Lake Tahoe Coworking: Meet the Founders of Cowork Tahoe

Cowork Tahoe Coworking Space CloudVO Partner

Written by Justine Dhollande

What does it takes to start a coworking space in a destination location? Meet Jamie and David Orr, and their partners Cristi and Bernard Creegan, founders of Cowork Tahoe. This will be the sixth year that Cowork Tahoe has been open in South Lake Tahoe, CA giving remote workers and entrepreneurs the opportunity to live amongst the mountain scenery and contribute to the local community.

Why did you choose South Lake Tahoe to start your new coworking business?

A long time ago, we (David & Jamie) asked ourselves what our ideal place to live would be.  We were living in Mountain View, CA at the time. We were constantly fighting traffic too and from work. We both have a passion for outdoor recreation, but it was so difficult to get to a point where we could enjoy the outdoors on a regular basis. After the economic collapse in 2008, we bought a second home and started spending more time in South Lake Tahoe. That led to falling in love with the area, so in the Fall of 2013, we decided to move here full time.

Upon our arrival, we began networking and talking to people from the community about things they thought were missing in the area. Coworking and business incubation was a topic that continually came up when speaking with the Tahoe Chamber, the City Manager, and other local leaders in the business community. It became clear there was a need, and having worked from a coworking space previously, we were very excited about the opportunity of running a large coworking space in South Lake Tahoe.  Bernard & Cristi Creegan believed in that vision as well and partnered with us to purchase and completely renovate one of the most iconic buildings in town, the home of the Tahoe Daily Tribune.

What was the biggest challenge you ran into during your first year of opening Cowork Tahoe? 

Awareness is the biggest challenge that faces any new business. If your customers don’t know about you, or can’t find you when they search for your services, you’re not getting their business. This can be solved with a great marketing plan. The challenge with coworking is nobody wants to work in an empty space. People’s number one reason for joining a coworking space is the community. Obviously a new space is missing this critical component.

Several years ago, coworking was even less common than it is today. Very few people knew what it was, so an additional challenge was educating the community on coworking in general, including its benefits to both those that are members of a space as well as benefits to the community as a whole.

To overcome this, we made sure that we were everywhere – Chamber of Commerce meetings, young professional networking events, service club meetings, as well as hosting events in our space to get people through our doors.

What is the current trend with coworking in mountain resort towns in your opinion?

Coworking in smaller communities, including mountain towns, is quickly growing as more people are able to take advantage of remote work options.

Cowork Tahoe Dog Friendly Coworking Space | CloudVO
Photo credit: Cowork Tahoe

In Tahoe, for example, we are seeing an influx of new residents that are leaving major metro areas like San Francisco/Silicon Valley to enjoy a better quality of life in the mountains for themselves and their families. Rather than view Tahoe as just a vacation destination, they’re taking advantage of their ability to work remote in order to live here full-time. It’s a way to trade in hours of commute traffic for hours spent enjoying the outdoors even during the middle of the work week!

Coworking in Resort Towns Lake Tahoe, Nevada | CloudVO

Mountain communities are typically tight-knit, and coworking spaces fit in very well with that mindset. They are the modern day community center and can be more than just where people work. A coworking space in a small town is often the first place someone new to town meets other people, so a vibrant space can contribute to them getting settled and integrated into the community.

Additionally, coworking spaces in mountain towns can help to diversify the economy in an otherwise tourist-dependent community. Tourist communities suffer from the volatility of weather, but having a population of workers that can work remotely means more stability for the town overall. It builds resilience year-round.

How is COVID-19 affecting your coworking space?

Like so many other coworking space providers, Cowork Tahoe has been significantly impacted by COVID-19. We were able to maintain access to the building for our member companies that were providing essential services, such as Eagle Protect, who worked diligently to provide PPE to where it was most needed. However, we were largely shut down beyond that for several months. Our reopening plan included many modifications to the space and our operations to mitigate the risk of transmission of the virus. We drastically reduced open desk space density and relocated many desks to auxiliary spaces. Face coverings are required in all common ares and in any meeting rooms during client meetings if a minimum of 6-feet of space cannot be maintained.

Cowork Tahoe Coworking Space Health and Safety | CloudVO

We have also taken actions such as spreading out kitchen amenities to eliminate crowding at the coffee pot, placed additional seating outdoors, implemented time gaps between meetings to allow for cleaning and air circulation, and have cleaning products and sanitizer available throughout the building for members to use. We have been communicating all of these changes to our community through member announcements, emails, and social media, as well as to potential members with a modified approach to tours that includes a walk through of our new health and safety protocols. We remain committed to providing a wonderful work environment for our community, even if that looks a little different right now.

Covid-19 Health and Safety Protocols at Cowork Tahoe | CloudVO

From facing the challenges of opening a new business in Lake Tahoe, to managing COVID-19, these owners know how to roll with the punches and adapt for success. Next time you are in Lake Tahoe, stop by Cowork Tahoe to network and connect…but don’t forget your mask!

Looking for a destination coworking space? Visit www.CloudVO.com  to book a meeting room, day office, or coworking pass at nearly 1,000 partner locations within our global network.


About CloudVO

CloudVO is the umbrella brand of Cloud Officing Corp., headquartered in San Francisco, California. CloudVO’s mission is to provide comprehensive virtual office, coworking and meeting room solutions to professionals under a Workplace-as-a-Service™ model. CloudVO operates the CloudTouchdown network that grants preferential access to day offices and meeting rooms at nearly 1,000 locations worldwide for mobile workers and distributed workforces under a subscription model or on a pay-per-use basis.



