Staying at home to work full time is not always productive for professionals, but the health and safety of employees is a risk employers need to mitigate at all costs. The solution? A coworking space or private office that makes health and safety a priority for workers and is within a short driving distance of their homes.
We interviewed three of HAYVN’s members – Alexis Brooks, Kim Barron and Rachel Walsh – about their experience transitioning from home to coworking space and private offices, pre- and post-pandemic. These interviews nicely illuminate the benefits of adopting a coworking lifestyle for those sitting on the fence about making the move.
Here are some of the highlights from our interviews…
Q1. Why did you choose to co-work vs. working from home?
“I find that if you need to bounce an idea off of somebody–there’s people there for that… When I need quiet, I go into my private office.”
“I was looking for a place out of the house where I could meet with clients without distraction and make them feel comfortable. I also needed a way to take care of the mail, make sure that there’s paper in the printer, that the shredder is working. These amenities would otherwise fall on me unless I had a secretary. This gives me more time to focus on my clients.”
“I do a lot of my work from home, but there are times when I need fewer distractions and HAYVN fits the bill. I’m also a problem-solver and HAYVN offers my real estate buyers who are moving to the suburbs an optional and professional place to work. Many buyers think they need to max out their budget to enable them to get one or two work-from-home areas, but HAYVN will save them money and their sanity.”
Q2. Who are your customers? How does HAYVN help you serve them?
“I do work for large corporations; nonprofits; colleges and universities; mid-sized businesses; and entrepreneurs, single individuals, small businesses… [HAYVN] feels professional for all. It’s a lovely space- bright, modern, and clean – where I can host meetings with confidence.”
“I’m an attorney and my clients are all small businesses and some are very small – they’re in the idea stage still and trying to figure out whether to form. Others have been in operation for years with a small team. They want to formalize their services. Joining HAYVN has expedited my practice and I’ve developed a pretty good client list… There is a deep well of resources, too.”
“I’m a Realtor with Compass and the hyper-local agents who are at HAYVN provide real estate services in Darien, New Canaan, Rowayton, and beyond. HAYVN offers us not only a place to work, but also a place to hold or host office meetings, a place to meet our clients, a place to network, and a place to simply see each other.”
Q3. Why HAYVN?
“I worked with Felicia previously and was there from HAYVN’s inception of the idea to today. I did all the initial branding work… and I have watched her grow as she built-out the space and built the community. It was a natural decision for me to move in.”
“Joining HAYVN provided a space where I can think a little bigger and bounce my ideas off peers to see if there’s a fit – how will this help me expedite my own professional development and develop my client base?”
During the lockdown, “There was a place that you could go in the absence of a place to go, as HAYVN was able to pivot and use their digital network [to keep us all connected]. HAYVN online provided a forum to exchange timely information. For example, during a HAYVN Halftime, I presented the federal legislation that was passed this Spring on emergency medical leave and the obligations of small employers. And I helped moderate a webinar on business interruption insurance. I also joined in on many online events, some of which focused on ways to manage your small business during this pandemic and others were a welcome, stress-relieving distraction, such as a webinar on meditation and also a virtual wine tasting tour of Italy.”
“When my colleagues and I checked out HAYVN as temporary office space for Compass, we were drawn to how much the facility and the location offers. No matter what field one is in, HAYVN can provide a shared or private office environment that works for the individual or company. They employ welcoming and helpful people who are there to make your day as good as it can be.”
Q4. Tell me a little about the people you have met at HAYVN.
“There’s such a variety of amazing people with different backgrounds and experiences! It’s so diverse. I’m always learning new things that are interesting.”
“I’ve met a lot of different types of people at HAYVN… It’s nice to know that there is somebody you can go to for marketing, insurance needs, investment advising, or for social media writing and website development… When you’re in an environment like HAYVN you have this ready-made resource depth. It’s an amazing network.”
Q5. What is it like to work there? Tell us about your experience.
KIM BARRON, Designer at New Leaf Graphic Design
“There’s so much that goes on at HAYVN in terms of programming. Things to attend and events to be a part of… You can do it all and you could do none of it. Sometimes I’m a part of certain groups that meet there. We met digitally but now, we are starting to meet for coffee – safely.”
“I started with a floating desk membership. I would come in but keep all my files in my home office. When I needed to meet with a client I would use a conference room and then, in between meetings or conference calls, I would set up at one of the communal tables to catch up on my email and talk with people. It was a really engaging environment… Very quickly, I liked being there. Within a couple of months, I moved into my own office. Separating and compartmentalizing my life a little bit was so valuable. It became very advantageous to me to focus on work at HAYVN, so when I go home, I’m focusing on family” An added bonus is once a week or so a lovely Scottish chef will take lunch or dinner orders and deliver them to HAYVN. It’s a relief to use this service especially for those who want to focus on work but also need to put a healthy dinner on the table – fast.
