Business & Real Estate

New space tailored to freelancers in the foothills: Coworking business to open in Folsom

Folsom freelancers tired of calling a table at Starbucks their office are in luck – a new coworking space is opening this fall in their city.

Folsom Coworking, started by wife and husband Amy and Kyle Middleton, will provide a shared space where independent workers can work on separate tasks in a community of other professionals. The business, in the business complex at 705 Gold Lake Drive in Old Folsom, will offer places for individuals and teams to work, conference rooms for meetings, weekly events geared toward community building and education, and a view of Lake Natoma.

The planned setup for the building features open spaces with desks where individuals can work on different projects side-by-side. It's a little like a coffee shop, "except you don't have blenders and coffee machines and loud people distracting you," Kyle Middleton said. "It's a totally different, communal style of a workplace."

Pricing for the space is not yet finalized, but is expected to be comparable to other coworking spaces already open in Sacramento. For 24-hour access to a coworking space, freelancers pay anywhere from about $140 to over $300 a month, depending on the business. For those using space occasionally, there are less expensive and even free options.

While Sacramento has many coworking spaces – Middleton himself sometimes works out of Outlet Coworking, a space in midtown – Folsom's offerings are much sparser.

Cherise Henry, the owner of the Folsom Lake branch of fitness company FIT4MOM and a freelance writer, alternates between working from home, working at coffee shops, and working out of coworking spaces in Sacramento. She is grateful for the shorter commute that Folsom Coworking will provide.

"Folsom is where I live work and play," she said via email. "Bringing the coworking lifestyle to Folsom is an exciting opportunity for freelancers and small business owners like myself. Having (a coworking) option here in Folsom is downright convenient for me and my family."

Aaron Rines, the CEO of recruiting company LINQM which just expanded its services to the Sacramento area, hopes to find a more open environment at Folsom Coworking. He currently rents space in an office building on Parkshore Drive. To him, the space "is very sectioned off. People keep to themselves."

As an alternative, Folsom Coworking promises collaboration.

"People need a place they can belong and develop, make a positive impact on their life, their community," said Kyle Middleton.

Research from the Global Coworking Survey projects that by the end of 2018, there will by 1.7 million people using coworking spaces. And according to a University of Michigan study, people who cowork report higher levels of "thriving", and coworking can reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness.

"We're reaching out to the community who doesn't want to be alone," Kyle Middleton said.

Amy Middleton, who home-schools all her children, likened coworking to her experience in the home-schooling community.

"Home-schoolers are the most on-their-own people, but when they get together it's amazing the talent and passion they can bring," she said.

To Amy Middleton, the same sort of phenomenon happens when people cowork. And others agree with her.

"[Coworking] is kind of the missing puzzle piece for a lot of creative individuals," said Kevin Akins, a user experience designer and consultant that has worked out of the free coworking space Cowo Campus in midtown Sacramento since it opened in April. "It brings creative individuals together."

According to Akins, that creativity helps workers succeed. For him, the fact that coworking is spreading to more suburban areas is a good sign. "To put a coworking spaces in these different census areas – I think it would be very ideal," he said. "These are the types of places we've been missing for a long time. It allows people to connect easier."

Folsom Coworking will be laid out to maximize interaction and connection. It will offer a cafe-style kitchen area for people to talk, places where workers can write questions for other members of the community to answer, and glass paneled offices to ensure that workers are not closed off from the rest of the space. There also will be private spaces for workers who need seclusion for tasks like taking phone calls, or meeting with large teams.

On Thursdays, Folsom Coworking plans to have a "Show and Tell," where workers can share projects, get feedback, and exchange advice and support.

"The whole space is designed for people to cross paths," said Kyle Middleton.

The soft opening of Folsom Coworking is set for Oct. 1. Kyle Middleton, who also runs a small insurance business, says that he is one of the potential customers.

"I will likely rent an office space," he said. "I want to be there, you know?"