“It gives you the benefit of meeting other people,” Traxler says. “It’s really come to full fruition that people are using it as a space to connect, but then really get their work done.”
Traxler said she is seeing the trend of collaborative work and meeting spaces grow throughout the chamber industry and expects to see it continue.
“As a nation, I do think that the culture is just moving this way, going more remote and going more home-based, which is going to drive the community to have more places like this that people can pop in and work,” Traxler says.
The trend isn’t limited to chambers of commerce. In October 2018, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation in Fort Myers, Florida, opened Collaboratory—a renovated 1920s train depot that is now home to the foundation’s offices, as well as meeting spaces that are open to the community.
Today, Collaboratory offers a wide range of meeting spaces including a board room, a large multipurpose room and an “Idea Room” with a table and white board walls for creative brainstorming. It also has a café-style open seating area for visitors who want a coffee shop feeling in a professional setting.
Owen says she is excited by how consistently Collaboratory being used. She believes the space is popular because of the privacy and technology possibilities it offers compared to other public spaces.
“If you’re having a meeting, say, at a restaurant, it’s impossible to bring up a white board or any kind of technology you need to have,” Owen says. “I think the space allows for that and it allows for you to run into people there. You never know what event might be going on, or who you might meet in Collaboratory.”