Locally Owned Coworking Spaces

In every business, from tax preparation to coffee, you have to make a choice between a national brand and a locally owned business. With the dramatically increasing demand for coworking spaces, remote workers and entrepreneurs have to make the same choice – nationally branded coworking or a locally grown company. (Obviously, we at CyberTECH are biased.)

But let’s talk about the benefits of a national brand. In many ways, nationally branded coworking spaces come with a few benefits over what you can get with a local space. The primary benefit of a national coworking company is the access to office space in all major metropolitan areas. So if you are constantly on the go – from Seattle to Orlando – then a large, corporate coworking company might be a better choice. But for anyone who plans on heading into a local office, a locally owned coworking space is always a better choice. Here’s why:

Locally owned and managed coworking spaces have a flexibility in contracting you won’t find in with larger companies. Temporary holds, upgrades, downgrades, and additional desks are easy changes to your current lease. In other words, you won’t be nickel-and-dimed by a local coworking company. You will also find that the smaller, local company will provide more freebies like conference room use, beverage services, and printing.

Local coworking spaces also tend to have a broader range of working spaces. The big coworking companies are going to be focused on squeezing every dime out of every square inch of space. And that means lots of closed doors and tiny cubicles. Local coworking spaces will have plenty of open areas furnished with couches and café tables. The smaller, local companies will offer more outdoor spaces for events and social gatherings.

Finally, you won’t find the kind of symbiotic environment in a large, corporate coworking space. The local coworking space is likely to have a tenant niche (like tech-oriented CyberTECH) and will attract collaborative people. Casual conversations and official networking comes easier in a locally owned coworking space.

In short, a locally owned coworking space is more likely to meet your needs as a new and growing company. At a space like CyberTECH, you will find the right kind of driven and collaborative folks that make coworking a great place to be.

Downtown SD Emerging as New Tech Hub

Everyone knows your basic US tech cities – Seattle and San Francisco. And thanks to the major tech players like Microsoft, Amazon, Google, those cities will likely remain at the top of the tech heap for years to come. But San Diego is attracting significant attention as an emerging tech hub. And here’s why:

Lifestyle

If you want rain, go to Seattle. Busy streets? Try New York. But if you want great weather year-round without the bother of LA posers, you come to San Diego. And for the moment, San Diego is considered “affordable” when you compare housing prices to places like San Francisco. Keep in mind, the emerging workforce is one that empathizes quality over quantity. Twentysomethings are happy to give up big houses and hefty salaries for a freelancing flip-flop life.

Location

Not only does San Diego county offer broad expanses of land (think: North County’s Geico call center); but downtown San Diego has its underdeveloped East Village. From 2005 to 2008, the East Village was flush with developments. Now, eight years later, the empty lots and unused buildings are coming into focus as developers eye those blocks for expansion. The I.D.E.A. district and Makers Quarter are going to bring tech workers into an arts, commercial, and residential project that will rival swanky SF living.

Industry

So, when you think San Diego, you don’t automatically think tech software. But the city has a long history of developing everything from bio technology to microchips to missile launchers. We have our fair share of major players like Qualcomm and General Atomics. Plus don’t forget about our reputation as a research hub thanks to the huge universities.

San Diego has everything to become America’s next tech supercity. With the universities pumping out thousands of eager workers looking for ways to stay in Sun City, tech giants are seeking ways to capture the enthusiasm. Plus, with every student comes a new idea for an app, game, or device. So the city’s grassroots tech efforts are fed by the venture capitalists excited to hear something new from Sunny SD.

Tech growth is inevitable. And welcome.

 

Coworking Communication Avenues

Although the peak hours of operations for a coworking space might be Monday through Friday from nine to five, coworkers operate 24 hours per day. And while there are always an energetic few who want to actively network face-to-face, others would prefer an online setting. In fact, coordinating coworking members is like herding cats. Keep in mind, if they were obedient dogs, they’d be operating out of a corporate office up the street.

So how do you wrangle coworking member together?

