Local company gives telecommuters a place to call home
Dave Fidlin | Downtown News
Recent advancements in technology have changed conditions for professionals – inside and outside the traditional workplace. The working world has grown progressively global, and the number of remote workers – or telecommuters – has grown exponentially.
As an increasing number of employees and independent workers perform their tasks from home offices, coffee shops and even their cars, the scenario of renting out professional workspace has followed suit as a growing trend in recent years.
Downtown San Diego hosts one such option, Co-Merge Workplace, a venue geared toward telecommuting professionals in a wide variety of industries.
A year-and-a-half ago, business partners Robert Conrad and Michael Kenny opened Co-Merge after renovating vacant office space at 330 A St. The location, Conrad said, was strategic – it is in the midst of San Diego’s financial district.
“We also liked it because it’s very close to the Civic Center, the courthouse, Little Italy and Cortez Hill,” Conrad said. “We found that there are a lot of young, remote workers in the Downtown area, and we felt [Co-Merge] could be a good resource.”
Co-Merge features both indoor and outdoor amenities and offers private offices, conference rooms, a dedicated area for video conferencing and a rooftop space for networking events.
Since opening in early 2012, Conrad said he has discovered workers use the spaces for a variety of reasons, and the mix of independent, entrepreneurial people compared to employees who work remotely for a company is close to evenly split.
“What we’re offering highlights the urban lifestyle that a lot of people are longing for,” Conrad said. “For employees working remotely, this gives employers an added level of accountability. There are companies who like this because it takes care of the real estate burden. There’s a reduction in the amount of space that’s needed.”
While some professionals use Co-Merge as a place for peace and quiet – and to get away from the voluminous distractions within their home – Conrad said others have benefited by networking with fellow professionals inside and outside of their industry.
“We’ve had a true cross section of people working out of here,” he said. “You don’t have to look too far outside Co-Merge to find what you need, in terms of expertise.”
Conrad said he and Kenny have deliberately created a wide-ranging price structure, with flexibility in mind. Those looking for a one-time, drop-in visit of one hour can pay $8, while monthly users pay between $450 and $500, depending on whether a dedicated desk or open work space is selected.
Regardless of the package and price plan selected, Co-Merge offers such amenities as high-speed wireless internet, networking opportunities and coffee, tea and snacks as standard.
Since the company’s inception, Co-Merge has partnered with a national company, LiquidSpace, in recruiting professionals to work out of the facility.
Palo Alto-based LiquidSpace touts itself as an online marketplace that offers professionals more than 2,000 workspaces in more than 250 cities across the United States. At the moment, LiquidSpace has relationships with 157 California companies that offer remote workspace.
A recent study by the International Data Corporation, an intelligence and advisory organization, revealed there are currently more than 1 billion professionals working remotely across the world.
“Business professionals of today are more empowered to choose how, where and when they work,” said Mark Gilbreath, CEO and co-founder of LiquidSpace, explaining the rationale behind his company.
For more information about Co-Merge Workplace, visit co-merge.com, call 619-255-9040 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about LiquidSpace and its partnerships with other workspace companies, visit liquidspace.com.
Dave Fidlin has been a professional journalist for more than a dozen years. Throughout his career, he has contributed to a variety of newspapers, magazines and websites across the nation. He has a special affinity for San Diego and its people. Contact him at email@example.com