Dana and I met when I was looking for additional office space a few years ago and I couldn’t be happier with both her and The Coop.  What is “The Coop”?  The Coop is a coworking space in Summerlin (Las Vegas) inspired by the need for small business owners to work more efficiently by sharing office amenities and

Dana Berggren
Dana Berggren

services, like executive suites, while creating an atmosphere of community, connectivity, and collaboration.

For those just starting out or scaling down due to the pandemic coworking spaces, coworking spaces are now more relevant than ever.  Many people have been forced to telecommute for the first time right along with the seasoned professionals and coworking spaces afford a means to relocate newly displaced workers.  Furthermore, coworking spaces provide more than basic needs, they are a crucial support structure for small businesses, sole proprietors, the self-employed, and other entrepreneurs.

This being said, The Coop provides both a community and a means for economic recovery for small businesses.  Let’s learn more about what brought The Coop to life in the Las Vegas Valley.

You’re a Commercial Real Estate agent, what made you enter the coworking space (no pun intended)?

I left the corporate commercial real estate world to become an independent broker in 2014. I needed an office for my solopreneur endeavor and the available options weren’t quite right for me. I had been researching this concept called coworking and was inspired by the social aspect of a shared office space and decided to open The Coop.

How has COVID-19 affected your business?  Have you seen growth as many are forced to work remotely?

At first, The Coop was negatively impacted by COVID-19 because we had to close to the public. I missed out on the revenue from day pass users and conference room rentals. Now, as we emerge from quarantine, I’m seeing a big uptick in inquiries as people are looking for shared workspace and business services with flexible terms.

Ignoring the WeWork debacle, what’s a misconception the public has about coworking space?

One misconception is that coworking spaces are full of youngsters with tech start-ups. At The Coop, you will find a wide range of business types as well as all different demographics. We are such a beautifully diverse group both in business types and the make-up of our members.

Do you think the failure of WeWork impacted coworking as a whole?

First and foremost, we should thank WeWork for putting coworking on the map. Although the “coworking” movement began in 2005, it was WeWork’s market dominance with their cool workspaces that really got the conversation going. That being said, the WeWork IPO debacle will make landlords and lenders scrutinize the viability of coworking spaces very heavily moving forward. The financial disclosure by WeWork pulled the curtain back on a business model that is very difficult to make profitable.

What would you say are the three greatest benefits of coworking?

There are so many benefits to coworking which is why we do it. If I was to name three in no particular order it would be 1) flexible terms: you can upsize and downsize pretty easily and you don’t have to commit to a lengthy lease; 2) collaboration: there are so many opportunities to collaborate with fellow coworkers who bring a myriad of talents to the workspace; 3) The benefits to your mental health are so important. Just having other people around you and creating more meaningful conversations and relationships gives your mental health a boost.

Why Summerlin?  Why not closer to The Strip or elsewhere?

My focus was initially on Downtown Las Vegas. Having moved to Las Vegas from Downtown Chicago, I’m a city girl at heart. I’ve always been drawn to the energy and diversity of the urban core. While The Coop was in the planning stage, I began discussing the concept of coworking to potential members and received an overwhelming response to locate in Summerlin. It made perfect sense to have this cool, collaborative workspace close to home and my children’s schools, and the proximity to retail amenities is a huge plus as well.

The Harvard Business Review wrote about how coworking space helps people feel their work is more meaningful and builds community, how does The Coop promote the community aspect?

The best way to promote community is to support the community, and The Coop does that in so many ways. Firstly, it has been my mission from the beginning to support local businesses. We brew coffee from local roasters, we feature the work of local artists, and some of our furniture was custom-made by a local woodworker. Feed@The Coop is our monthly breakfast for members when I bring in food from local eateries and we take some time to get to know each other better and chat about ways to help each other. Hopefully, in the post-pandemic era, we can welcome back our workshops and local speakers at The Coop. In the meantime, you will find The Coop members enjoying the occasional happy hour at a local establishment. The strength of the connections made in all of these instances cannot be understated. There is genuine care and concern for each other. That is the foundation of a strong community.

Some speculated that the pandemic would/will spell the end of coworking spaces, how do you respond to this theory?

It depends on the underlying issues that were present pre-pandemic. Some businesses will suffer, and some will not survive, while many businesses will emerge stronger. Overall, I think the coworking industry will see a big boost in demand for a few reasons: 1) companies on longer-term leases will want the flexible terms offered by coworking spaces; 2) work from home has its challenges such as distractions from spouses, partners, roommates, children, and pets or poor WiFi/connectivity; 3) people emerging from quarantine will appreciate the in-person interaction in a coworking space. This leads to increased collaboration, the birth of new ideas, and has proven to be positive for mental health.

Do you foresee the typically standard office recovering?  Or do you see offices never being the same with the rise of coworking?

The typical, standard office for lease will suffer quite a bit in the short term. Companies are either bailing on their offices completely or adopting a hub and spoke model where they will downsize their corporate office and operate smaller, satellite offices. Seeing as how productivity didn’t suffer in the work from home scenario, companies will give employees greater flexibility in the where they work. Were are still in the initial stages of the work from home scenario, though, so the long term outlook on standard office will difficult to predict. I do anticipate more landlords offering coworking as part of their portfolios.

What is one thing you would like to share with the world regarding coworking space?

Coworking is only going to increase in popularity over time as users look for flexible terms and desire to share space and resources with other workers. The ultimate goal is to create a community where there is a genuine concern for the well-being of its members. It does wonders for our mental health and productivity.