In short, food is the best way to bring people together. Just like a gaggle of cats that keep to separate corners during the day, cats pull together when you feed them at 5pm. If you want your coworkers to come together, buy some subs from the local sub shop or order enough pizza to feed everyone. Add a little background music and it’s a party. And yes, the chatty few will keep the conversations going, but the quiet ones in the background appreciate the opportunity to socialize – even if it just means offering a few smiles to other members.

Remain active online. You need to offer regular updates about activities at the coworking space. In the 1980s, that meant printing a monthly newsletter with cheesy photos and coupon for free chips at the sub shop. Today, it’s as simple as a Facebook group. Update it once or twice a week with membership news. Post lots of great, candid photos. And occasionally encourage members to join together for an official event like a member appreciation party.

Talk to your members. People are shy. They don’t know how to break the ice. Knock on doors and ask how business is going. Encourage them to respond to the Facebook updates. Pull another member into the conversations. Conversations inside the coworking space need an organic element in order to feel genuine.

So, communication at the coworking space is all about options. Coworking members aren’t the kind of corporate employees who will conform to strict standards. So coworking managers and community coordinators have to offer a range of options. With very few exceptions will you have 90-100% participation on any one activity. But with several avenues of communication, you will reach the vast majority of members who want to engage.

Why the Gig Economy Isn’t Going Away

Most presidential elections come with rhetoric about jobs and the economy. And while the majority of jobs that come with an improved economy may still look like a traditional 40-hour employment agreement, freelance work is on the rise. And it’s not going anywhere. Whether you are a self-employed programmer, part-time graphic designer, or a member of an app development team, you will need a community of like-minded professionals seeking the same professional satisfaction.

The Workers
The up-and-coming workforce is against the idea of a traditional job. Millennials, as a group, are far more interested in life experiences like camping, travel, and leisure than they about having a house, a car, and a high credit line. Corporations are finding that freelancers, while expensive on the hourly end, are more motivated and efficient that full-time employees.

The Benefits
Health insurance was one of the driving forces for finding and keeping a traditional job. And while it’s likely that health insurance will change over the next four years, universal healthcare is likely here to stay. And if you are in a liberal state like California or Massachusetts, changes in federal healthcare laws could be offset by changes in state laws. So if you can get health insurance on your own, a traditional job comes with more restrictions than benefits.

The Workplace
As the US moves towards a knowledge-based economy (as compared to a manufacturing economy), the average worker won’t need more than a cell phone and a laptop to be highly effective. Corporations are seeing the cost-cutting benefits that come with workers who pay for their own workplace (and health insurance).

If you’ve ever worked from home for long stretches of time, then you know that the isolation and quiet can be unsettling. And if you’ve ever worked from a coffee shop, you know the sound of blenders and screaming children is less than professional. Coworking spaces are a key component in the gig economy. Collective workplaces offer the human interaction we need to feel connected day-in and day-out. Plus they offer a brand of professional flexibility found nowhere else.

Corporate Partnerships and Coworking Spaces

In many ways, coworking spaces are the antithesis of traditional corporate culture. With an environment based on flexible working spaces and 24-hour availability, coworking offices have a fluidity that is nearly non-existent in most 9-5 offices. However, because coworking spaces have become so prevalent, and because coworking spaces are producing some of the most innovative products and services, coworking centers and corporations have formed tentative bonds that offer benefits to each partner.

Money
The coworking economic model is not always the most stable. Because coworking lease agreements tend to be highly fluid, coworking managers don’t always know how much revenue is going to be coming in month over month. Corporate sponsors can lend stability to a coworking company’s budget. With an annual sponsorship, the coworking company sees stable revenue and the corporations gets brand exposure to up-and-coming professionals.

Space
Sometimes, coworking spaces get over-run with members who need space to work. And sometimes, corporations have dozens of empty cubicles to fill. A space exchange helps balance the desk equation by offering an additional resource for each side throughout the year. In conjunction with a corporate sponsorship, a desk exchange program can really help both sides use square footage effectively.

