Co-Working Spaces in Orange County: Is It Right For You?

shared workspace

Collaboration has become a buzzword across the professional landscape; why should it not become the central feature of the new workplace we have begun to see across the country? Imagine a space in which organizations work side by side, serving as resources and collaborative partners while saving money on rent. There are now over 400 co-working spaces, mostly for non-profits and social service organizations, including the Real Office Spaces (ROC) of Santa Monica, CA and The Village at 17th St in Santa Ana, CA. The proprietor of The Village, William Podlich, retired co-founder of Pimco, hopes this is only the beginning of this “real estate with a shared purpose.”

The Orange County Shared Spaces Foundation was a $4 million project. Podlich and Warren Lortie, retired architect and developer, pro-bono funded much of the project, with the thought of focusing their philanthropic efforts on something that would impact as many in the non-profit/not-for-profit community as possible.

Organizations such as the OC Children and Families Commission often depend on unreliable sources of funding. The Children and Families Commission is funded through tobacco taxes, which have dwindled over the last few years. Landlords are happy to rent to non profits during low market price times, but as soon as the housing market increases, rent for non profits becomes an unfeasible expense.

With a shared workspace, rent is stable and affordable ($1.30 per square foot at The Village, versus the typical $2 per square foot), and includes a wide range of other perks. In a workplace where the neighboring organizations have a shared mindset and goals of service to the community, one can imagine the fruitful interactions between employees, producing collaborations and a sharing of best practices through the field. Interaction often goes beyond the workplace; employees will take yoga classes together, start book clubs. The effect is an holistically positive experience.

Santa Monica’s Real Office Spaces offers three plans for purchase: $35 a day with 8am to 5pm access, concierge services, and wireless internet. For $75 a month, you gain additional access to professional development, and a business address with mail handling. And for $125 a month, you gain the use of business equipment at lowered rates. Or, with a membership, all above mentioned benefits and 24 hour access. The building itself boasts an “open, collaborative design”, a focus on green practices, and a space in which to “engage, exchange, and evolve”.

The visions which have propelled these shared work spaces into a reality are of a collaborative professional world, and a professional world in which non-profits and service organizations have not only the opportunity to survive and function, but to thrive and evolve. Lortie, having initiated the beginnings of the Orange County shared workplace, encourage others to step forward and establish shared spaces in other Orange County communities– each community has the need for social and philanthropic services, and Lorie views these work spaces as the opportunity to fulfill that need.

Interested in joining a shared space, but concerned about the insurance regarding coverage of such a space? Give BMR Insurance a call at 714.838.1911 for information about your own business coverage.

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