COCHRANE— The Corner Coworking has seen an increased interest from those looking for alternative ways to work during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Corner Coworking opened two-and-a-half years ago, said founder Mark Eaton, as a space for people who work for themselves, small companies or students as a place to gather together.
“We all work together alone,” Eaton said with a grin. “People who are either lonely or distracted working at home come here.”
One can stop by for a visit and find anyone from students, to architects, to electricians, to GIS specialists and anyone in between accessing the space.
“What we really want is for a business to start here or start growing here and to grow out of the space— To become too big,” Eaton said.
The Corner Coworking has been focused on fostering community, he said, and this has been one of the more important aspects during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In April and May, The Corner Coworking saw many members move home. People began to slowly return to the space in July and August.
Interest in The Corner Coworking piqued in September, Eaton said, adding that he believes this was a mix of students returning to online school, parents looking for a workspace and others looking for a professional environment to work in while their offices remained closed.
“It’s been really interesting watching it take off,” Eaton said.
The Corner Coworking is accessed by a mix of people including residents of Cochrane, Mountain View County and Rocky View County. He added people from Northwest Calgary also access the space.
“It’s an interesting mix— Some people are here for more reliable Internet, or more reliable delivery services,” Eaton said. “Whereas others are purely here for the community, for the connections, for the potential for collaboration.”
One of the benefits students get at the Corner Coworking is they can connect with people working in industries they may be interested in.
“If you’re an engineering student you now have the opportunity to run into an engineer in the kitchen,” he said.
Eaton added he has seen an increased interest in students looking for a space to continue their online post-secondary classes.
The student membership is one of his favourite aspects of The Corner Coworking, he said, because post-secondary students need a place to study.
Athabasca University psychology student Janelle Turner began working in the space in September. Thursday (Sept. 10) marked her second session at The Corner Coworking.
“I picked this place because I have two little kids at home and it’s really challenging to be able to focus and have a quiet space when you’ve got little kids running around,” Turner said.
Turner is from Cochrane and said she appreciates having a quiet space she can come and work in on her own time. She added, the environment that has been fostered creates a super productive space for her studies.
Turner said she recommends the space to other students who are looking for a bright and modern area to study.
“And, they have free coffee,” she said with a laugh.
To become involved with The Corner Coworking there are multiple options available, including a drop-in pass, part-time membership or full-time membership.
Drop-in prices are $35 a day while memberships can cost up to $1,000 a month for a permanent private office.
In the future, Eaton said, as more people learn about and move into the space, he hopes to see The Corner Coworking grow larger while honouring the values that inspired its creation.
“I don’t want to change what we offer to much because it’s important that we stick to the vision of creating community and providing an environment where people want to work,” Eaton said.