Collaboration
Some of the most innovative thinking happens inside coworking spaces. And some of the best resources are locked up inside the corporate structure. For example, a manufacturer with unused machine time might need a new innovative product to produce. And a coworking team might have some great ideas without the financial resources to produce a prototype or finish product. By coming together, both sides of the equation get to maximize resources with minimum risk.

It’s not always easy for corporations and coworking spaces to find each other. Generally, collaboration must come about through casual contact at MeetUp events and networking parties. And as with any possible endeavor, the partnership takes time to develop into something highly productive. However, coworking spaces are the center of enterprise thinking. And corporations will remain the core of financial resources. So each side has the motivation to seek out the other and find common ground for development.

The Digital Nomad and the CoWorking Space

Gig economy… Side hustle… Digital nomad… The face of the workplace is changing. In an effort to attract talent and reduce costs, employers are utilizing coworking spaces to allow distance workers to work in a professional environment. And individuals are no longer looking towards traditional employment for part-time and full-time work. These workers now crash together in coworking spaces around the world, grateful that they aren’t relegated to a kitchen table or crowded Starbucks to get work done.

For nearly two decades, traditional employers have struggled to manage good employees who opt to work from home. With good employees difficult to find and expensive to replace, most employers have bent strict rules to allow some to work from home. Supervision, productivity, and insurance conflicts arise as (unlikely) problems. Thanks to coworking spaces, however, more corporate employers are allowing employees to work at desk outside of the house, but away from the corporate hub.

Even for those with a full-time corporate job, a coworking space can be a great way to build up a freelance portfolio, work a digital side job, or just get out of the house. The days of working one, full-time job are practically done. Regardless of how full-time employment meets (or fails) modern financial demands, more workers are seeing entrepreneurialism in their future. Coworking spaces are incubators; emerging tech, service, and business ideas come to light thanks to the inherent interactivity of coworking spots. Between the casual coffee pot conversations and the official networking dinners, coworking spaces are the new “garage office.” In other words, the next Apple (Facebook, Google) is probably under development in a coworking space as we speak.

And finally, the digital nomad. Why bother paying rent or a mortgage if you can roam around the world, working digitally every day? For the true tech worker, a network of coworking spaces, coffee shops, and AirBnB apartments can serve as the basis for a nomadic life. See the world and earn a living… what could be better?

Even the face of the coworking office is changing. At one time, shared offices and executive suites were open Monday through Friday, nine to five. But today, the urban coworking space is a 24-hour operation as part-timers, freelancers, and all-nighters come together to feed off each other’s ideas and build momentum towards a more satisfying work-life balance.

Wellness at Work

Work can be stressful; but your workplace shouldn’t be. The modern office has come a long way from the dull pallor of the grey cubicles and fluorescent lighting of the 1980s. To be fair, some work spaces seem to have gone too far… basketball courts and open floorplans might seem enviable — but could mean far too many distractions for functional workplace. The right approach to wellness in the workplace means creating a plan customized to match your location and meet the needs of your group of workers.

San Diego’s CyberTECH is embracing wellness with an initial, three-pronged approach: hydration, nutrition, and physical activity. Moreover, CyberTECH is partnering with emerging companies to bring these wellness activities into their co-working space.

To start, CyberTECH has partnered with Kona Deep to ensure its Members have the best water available throughout their working day. According to its website, “Kona Deep offers a very different hydration experience because of its unique blend of naturally occurring deep ocean electrolytes.” As an incubator space for entrepreneurs and tech companies, CyberTECH is a second home to many of its Members. Early morning meetings and late nights are standard in this workplace. Most of the Members will spend more (awake) hours in these offices than at home. And while tap water might be sufficient, proper hydration comes from drinking high quality water, like Kona Deep.

While CyberTECH has a great Banker’s Hill location with fantastic views of the San Diego bay and Lindbergh landing strip, there aren’t many places nearby to grab lunch. To encourage healthy eating, CyberTECH is soon to open Grind – Fresh and Healthy Choices Coffee Cart. The in-house cart will be using local coffee roasters and local food producers to offer Members a way to buy fresh food and coffee. Members will soon have an easy way to grab food and gather around a café table or conference table to discuss collaborative business opportunities.

