SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — Remote employment. Virtual meetings. Combined business and leisure or “bleisure” travel. The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed how Americans work.
To meet this new reality, Workzones, a pioneering coworking space in downtown Santa Barbara, has scaled up its offerings to provide entrepreneurs, professionals and remote employees with comfortable, flexible, and customized work options. The expansion includes a vast new array of fully equipped private offices, meeting rooms, team rooms and conference facilities, as well as an open coworking area with access to a kitchen, printers, lightning-fast Wi-Fi, phone booths, and quality local coffee.
Meeting possibilities have expanded too. Workzones has set up “hybrid” meeting rooms with state-of-the-art video and teleconferencing technology, allowing individuals and companies to hold meetings with both in-person and remote attendees.
“Demand for this type of service has ballooned in the wake of the pandemic,” Workzones co-founder Pam Tanase said.
“The pandemic has brought about an evolution in terms of how people work and hold meetings, from in-person to online, to increasingly “hybrid” meetings where you have some people in the room, and some people online,” Tanase said. “To do that, you need to have the right technical equipment such as microphones, cameras and speakers, plus utilize one of the many online conferencing platforms with someone providing production support so everyone can participate equally and the meeting runs smoothly. We really see it as the wave of the future, so we’re positioning ourselves as a hybrid conference center.”
Tanase and three other Santa Barbara entrepreneurs – Kirk Peacock, Mike Franco and Lisa Riolo - founded Workzones in March 2012, after becoming frustrated with the limitations of working from home. They wanted to create an affordable, shared workspace where independent workers and business people could enjoy the amenities and social opportunities of an office environment, without fixed leases and high overhead. They soon realized that, in addition to the shared coworking areas and meeting rooms, many workers wanted access to private offices as well.
What began as a 5,000-square-foot facility has tripled in size to almost 15,000 square feet. With the latest expansion completed in April 2020, Workzones now boasts 34 private offices, multiple hybrid meeting rooms, board rooms, training rooms for groups of up to 75 people, and three team suites capable of accommodating the staff of a small company. Meeting rooms, offices, and coworking space are available for access at monthly rates, or on-demand by the hour or day.
With the remote work trend continuing in some form, even after the pandemic is over, Tanase and her colleagues believe the need for coworking facilities is here to stay. Another trend is “bleisure,” where workers and business owners relocate or travel to desirable locations like Santa Barbara so they can combine remote work with leisure activities.
Workzones is located at the Paseo Nuevo mall, inside a private, second-floor building. Workers enjoy the benefits of mall security, offering a safe environment for those who desire to work early or late. Current clients include lawyers, accountants, information technology professionals, tech and engineering firms, and a variety of remote workers for companies headquartered in different locations.
“We have a very professional yet friendly and supportive culture - the people here are focused on getting their work done which allows them a greater work-life balance and the ability to take advantage of all of the many reasons people want to live in Santa Barbara,” Tanase concluded. “You get to be part of a community, access to many business amenities, and because you don’t have to commit to a long-term lease, you can flex up and flex down depending on what’s happening with your business.”
For more information on Workzones, click here or call 805-966-3722.