Innovative workplaces Roam into retail
As companies continue to find ways to cut costs, for example by negotiating rental rates for offices, the concept of alternative work space that allows for coworking has become more appealing to large and small businesses alike. In fact, there has been a sharp rise in remote jobs over the last several years, with telecommuting job listings increasing 36 percent. Businesses with flexible scheduling and work-from-home opportunities no longer need to have a permanent office building for all of its employees. According to CEL & Associates, Inc., only 10 of the top 50 occupations with the most job openings require office space at all.
Coworking/shared workspaces are however, on the rise, accounting for 27 million square feet of all office space. These alternative work environments tend to include designated lounges, community tables, and areas designed to facilitate collaboration and creativity. The coworking environment prides itself on five key values: openness, accessibility, sustainability, collaboration, and community. The intent of these spaces is to create links between people, creating an innovation ecosystem on a micro level.
Roam, which opened in 2008, has innovative workplaces across the Atlanta area. It offers mobile workers and entrepreneurs a space to work productively, grow their business, and connect with a community of other like-minded visionaries and pioneers. Roam aims to break the mold of traditional conference rooms by providing unique solutions for hosting offsite meetings and breakout sessions. Roam is more than a place for someone to work remotely, it’s a “third place” offering chance encounters for entrepreneurs to collaborate.
This fall, Roam will open its fifth Atlanta location in Kimco’s Perimeter Expo shopping center, and we’re excited to see the integration of retail and office firsthand. This type of office space serves as a great alternative to traditional retail uses in shopping centers because it adds an attractive co-tenancy mix and creates increased foot traffic for existing tenants as office-goers will also frequent other businesses such as restaurants, shops, and health clubs throughout their day.
We spoke with Roam’s Director of Marketing, McCauley Williamson, about the concept behind Roam, its target customer, and the unique attributes of the Perimeter Expo location.
Tell us about Roam. How did the concept come to be?
McCauley Williamson: Interestingly enough, Roam was founded during the recession by a group of IBM employees who had been told to work remotely in an effort to help the company reduce costs. They quickly discovered that working from crowded coffee shops and distracting home offices was neither productive nor inspiring. As a result, Roam opened its doors in 2008 in Alpharetta, Georgia. Originally, the space operated as a public coffee shop with Wi-Fi and meeting rooms. Now, the vision for our innovative workplace has expanded to include dedicated offices. Perimeter Expo is our fifth workplace in the Atlanta area.
How does the membership work?
Williamson: Roam offers month-to-month coworking memberships. Members are able to choose one of our four membership levels that best suits their unique needs. One can join online or stop by one of our workplaces to sign up.
Who is your target “customer?”
Williamson: Roam is home to large and small businesses, both for-profit and non-profit companies.
What attracted you to Perimeter Expo?
Williamson: While we have a workplace servicing the Dunwoody area just off GA-400, we were drawn to the idea of attracting members from the Brookhaven and Chamblee communities as well as businesses along the I-285 corridor. Roam also benefits from the amenities a shopping center like Perimeter Expo offers.
Tell us about the amenities and services you offer.
Williamson: Each of our locations offer intentionally designed space for both independent and collaborative work. Our co-working memberships allow members to access all of our workplaces so that they can work where they want and when they want. Each workplace is equipped with Business Class Wi-Fi, a full-service café, and a variety of seating options. In addition, our memberships provide access to our online booking system and to Roam Virtual — a professional network and marketplace for our members. Additionally, Roam provides an all-inclusive meeting experience from complimentary tech amenities like A/V and HD display to on-site staff to address day-to-day meeting needs.
What will be unique about the Perimeter Expo location? When do you anticipate opening?
Williamson: Every Roam is unique. However, the Perimeter Expo location will be our most innovative workplace yet. We look forward to opening our doors this fall.
Follow Roam on Facebook for the latest in innovative workplaces and updates on Perimeter Expo location.
This has been an installment of StoreFront, an interview series with leaders of successful retail businesses. For more interviews, visit the StoreFront page. To learn how you can be featured, email us. We’d love to hear from you.