CyberTECH is also going to expand its use of the interior courtyard at the First and Fir building by offering Feng Gong Relaxation. With the help of a Member organization, CyberTECH wants to help others at First and Fir reduce work-related stress with this Asian practice of stretching and relaxation.

CyberTECH will continue to expand and adjust its workplace wellness plans as Member needs grow and change. Possible future additions include a running club, morning yoga, and in-house benefits consultations.

Boosting Community: The CyberTECH Approach to an Enhanced Workplace

The NEST CoWork space is home to a slew of tech start-ups, entrepreneurial efforts, and non-profit organizations looking for a supportive, yet independent work space. CyberTECH and NEST are sibling companies working together to build a better workplace model here in San Diego. CyberTECH has recently hosted a series of planned and impromptu events that build and enhance an environment of innovation at 1855 First Avenue.

The (unofficial) fun began with a weekend painting party as NEST expanded on the first floor of the First Avenue space. After breaking down some walls, the original CyberHIVE space quadrupled in size. Members gathered together on a Saturday to paint, drink lattes, and interact while taping and painting. By the end of the day, the halls and walls of the new offices transformed into a colorful array of warm spaces and airy collaborative offices.

Next up – sliders and fries. Thanks to a food truck parked out front, CyberTECH was able to offer new and future members great food. Plus, on the side patio, resident businesses participated in a speed networking event. With just 60 seconds to pitch, each business owner had the chance to talk up their daily efforts to more than 20 other businesses operating within the same building. That night ended with an extended concert of local artists performing on the interior patio.

With so many new members moving into the NEST spaces, CyberTECH knew it would take a few events before all faces became familiar ones. And nothing brings people together like ice cream (or beer). But ice cream was on the menu for a last minute, Thursday afternoon social on the patio to celebrate the warm summer days.

Fast forward a few weeks, and CyberTECH brought everyone together for a spaghetti dinner complete with garlic bread and Caesar salad. Shortly thereafter on the same night, another speed networking event meant those who had missed out on the prior roundup could pitch their business plans. And those who had met during the last networking roundtable had the chance to delve a bit deeper. Finally, the evening ended with cigars around firelight on the back patio.\

CyberTECH seeks to build a deeper meaning for CoWorking with its events and comfortable atmosphere. On any given day, you can find workers taking a break from the glare of a computer screen to chat at the coffee bar or outside on the patio. With big TVs, comfortable chairs, and a killer WiFi signal, the NEST CoWorking spaces have set a new standard for coworking in San Diego.

Take Advantage of our Current Offers

Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR)

CyberTECH Launches Entrepreneurs in Residence (EIR) Program

California’s tech-inspired startups drive many of today’s hottest and most innovative products and services, helping to further position the state as the global center for excellence in Cybersecurity, Internet of Things and Emerging Technologies such as drones, blockchain, robotics, and 3D printing.

In that spirit, CyberTECH is proud to announce the CyberTECH Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) — a six-month, low-rent program designed to build strategic relationships between early-stage companies and CyberTECH’s growing ecosystem of partners and stakeholders.

This innovative program leveraging CyberTECH’s “Social Community Incubator Model” is designed as a major element of CyberTECH’s Smart & Safe Cities initiative, in partnership with CyberCalifornia.

You’re invited to join us in welcoming our initial cohort of CyberTECH Entrepreneurs in Residence at a special luncheon event, as follows:

CyberTECH Entrepreneurs in Residence

  • Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016, 11:30 am to 1 pm
  • iHive @ NEST CoWork, 1855 First Avenue, Suite 201, San Diego, CA 92101

CyberTECH EIR startups will work independently with the support of the CyberTECH community. In some cases, EIRs may be embedded directly in departments or with Business Units at CyberTECH’s corporate partners to accelerate their business concepts and new technology products and services.

