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Last updated: Wed. Mar. 12, 2014 - 05:48 am EDT

CoWork Fort Wayne offers opportunities to collaborate and connect in an open workspace

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What: Pi Day open house at CoWork Fort Wayne

When: 9 a.m to 6 p.m. Friday, March 14

Where: On the fifth floor in the Murphy Building at 809 S. Calhoun St.

Cost: Free during the Pi Day free Friday open house

-For more information on CoWork Fort Wayne visit the website, Twitter page or Facebook page.

-Want to learn more or see who else is going? Check out the Facebook event page.

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No longer is work confined to an office or defined as a 9-to-5 job. The way we work is changing. From Starbucks window seats to the open tables at the library, freelancers, designers and entrepreneurs are looking for a space to call their home office, but without the loud distractions of public places.

With the increase of people working remotely, CoWork Fort Wayne owners Dave Sanders and Chad Clabaugh invite you to step into their office. Well, it's not so much their office as it is everyone's office.

CoWork Fort Wayne, located on the fifth floor in the Murphy Building at 809 S. Calhoun St., is a collaborative co-working space, and people are encouraged to stop out for a free visit on Friday, which also happens to be Pi Day, 3-14, to get some work done and learn more about the new office in town.

The space is adorned like many other offices with desks grouped together in fours and colorful bright red chairs snugly tucked under the black tables littered with monitors, coffee cups and someone's newest project. Along the side of the wall is the water cooler, refrigerator for a packed lunch and even a place to get a quick pick-me-up of coffee or tea.

Sanders has been running his own companies since 2005. Since then, he has seen a trend growing and a shift in the way we work.

“The Internet is getting better and better," he said, "and people are realizing that they can work remotely. Ten years ago businesses would never dream of letting employees work remotely, but that's changed. Many people are seeing that employees can be more productive, and they are not interrupted as much. When the economy dipped during the last eight years or so there were folks that began working more on their own. What that has done is now people are becoming consultants, opening their own business or (they'll) create more entrepreneurial projects.”

Many independent workers call this space home already. From the student needing a quiet place to study for a few hours to the full-time remote worker who needs a space for conference calls, CoWork Fort Wayne has a few different options to accommodate anyone.

For $125 a month, monthly members pay for their space, then tote their equipment and materials to leave at their new desk. While the monthly membership price fluctuates depending on how many members Co-Work has, right now it's $125. That gets you a key, 24/7 access, a desk to leave stuff overnight, and first dibs on any new incentives or office perks. The “Core Members,” as Sanders calls it, are the bread and butter of the company.

For those who don't need 24/7 access daily, CoWork Fort Wayne offers a drop-in rate for $7 a day or $3 for the afternoon. This is offered only during business hours, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

And for those who need something between the membership and drop-in rates, there is a "multi-pass," which is a punch card that gives you 10 visits for $60 or 20 visits for $100.

Tuesday was Christie Bowen's first trip to CoWork Fort Wayne. This time, she opted for the drop in rate, but she is strongly considering a membership. Bowen telecommutes for Teach for America. She often thinks of those tough days working from home where she started a project and somehow ended up doing dishes or picking up around the house.

That's the plight of the stay-at-home employee.

“I feel like at home there is a lot of distractions, and that happens when you are working remotely, but I find it's really easy to be tempted by throwing in a load of laundry or cleaning the house when I am at home. It makes it really important to me to come into a space where I can focus, and that is what this place is for me. It's a place just for work. It mirrors an actual office setting but I still have the flexibility to work on my own hours. The flexibility to come in only three days a week then work the other two from home,” she said

She said the biggest incentive for her is not only the individual workspace but also the ability to hop into one of the conference rooms for a call.

Yes, CoWork Fort Wayne does have it regulars because many of them were regulars at the Founders, a co-worker space that has since closed due to many circumstances including a fire in the building, but Sanders wants to encourage anyone to stop out and see this space.

“Most of the people here are technologists, people that work on the computer all day, but we want to encourage anyone that needs a space to stop by,” he said.

jgoldsborough@news-sentinel.com


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