Co-working office spaces in Worcester provide flexibility, community for entrepreneurs

In Media

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By Toni Caushi

Photo: Allan Jung

WORCESTER — By last December, Timothy Hally and his business partner Justin Matsen were approaching their three-year mark on their creative agency Munq, a branding and marketing business.

The duo had started their venture during the pandemic, navigating in their early 20s a fresh business from home.

However, as Munq grew, Hally said that working in the same space with his partner was starting to become something necessary, prompting them to look for a space they could continue to build their business but also afford.

Standing by the door of his two-person office on the fourth floor at 100 Front St., Hally, 27, of Shrewsbury said that renting a space smaller — much smaller — than a classic floor for their business was the way to do it.

“We really felt cooped up at home,” said Hally. “We felt there’s a lack of collaboration.

“We live close to each other, so we could go to each other’s homes, but we needed a space where collaboration was possible.”

One of the marks that the COVID-19 pandemic left behind was undeniably the advent of remote or hybrid work that even four years later 59% of remote workers consider it a better work style due to benefits of work/life balance, according to a USA Today Blueprint survey.

Around 22 million employed adults 18 and over in the U.S. work from home all the time, equal to roughly 14% of all employed adults, according to the Pew Research Center.

Of that, 34% of remote workers have been found to express a feeling of isolation and 25% lament having fewer opportunities to learn from others at work, according to the USA Today Blueprint survey.

The Munq duo of Hally and Matsen, fit the 14% portion of remote workers who have seen a drop in collaboration with their teams from not being in the same space.

“You cannot put a price on in-person communication,” said Hally. “There’s nothing that a digital experience can replicate in that way.”

The two-person office, where Hally and Matsen direct Munq with the DCU Center and St. Vincent Hospital in the skyline, is one of about 63 office spaces available for rent under Venture X, a co-working space that subleases out office spaces that range from one-person to multidesk spaces.

Venture X’s business model is a trend that seems to cater to exactly those who seek in-person work and are either just getting started or are in transition from remote work.

On a tour through the hallways of many glass doors that open to 63 office spaces, Nicole Wolanski, who co-founded Venture X Worcester alongside her husband, Brandon, said the inspiration for the business was very organic.

“It was born out of a need,” said Wolanski. “We were home with three kids, I didn’t want to work in our house all the time, we needed to get out.

“We wanted to work hybrid, but we wanted a place where we could go and have a community atmosphere and culture.”

The Wolanskis signed a 10-year lease for Venture X at the Mercantile Center at 100 Front St., as a franchise of Florida-based Venture X.

Opening in January, Wolanski said she hopes this model expands further in the future into other locations, as she sees a need in the community for co-working spaces.
In other instances, already established organizations and businesses use the co-working spaces for satellite locations that are far from the headquarters, as is the case with EforAll, a nonprofit organization that helps businesses start and grow a business through intensive business training and mentorship.

With well-established locations across the state, the Worcester location was created in 2020, most recently taking up an office at Venture X, which is shared as needed between the executive director, program managers and coordinators.