In addition to being assigned to a Mentorship Team, CyberTECH EIR startups will have access to no- or low-cost office space, along with discounted or low-cost software, high-speed Internet, strategic, legal and marketing professionals and other early stage startup services. Some startups may be offered stipends or scholarships from CyberTECH ecosystem companies.

Please join us for lunch Thursday, Sept. 15 to learn more about this exciting new program.

Darin Andersen, CEO/Founder

CyberTECH

EIR Program Application

Good to meet you, what do you do?

The Grand Opening of iHive @ NEST, now one of San Diego’s largest CoWork spaces with 16,000 square feet, was celebrated the evening of July 28.

It was a lively, fun night of CoWork space, sliders, sundaes, summer sounds, and speed – networking, that is.

First, the space: It’s a colorful, contemporary array of incubators, shared workspaces, temporary workspaces and co-working spaces.

The delicious sliders were prepared by the food truck InSlider, with sundaes courtesy of Baskin-Robbins.

The sounds of “Summer Strings Open Mic” that filled the Manpower courtyard were provided by an array of top local musicians, all presented by Ken Rexrode Productions.

As for Speed Networking, more than 30 guests got to know each other better – both professionally and personally – in a series of two-minute “chat sessions,” seated at a long table across from each other.

“It was wonderful to get to know so many interesting people who have such innovative ideas,” said CyberTECH member Lorna Ramos, an account executive with NCW Staffing. “I loved it!”

Judging from the many smiles, laughs and freely exchanged business cards, the first-time event was a huge success.

The next Speed Networking event will be held Thursday, Aug. 11, 4:30 to 7:30 pm – iHive @ NEST, 1855 First Avenue, Suite 103, San Diego, CA 92101.

All CyberTECH members, prospective members and guests are always welcome!

Picking Your Workplace: Finding the Niche for your Business

Not all co-working spaces are created equal – and that can be a good
thing. Perhaps you want a super-professional, crisp and clean lobby
with white furniture and no music. Or maybe you need a wide expanse of
desks with active conversations and collaborative teams. Before you
make the decision of which co-working space will best suite you,
consider some of these issues:

Can you easily downgrade or upgrade?

You might feel invincible, but every business goes through its ups and
downs. If you suddenly lose your biggest client, can you easily switch
from a private office to a single desk without much trouble? And when
business picks up, can you easily add one of those desks onto your
lease so you have a place for your part-time employee?

What are the other businesses in the space?

While it might be comforting knowing that you are surrounded by other
businesses like yours (think tech starts ups, non profits, lawyers,
etc), you will likely have a greater sense of workplace satisfaction
with a greater diversity of people at your co-working space. Plus, if
you are a business that is looking to use the co-working space for
networking and business development, the greater the diversity, the
better. Be sure to ask about networking events; people often need some
wine and chips to step outside of their office shells and start
talking to each other.

What kinds of fringe benefits does the space offer?

More specifically, how good is the coffee? Neither you nor your
clients want off-brand coffee that sits all day and turns into tar. If
the co-working space doesn’t include hospitality services, you might
want to consider another place. Single serve coffee machines, free
printer use, and a strong Wi-Fi signal can mean the difference between
a mediocre office and a stellar one. And check on the hours of
operation. Some co-working spaces are locked up by 6pm and closed on
the weekends. So if you are going to use your office for any off hour
meetings, you will need to ensure you and your clients have easy
access.

Parking and Meeting Rooms

Is parking going to be difficult? Many co-working spaces are in busy,
downtown areas. Is there public transportation that can get you to the
office? Without it, you might be paying a meter and moving your car
throughout the day. And how accessible are those meeting rooms? Sure,
you may not need to meet clients at the office every day, but if the
meeting rooms are booked three weeks in advance, then you might
trouble when you need to have a private, professional conversation.

Most importantly, visit each space and try to interact with some of
the current tenants. Every co-working space will post beautiful photos
on the web; but standing at the espresso bar and chatting with some
current tenants about the next internal networking event will make
selecting the office an easy choice.