Already popular in downtown Kansas City, coworking options are now expanding further south into the metro area.
Jennifer Stearns, community manager at the relatively-new GRID collaborative workspaces in Overland Park, said that coworking has a bright future in not only Kansas City but also in its suburbs.
The facility opened their doors in April, but is celebrating their grand opening with a ribbon cutting ceremony Wednesday. Stearns hopes that this event, among others planned, can help foster community — without locals having to drive to midtown Kansas City.
“With coworking, you’re not stuck in a cubicle,” Stearns said. “You’re not stuck in a building where you feel like you have no idea what’s going on in the outside world.”
Coworking is growing not just in Kansas City with places like Think Big, Plexpod and Cowork Waldo, but also around the world. The industry is expected to expand to as many as 26,000 spaces and 3.8 million members by 2020.
Stearns said that people want coworking because it eliminates feelings of isolation and encourages professional relationships. Awareness, however, is required in order for the community to grow, she added.
Stearns wanted to bring the “incubator-like” features of downtown coworking to the suburbs. She said that many freelancers and small business owners in Overland Park do business in coffee shops or at home, and they need a space where they can work without interruptions.
The 17,000-square-foot space offers private offices, reserved desks, shared space, conference rooms, event spaces and a commercial kitchen. With an open floor plan and plenty of natural lighting, Stearns said that the “industrial feel” makes the GRID different.
“You should enjoy going to work,” Stearns said. “In our lives, we spend a lot of time working. It should be something that we look forward to. We should be fostering relationships with other like-minded professionals around us.”
Stearns believes that entrepreneurial community growth is the best way to influence the economy and ensure Kansas City’s spot as the next tech capital. To play its part, the GRID has become a member of the Kansas City Coworking Alliance and plans to host several events in the near future.