“HAYVN is only five minutes from my home in New Canaan, and that is key to my happiness. I don’t waste time commuting when I work in a hyper-local field. The parking is easy, the building is spotless, there is a gym on-site and fresh coffee and snacks at HAYVN. They even have lunch delivered by a local chef, to order. I also believe that as we all continue with an alternate work environment throughout this pandemic, people will need a place like HAYVN and those we talk to on the phone or on Zoom calls will grow tired of home interruptions.”
Q6. What are the benefits of working at HAYVN?
“I’d say it’s the connections with other people. It’s sort of baked in and once you’re there, you’re a part of the HAYVN community. It’s just great for business. With a little effort, you’re meeting people that you would never have otherwise met.”
“It’s very helpful to have the community managers on-site and accessible. It’s a full package, full-service type of place and it allows me to walk in and think about work. It’s a very positive feeling when I can get right down to work. I just focus on my client’s needs and the projects that I have on my plate. Then, I close my door when I need to leave.”
“HAYVN solves all sorts of problems. As Realtors, we love the convenience of it. Clients like meeting us there and it’s close to I-95 north and south and only a couple of minutes from the train station. The vibe is great, plus HAYVN offers all sorts of training and classes that make the membership there very valuable to us all. And, now that New Yorkers have accelerated their move to the suburbs, we will have a lot more working professionals who will need the quiet space that a place like HAYVN offers.”
Q7. How do you personally keep safe in the co-working environment? How has HAYVN made things safe for you?
“They (HAYVN) put out a survey to better understand the concerns of members and their comfort level with steps that they could take to make members feel safe on the premises. . HAYVN has put guidelines into place based on that feedback and CDC and local government guidelines. The members all want to do the right thing, too. There’s a healthy protocol published that you are expected to follow. You wear a mask. The common spaces have plenty of hand sanitizer available. Common workspaces have less density, plexiglass is up, etc. There is a protocol for when somebody gets sick or is exposed to someone with the virus. It’s very by the book and the premises are absolutely pristine.
“I was filled with trepidation, but I also wanted to get out in the world again. We have to, but we have to do it in a really smart way. Felicia and the team have made the space safe in every way they were required to, but also in many ways that they wanted to help everybody feel better. There are fewer desk spaces available with plexiglass between them, fewer chairs in the conference rooms. There are hand sanitizer stations around the facility and sprays, masks, and such available in the lobby for us to use. Everybody is working with care and consciousness.”
Based on these interviews with Kim, Alexis, and Rachel, when you break it down, the main benefits of coworking at HAYVN are:
Cost is still a primary reason why coworking has become appealing in the last 5 years. It has gained popularity among companies looking for a conducive office space but are conscious of spending more than necessary on fixing spaces or building infrastructure and fundamental amenities.
For those moving to the suburbs from the big city for health and safety reasons, remodeling or adding a section at home may be a huge inconvenience and may tie up additional investment than is actually needed. The coworking option gives everyone the opportunity to enjoy a professional office environment at a fraction of the cost to renovate a section of the house or a spare room (if there is any).
Convenience. The flexibility and mobility of workers are also one of the top considerations of business owners and chief executives. Being tied to complicated contract negotiations and dealing with brokers, landlords, and property managers has now become optional for companies wanting to scale up or down their operations, as needed. Time allocated for employees’ daily commute is also reduced– the nearest coworking space could be anywhere from 10-15 minutes away versus the 45 minutes to 1.5 hours it takes to commute into NYC from Fairfield County
Community Experience. Business is about building relationships. A coworking space opens up tremendous growth opportunities, business ideas, collaborations, and a whole treasure trove of community development opportunities for its members and patrons. Equal opportunity, inclusivity and diversity thrive where people connect, even during a period of social distancing.
Health and Safety. Today, entrepreneurs and solopreneurs need a place that has done a thorough job of cleaning the facility and providing social distancing. HAYVN has gone beyond the Connecticut state requirements to provide a safe place to come to work.
HAYVN is more than just a coworking space. It’s a community of collaborative, diverse and innovative individuals who benefit from the open-minded, creative and safe space that HAYVN provides. HAYVN is a place to grow!
HAVYN is located in Darien, CT. This local coworking space has grown in one year to a thriving community under the leadership of founder, Felicia Rubinstein. The elegant, yet relaxed decor in a light-filled and modern setting is powered by informative, women-focused – but men-friendly – professional and networking programs. There are 20 private offices and 16 coworking desks. If this sounds like a place you’d like to work from, drop HAYVN a line or call (833) 429-8659 to arrange a private tour.
Founded in 2018, HAYVN is a flexible workspace for enterprising women (and men) to connect, create and grow. Along with a vibrant & engaged coworking community of entrepreneurs, HAYVN is a business HUB, offering short- and long-term office space leases, meeting rooms rentals, and events to support local businesses. Visit our beautiful safe ‘HAYVN’ at 320 Boston Post Road, Darien, CT, 06820.