The demise of the office?

CoCo St. Paul
CoCo St. Paul

I have been using a home office for most of my work since about 2006 or so. It wasn’t much of an adjustment when we were all told to stay home. Selling real estate and running a real estate company are businesses that are suited for home offices. Yet many real estate companies are struggling with what they call “new norma”. Their business models rely on agents wanting to come to the office.

A couple of days ago I talked to a neighbor who has been working out of a home office for years. She was recently laid off and has already gotten hired by another company. She is working from home and she doesn’t want to work in an office.

Working in an office never worked well for me. I struggled with some of the things that came along with the office culture and have never had a desire to go back. I have talked to several people who do not want to work out of shared office space.

At the end of the month, the co-working space I have been using for meetings, as a business mailing address and for those times when people wanted to see my office is closing for good. I didn’t use it much but I will miss it, and have been a member since 2009. The Fueled Collective, formerly CoCo will be closing the downtown St. Paul location for good at the end of June. All other locations will remain open.

During the pandemic, the office has been closed most of the time. When it re-opened because of essential businesses like mine the people who used the space did not come back. This isn’t a good time for small businesses including mine.

I haven’t made a decision yet about my business address or if I even need one. I never really needed a business address it was more about the expectation that a legitimate business needs an office. I have often met with clients in coffee shops or in their homes. More recently we meet by phone or via ZOOM or even outside now that it is warm enough to go outside.

There is more housing downtown than ever before and more restaurants and there is a ballpark and the union depot too. There are also miles of vacant office space and empty streets during business hours.  Our downtown has made many comebacks. I am hoping for another.

 

Empty sidewlaks and streets downtown St. Paul
Downtown St. Paul

 

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