05 Mar To Cowork, or Not to Cowork: That is the Question.
Trish Thomas, CEO, TEEM
TEEM recently relocated to Denver, leaving our iconic, well-loved space in downtown Boulder after a long and successful run.
There have been many questions about the impetus to move and, more broadly, if we are continuing to offer coworking at our new space. I wanted to address the questions directly and share more about the future of TEEM’s business model and offerings. But before I dive into the details, let’s take a look at the past few years in the coworking industry.
The Coworking Industry
It seems odd to call coworking an ‘industry’. It was little more than a rag-tag collection of neighborhood shared spaces 10 short years ago, but in the past decade coworking has become a juggernaut, with well-funded conglomerates launching dozens, if not hundreds, of locations globally. It has also evolved to a widely accepted new way to work, with distinct cultures, perks, and physical work environments emerging from key industry players, from artsy maker-spaces, to WeWork’s tech bro vibe, to Industrious’ quiet sophistication, to the education-centric model of Galvanize.
TEEM (then Atomic20) was an early player in Colorado’s coworking scene. Eight years ago, when a few way-paving coworking spaces were just gaining traction on the coasts, our founders Jeff and Toby launched Scrib – not fully understanding the impact that decision would ultimately have on our agency. Three years later, under the banner of Atomic20, we moved into the light (literally, our first coworking space was in the basement!) and opened a larger space on Broadway in Boulder. We expanded in 2016, and enjoyed several years of success with a vibrant, creative collective of coworkers. During this time, we also perfected and committed to our agency’s freelance talent model.
And then… 2018.
Coworking was ever more competitive by the year, but 2018 really ratcheted up the pressure. Major national coworking enterprises moved into Boulder offering posh digs, sweet perks and market share grabbing pricing.
It’s not a bad thing. We love coworking and want to see it thrive! But coworking has never been our bread and butter. Coworking was a ‘side business’ for TEEM, while our real revenue and profit center was always the agency side of the business. As coworking grew in complexity and competitiveness, we knew we couldn’t – and shouldn’t – try to keep up with the big dogs.
There are many, many coworking spaces available today, and they offer better workspaces, terms and amenities than ever before. Our talent pool no longer has to search for a great place to connect, create and collaborate. TEEM as a coworking space lost relevance and differentiation. So we let it go.
At the end of last year, we decided that it was time to tap out of the coworking contest. The timing was driven by several factors that I won’t belabor here, but we exited our lease in downtown Boulder in February of 2019 and on March 1st opened our new location on the Taxi Campus in RiNo in Denver.
While we do have extra seats at our new home, they are simply for ad hoc collaboration. We are not offering coworking in Denver. But we will continue to support our large, talented community and welcome all of you into our space. We will still host events and education occasionally. We will maintain our talent model of leveraging the best and brightest of the freelance community on TEEM accounts.
We really miss all the folks we worked side-by-side with over the years. We miss the buzz of a space humming with activity, the pranks, the desk-side critiques, the dogs (oh the many dogs). But we don’t miss losing money every month on coworking, changing toilet paper rolls, bickering about which flavor of tea is stocked, or seeing ‘Snacks’ as a major line item in our budget!
To cowork, or not to cowork: that was the question. The answer = no.
New Address and Open House Event!
Our new address is 3459 Ringsby Court in Denver and we’re in Suite #403. We’ll be hosting an open house the evening of April 18th, so come on by and say hello.