A Place to Call Home Base: St. John’s first co-working space open for entrepreneurs, freelancers, and creatives

Common Ground, the first co-working space in St. John’s, is giving professionals a place to call home base.

If you work from home, there’s no water cooler. Even if you had a water cooler, there’s nobody to gather with around it. There’s no monthly birthday cake in the break room. And no break room.

With start-ups, home businesses, and contract work, more and more people are working out of their homes, or living as coffee shop nomads, shuffling from one WiFi hotspot to the next.

People don’t have access to the trappings of traditional office life anymore. Common Ground, the first co-working space in St. John’s, is giving professionals a place to call home base.

“Common Ground came from the belief that the community needed a co-working space to support entrepreneurs, innovators, and home-based employees, to help them get out of the house and into a professional space without the cost and commitment of a commercial lease,”says Mandy Woodland, founding director of Common Ground Coworking.

Located within the Benevolent Irish Society building (30 Harvey Road), the second floor space is set up to host a rotating cast of professionals. The main area operates through hotdesking — multiple workers using a single physical work station or surface during different time periods.

Elsewhere, there are private offices for rent, a couple of meeting rooms, boardrooms, a tiny meeting room that also doubles as a nap space with a hammock, a phone booth, kitchen, stocked with Jumping Bean coffee, Quidi Vidi beer, and giant Mr. Freezies.

Right now, there are entrepreneurs of various stripes, including tech, software, marketing, social media management, music, legal, and other employees who would otherwise work from home.

One of those entrepreneurs is Krystal Hobbs of Reflective Marketing, a digital marketing business she started  in April.

“I live in CBS, so anytime I had meetings, I was running around town, eating meals in my car, and working from coffee shops in between,”says Hobbs.

“As a brand new business, it’s difficult to afford renting an office space, and it especially seems frivolous if you’re working on your own.”

After coming in part-time to get a feel for the place, she’s now there several days a week. “You tend to see a lot of the same faces here, and it’s really easy to get to know one another. Everyone is friendly, and what’s really great is that we’re all so willing to help each other succeed. I don’t think you’d find that working alone in your basement.”

Find Common Ground online at http://www.workatcommonground.com

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