Work from home or office? Some Iowans pick neither says Geoff Wood, founder of Gravitate.

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When companies sent their people home to work remotely during the pandemic, many predicted the end of the modern office. Others predicted the office would make a comeback. But is it possible both were wrong? Geoff Wood, the founder and owner of Gravitate Coworking, Iowa’s largest coworking space, discusses why many Iowa’s have opted to choose neither. Is the future of work coworking?

Geoff Wood, Owner of Gravitate

Wood is presently celebrating Gravitate’s 10 year birthday. Over that 10 years he’s seen the ebbs and flows of remote and hybrid work. He’s seen entrepreneurs, corporate workers, authors, drop-ins from others states, non-profits, and business groups from other countries stop by to understand coworking in Iowa. He explains where we’re going, and why rural coworking might catch on in the future.

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The future of work. Coworking?

Wood explains coworking is a national trend, and in many ways it’s like a gym. Members pay for use of the office space. Memberships often include office space, printers, conference rooms, phone booths, and in Gravitate’s case, fancy coffee and in some locations beer on tap!

To summarize, coworking members actually pay to work from an office. It turns out, there are many aspects to the office people do like: social connection and building a network of colleagues that can give advice and insight. Wood says some members have met cofounders of future companies, and others found a spouse!

Who is coworking in Iowa?

Picture of Justin at Gravitate Des Moines

Gravitate is certainly the physical town center of entrepreneurial activity in Iowa, but most are surprised to know the bulk of its members actually work for companies. Members of coworking spaces are often remote employees for other organizations. In this work-from-anywhere era, people can work for a company based in Louisiana, but live in Iowa and work out of a coworking space.

Sticking with that theme, some people across the country, including Iowans are choosing to work from rural areas, but seek coworking spaces for human connection or use of internet and meeting space.

Is coworking the antidote to loneliness?

Wood brought up the new epidemic of loneliness sweeping the nation, as highlighted by the US Surgeon General. Working alone in your own home, may sound appealing but over time, the social disconnect can lead to loneliness or worse. Isolation is tough on your mental health too, and Wood says many people seek out coworking spaces to stay connected to like-minded individuals and their community.

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