BIRMINGHAM, Mich. (FOX 2) - John Mark Stahl is one of the many emerging from a home office - but not yet headed back to the office. He is now finding a comfortable middle ground in a co-working space at Workco in downtown Birmingham - which just opened this week
"I've been working out of my basement for the last year and a half," he said. "I don't necessarily want to go back to the office with my busy lifestyle schedule. This just creates that flex that's perfect."
It is the flexibility many workers are looking for.
"We're closing down our office - selling it off - getting a smaller lease so it's going to be a lot of people that are going to be more remote," said Tim White. "Some people like it - some people don't. I personally like having a place to go that's more of an office-like environment, more productive. So this works really well for me - but I do see this being a trend for a lot of people going forward."
White used to travel a lot for work. Tired of working from home, his new office is at Workco - even his son, Max, a college student working as an intern, is there, too.
"I get a lot more work done here than I did back at my house," said Max.
Co-working space has been growing in popularity for several years - it stagnated during Covid but is now making a comeback - with 6.3 million Americans expected to use co-working spaces by 2025.
"It's a long-term plan for us," said Emil Jakupovic.
Jakupovic founded Workco. It didn't come easy, delayed because of the pandemic. The opening this week comes at just the right time as many employees won't be returning to the regular office they are still working remotely - but want an alternative to working from home.
"We saw a huge demand - even more so than we anticipated - we're already more than 50 percent full and we just opened this week," he said.
Workco also features a furniture gallery and store selling two European lines - something a little different for a co-working space.
"I think the retail space really sucks people in because it's so beautiful, and then they kind of realize we are both a co-working space and a retail space. People are eager to stop working from home," said Brooke Butler, community manager and events coordinator.
"Co-working spaces I think are going to be the wave of the future," said Marcus Turner, general manager of Workco. "And to start creating this wonderful community."
After so many months of working remotely - alone - people say they're glad to have an office-type environment - and the proximity to downtown.
Members say it's affordable, convenient - and with all the amenities - coworking is a great alternative to the home office.
"Wifi's better than it is in my house - coffee's actually better than it is in my house - there are people to interact with so everything about it is just really nice," said Tim White.
For more information: https://www.workcompany.com/