs—particularly those who are traditionally overlooked and underestimated, value business as a force for good, and/or have an interest having US government agencies as their customers.
We’re also looking forward to welcoming a growing number of government and large scale corporate employees among our member ranks.
Why? Because Vibe Coworks is known for delivering on precisely the things that enterprise companies and government agencies are now (finally!) clamoring to provide—wellness-centered work environments that prioritize the health and happiness of the humans who drive their success.
What does that mean exactly? It means on-demand flexibility; fresh, clean air; abundant natural light; and experiences at Vibe that build trust, strong relationships and supportive community.
Powering the people and businesses that shape our world today
While we’re certainly not out of the pandemic woods yet, I can’t help but be filled with a tremendous sense of optimism for what’s coming down the pike.
All across the world, shared workspaces and coworking communities like ours are powering the people and businesses that shape our world today.
Most recently, the hurricane force shift to remote-first working means that we are finally—finally—entering a world where we can each do the work that we love, from the place(s) we love.
It’s been thrilling to watch organizations like Graham & Walker (formerly the Female Founder’s Alliance) and Golden Seeds this month, as they’ve unequivocally added fuel to that fire, opening doors to capital for female founders and those who have been systematically overlooked and underestimated for decades—many of whom have grown their businesses out of coworking spaces like Vibe.
From NYC to Poulsbo, San Juan to Seattle, the last two years have been a whiplash-inducing ride for everyone. There’s not a person on the planet who hasn’t lost beloved people and/or places over the last two years, and in that lies so much of our shared humanity.
Lest there be any doubt: we are better when we are together.
To all of you who’ve been with us from the start, and all of you who’ve joined along the way: thank you. Thank you for sharing in our dream of spaces where we can work, build, create and experience work and life together—no matter how wild the ride.