Co-Working For Corporate Employees Is Coming To Suburban Charlotte
More companies are giving their employees the flexibility to work from somewhere other than the office. WheelHouse Coworking founding partner Craig Loeber has identified these corporate employees as a potential market for co-working space in suburban Charlotte, and is opening the first co-working facility dedicated to them.
WheelHouse locations will provide space for corporate employees who live in commuter neighborhoods such as Ballantyne, Cornelius or South Park: areas with a 45-minute or more drive to Uptown.
“There are a small handful of co-working providers focusing their development efforts on these commuter areas, but there are none thus far in Charlotte,” Loeber said.
In the past, the traffic and time were acceptable burdens for living in suburban communities, Loeber said. That mindset has changed as technological advances are making employees more flexible and mobile.
“Technology has gotten to the point that we don’t have to be [in] Uptown every single day,” Loeber said. “People have picked up on the fact that they can very reliably sit wherever they want to sit and do a lot of their work and that has become a much more ingrained expectation, especially among the top talent in the workforce across industries.”
Companies see the benefits of allowing corporate employees to work from home.
“The organizations that provide their people with the most diverse tools and layouts and the highest degree of flexibility in order to produce, while maintaining a cohesive culture, will be the most successful in the long run,” Loeber said.
But corporate employees who choose flexibility often spend a significant amount of time and money at a coffee shop working. According to Loeber, the insecure data networks, noisy surroundings and lack of business amenities are drawing employees to co-working spaces instead.
WheelHouse will open two or three locations in the Charlotte area by early 2018.
“What we’d offer at a WheelHouse Ballantyne, for instance, for $100 a month, you can have unlimited coffee, unlimited WiFi, a printing allowance, a meeting-space allowance, all in this professional co-working center,” Loeber said. “And it’s still right around the corner from your home.”
Charlotte’s current co-working companies attract independent professionals such as nonprofits, startups and freelancers. Their locations are centered around Uptown and other business districts close to center city.
National co-working companies WeWork, Industrious and Level each have one location in Uptown Charlotte. Packard Place is a Charlotte-based company with one Uptown office. Locally owned Advent Coworking is in Plaza Midwood, and Hygge Coworking has three locations within a two-mile radius of center city.