As home-based and remote work increase in the United States, traditional business organizations are meeting a rising need for non-traditional workspaces. From chambers of commerce to community groups, many offices are clearing room in their buildings for meeting spaces and opening their doors to local professionals.
In Michigan, the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce has opened a Work Café for its members. Director of Membership Laura Traxler said the space has helped make chamber members from across the region feel connected.
“What inspired it is the fact that we see so many businesses are home-based, and the members that we serve are spanning pretty far throughout Michigan, so we really felt like we needed an epicenter of business right downtown to attract all of our members,” Traxler says.
The Work Café opened in March 2018, and Traxler said it is now averaging 1,200 visitors every month. It offers an open seating area with free coffee along with private meeting rooms and a conference room that is available for reservations.
Traxler said one of the biggest benefits of the space for members is the “unintentional networking” it drives.