A Coworking Safari

Shared office space and Coworking | CloudVO

On July 9, 2014, we asked 27 CloudVO associates to spend their entire day in a coworking place and to share their experience on Yammer real time. This article presents a summary of some of the raw observations made by our group on that coworking safari day, without interpretation or judgment.

Methodology

The safari was designed to increase our organization’s knowledge of the coworking landscape. Fifty six percent (56%) of the participants had never coworked previously. The rule was for all participants to check in a location that promotes itself online as “coworking,” pay for a day pass, and share his or her experience and observations throughout the day via a moderated discussion forum on Yammer. Most of the discussions were structured – the moderator sent questions to the group throughout the day every ½ hour or so – but the participants also engaged in impromptu and highly interactive online conversations throughout the day. All data reported in this article was strictly based on those field observations.

Locations

The group checked-in 26 different coworking places in California and Nevada:

  • In 17 different cities
  • 16 locations were in the San Francisco Bay Area
  • 5 were in the Sacramento area
  • 4 were in other California areas (including LA & San Diego areas)
  • 1 location was in Reno, Nevada.

For the most part, participants picked locations close to their home or place of work. Since the majority were CloudVO employees, it is no surprise that the observations were skewed to Northern California, where the company main offices are located.

The vast majority of the operations visited by our group were dedicated coworking operations, with names like Hacker Dojo, NextSpace, The Port, The Hub, SandBox, Comerge, Enerspace, Urban Hive, San Leandro Coworking, Reno Collective, SpherePad, Hacker Lab, LapTop Lounge, ThinkHouse, Sillicon Valley Pad, Get Smartworkplaces, Sattelite, Comerge. One operation was a coworking place specifically designed for legal professionals (Thirty33 Legal Suites). Two locations advertised themselves as coworking places but were effectively touchdown space for professionals (e.g. MediaPod, with Courtyard by Marriott). The majority of the operations were for-profit operations, focused solely on coworking, but at least one was a non-profit operation, managed by and for its members.

Capacity & Usage

Half of the coworking places were small, with less than 40 coworking seat capacity, but 30% had more than 80 open coworking seats. Close to 40% of the locations offered private offices (ranging from 5 to 20 private offices). Most had collaborative space. Two-thirds provided private or semi-private conference rooms, ranging from 1 to 6 meeting rooms per location. 

Distributio of Coworking Seat Capacity Number of Users at Peak Time

Demographics

Whereas the majority of the coworkers on our safari day seemed to fall in the 31 to 39 years old age group, all ages were represented, including Millenials, Gen Y, Gen X, and Boomers. 

Population Age Breakdown

Pricing

Day Pass prices ranged from $10 to $75, with $25 as the median rate. A few locations offered free passes to “test drive” the coworking places. These free pass opportunities were not factored into our statistics.

The median monthly membership, with unlimited access was $295, also with a wide range from $79 to $475 per month. Many operators offer ten-day or five-day access at reduced prices. Dedicated desks, where users often leave their monitor, ranged from $300 to $550 with a median rate at $433/month. 

Published Prices

Amenities 

While a few of the smaller locations seemed to have spotty internet connections, most provided decent but not exceptional Internet connectivity. More surprisingly, only half of the locations seemed to provide some form of network printing. When available, printing was often free of charge.

Internet Connection Speed

Ambiance

Whereas community events are said to be the critical fabric of their place by most coworking operators, our observers could find events prominently posted in only 58% of the locations.

What really struck our safari participants is that the coworking locations were places to get work done. The image of informality some coworking places promote, with folks lounging on a couch with a beer on hand and a laptop on the knees, were no where to be seen. What the group observed instead were studious, library-style, work environments, where folks are by and large respectful of each other’s space and sound privacy. For example, most folks while making cell phone calls are careful not to do this in a way that disturbs other coworkers.

Coffee and beverage were very simple for the most part –no luxury!- but seemed to achieve their purpose.

Sound Level

Coffee Rating

Coworking Ambiance

Rate Your Coworking Experience

Join us for ‘Workspace-as-a-Service Safari Day’ in the Spring of 2015.

We would like to engage our entire industry in a Workspace-as-a-Service Safari Day in the spring of 2015. Let’s cover 100+ cities worldwide! Take one day out of your busy schedule to join our global field trip and in the process:

  • Help gather incredibly valuable data and help understand our changing industry.
  • Gain deep insights into the operations of other players in your space.
  • Enjoy the highly interactive format and benefit from the experience of hundreds of other participants in real time.

Here is how we would like to organize that day:

  • If you are a business center operator then check into a nearby coworking place or incubator for the day and offer other participants of the Safari a flat $40 rate to check into a day office at your center for that same day.
  • If you are a coworking operator, check into a nearby business center day office or an incubator and offer participants of the Safari a regular day pass at your center, not to exceed $40 for that day.
  • If you work for an incubator, check into a nearby business center day office or a coworking space for the day and offer participants of the Safari your regular coworking day pass at regular cost, not to exceed $40 for the day.

For more information, contact us.


About CloudVO

CloudVO  is the umbrella brand of Cloud Officing Corp., headquartered in San Francisco, California. CloudVO’s mission is to provide comprehensive virtual office, coworking and meeting room solutions to professionals under a Workplace-as-a-Service™ model. CloudVO operates the CloudTouchdown network that grants preferential access to day offices and meeting rooms at nearly 1,000 locations worldwide.