INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — As business people become more efficient, work smarter and find ways to better balance work and play, many of them are shifting from their desk jobs to getting things done remotely.
Large cities offer workspaces where professionals can stop by, plug in, and move on with their day; and Lake Tahoe has added another co-working office — this time in Incline Village — for locals and visitors to use.
"I was enamored with this concept for quite a while, it's a big movement, if you will; there are a lot of places like this around, probably 100 in San Francisco, five in Reno," said Roger Kahn, owner of Mountain Workspace.
Kahn said he began learning as much as he could about these offices and workspaces offered to the public for a day rate or a membership fee and pulled various components of other successful operations to create Mountain Workspace in Incline Village, which officially opened its doors Monday, Feb. 19.
"I think the biggest thing the co-working space provides is a lot of collaboration where they can get to know other people in different businesses, walks of life, they start chit chatting and learn a lot from each other," Kahn said.
Mountain Workspace affords the benefits of the working office environment, with the autonomy to work at the time and location best suited to each individual's schedule.
"It's your own desk, you can lock up the desk and it's yours and it's not that expensive; plus a great way to get out of the house. People who work from home can feel stir crazy, I have a home office and get two hours of work done because I'm getting coffee, going online … when you're in an environment where other people are working you're able to get into that space," Kahn said.
During his startup process, Kahn said he picked the brains of other successful workspace owners to learn firsthand the do's and don'ts of the industry.
Husband and wife duo David and Jamie Orr are co-founders of Tahoe Mountain Lab in South Lake Tahoe. They provided valuable insight to Kahn as he brought Mountain Workspace to life.
"The initial idea behind the workspace was making it possible for people like ourselves to live and work in Tahoe. Since I was a little kid, and my wife Jamie would agree, it's been a dream of ours to live in Tahoe but the mentality was that opportunity only exists outside of Tahoe," David explained.
He said that with advancements in technology and the advent of remote work he and his wife saw that instead of living somewhere they weren't thrilled about, they could live and work in Tahoe and create a business that helps others do the same.
"One thing that's so great about co-working is it's grounded in collaboration so another space in the region really helps the cause," Jamie said.
The Orrs said they were thrilled to hear of Kahn's plan to launch Mountain Workspace, as multiple successful co-working spaces are critical to have a more successful economic environment.
In addition to providing a clean and inspiring atmosphere for productivity, the Orrs say that collaborative workspaces also offer a social networking outlet.
"The biggest thing is the community aspect — we've seen problems in the South Shore solved in the Mountain Lab. Meetings, networking … I like to think of the Mountain Lab and what it's become as a community space where community members have meetings and tackle the issues they're facing like housing. I think of it as a think tank for the community," David said.
Another benefit to members, as Kahn put it, these communal think tanks take the stress out of getting your work done.
"You pay one fee and we take care of everything. No snow removal to worry about, we have associates there to help our members and keep things neat, organized and running smoothly, you don't need to worry about paper in the tray or ink in the printer," Kahn said.
On the morning of Mountain Workspace's opening day their first member, Clare Pace, was already busily working at her new desk.
As an Incline Village local and an adjunct professor at the University of Nevada, Reno, Pace explained that she commutes weekly to Reno and doesn't have a designated office.
Pace also is pursuing a post-doctoral fellowship at Berkeley, where she travels twice a week.
She says working from home does not work because she has a 1- and 5-year-old and needed a quiet and productive space.
"I wrote my whole dissertation at Coffee Lab; I even thanked them in it. I wrote 200 pages at a desk at Coffee Lab over a couple of years and the way I see it, the price is like $6.50 for a bagel and coffee every day, whereas here it costs me like, $11, it's private so I can remotely access secure servers, there's high speed internet, and it's about how much you spend on your latte," she laughed.
After the coffee analogy it's clear to see why the workspace makes productivity and financial sense.
"Don't worry about paying for that latte, we even give you the coffee here. We have a kitchen with a Keurig machine — no one likes old, stale coffee. We offer energy bars, snacks … we just want to get them stoked and ready for work," Kahn said.
Mountain Workspace offers open table space for drop-in use, or in a 10-session pack, or for a monthly membership fee.
Dedicated workstations and private offices also are available, as well as private phone booths, cubicles, video conference rooms, mailboxes and other office necessities.