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Greenville Business Magazine

Using a Coworking Space Can Inspire Creativity, Build Your Network and Boost Productivity

By Holly McKissick

Senior Account Executive, Hughes Agency

Sometimes a change of scenery can be just the ticket to unleashing creativity and productivity. It’s a matter of having a place to go to work that’s not at home. When you pair an inspiring change of scenery with a state-of-the-art workspace that has all the amenities today’s professional needs, you have a launchpad for productivity – and for ideas to develop and take shape.

Coworking spaces are designed for that purpose, and many offer unique and personalized experiences that professionals can use to their advantage.

If you’re considering changing up your work style, here are just some of the ways to make the most of a coworking experience.

The Business Traveler

For Beckie Manley, founder and CEO of Fierce Strategy + Creative in St. Simons, Georgia, coworking spaces allow her to comfortably and seamlessly visit clients, vendors and family all over the country. It also helped her refocus on the real purpose of her business.

Previously, she owned an 8,000-square-foot building for her advertising agency. Overhead was high, and Manley found herself veering away from the core of her business – serving her clients. Instead of strategizing and brainstorming creative solutions, she found herself battling operational headaches. Eventually, some of her smaller clients could no longer afford her services since part of her fees included real estate costs.

Manley decided to turn that approach to business on its head. She sold the building, invested in a smaller office, and joined coworking spaces for business travel. Now, overhead is minimal, and she can offer competitive pricing and better service to her clients.

“I wanted to go back to what my true heart was, which was being right there at the conference room table with our clients – strategizing with them and getting my hands dirty. I love that. This model allows us to do that,” said Manley.

Now, she coworks all over the country to meet with clients.

The Hybrid

Some professionals take a blended approach to their workdays, using a coworking space to complement their permanent office or to have a more interactive, engaging option to contrast their more casual or isolated home office.

A Greenville-based accounting student was studying for her CPA license from home, which proved distracting. So, she purchased a day pass at a local coworking space to see if she could concentrate better there. Instantly, she discovered that the distraction-free environment gave her clarity and focus, motivating her to study more efficiently so she could be ready to take her exam sooner. She quickly switched from a day pass to a 24/7 access private desk and passed all her exams before accepting a job offer from her chosen employer.

Another excellent use for coworking spaces, especially ones with large conference rooms, is the brainstorming session. Without the constant interruptions at a typical office – or an office that is currently off-limits – a fresh new space that can be rented by the day can be a catalyst for creative thinking and strategy. These multi-purpose spaces can be ideal for client meetings, board meetings, candidate interviews, presentations and more.

The Resident

For people who use a coworking space as their permanent office, one of the best ways to maximize the benefits of membership is by getting to know the other members who have various talents that could complement your business.

Paul Ryll, U.S. Marine Corps veteran and owner of Oscar Mike Appraisal Group, moved his team into Endeavor, a coworking space in downtown Greenville, in the fall of 2020. It was the space and the world-class amenities that brought him in. It was the people who made him stay.

“I was hiring more people, and I needed space. Working and trying to train people out of my home wasn’t really working that well,” said Ryll.

Ryll also had employee retention to consider. He wanted to have a place his growing team looked forward to coming to every day.

“I felt at home there. Nothing compared to the kind of service, the location, the footprint, everything about it was really appealing to me for my business.”

Ryll did not think there was room to be creative in the appraisal business, but once he began talking to some of the other members about what they do, he started thinking about his business in new ways. Now, he and a fellow member who specializes in software development are collaborating to change the way he approaches business, and potentially, the appraisal industry, and Ryll has also hired the creative team a few offices down from his to develop the brand and interior for his new restaurant concept.

“Since being at Endeavor, the creativity has absolutely started flowing on different planes of what we can do with the appraisal company. It’s really neat, and it’s really weird, and it’s really unexpected,” he said.