With remote work gaining and maintaining in popularity, coworking spaces are increasingly found in rural America. 

Alison Denbigh, the owner of two coworking spaces – Staunton Hub and soon, Harrisonburg Innovation Hub, in Virginia, believes in the power of coworking in rural communities. .  

“All of those concepts have always been in big cities and high-population areas,” she said. “And we wanted to find a way to make that concept work in a rural area. And there’s different ways to go about doing it. And the most important thing, and the reason why we’re different from the …bigger city areas, is that we truly do community building.”

That includes happy hours and connecting people to community resources to help grow and build their businesses. Company owners and remote workers meet each other and realize their expertise could be utilized by each other, she added. 

“That’s what makes us unique as a rural community, to be able to have an innovation hub, I think, in order for our rural areas to successfully pull off that concept. You really have to get buy in from your community,” she said. 

In Roseburg, Oregon, Glen Simpson, who owns a graphic design studio called Seven13, has opened up his facilities for remote workers, small businesses and digital nomads.  

“We’ve always had kind of an open invite for any creative individuals or businesses or friends to come utilize our space,” he told the Daily Yonder. 

In 2015, the team moved to its current office. With “that same kind of concept where we had room and that kind of made sense to have extra people in here and allow workspaces and also kind of create a little bit of synergy and communal feel within the office. And we’ve had a few different people in here, from time to time working,” he said.

Simpson said because of the rural nature, it’s not possible to offer memberships by the day or hour, and instead it’s by the month. 

“So the way we work is we do monthly memberships,” he said. “And so everybody that is in the space is usually here for a long, longer period of time. And so we’ve had a lot of co-workspace members that stay for many months to even a couple years.”

One benefit, Simpson said, is that it allows small businesses a place to operate without the large overhead costs of their own location. 

“So in that aspect, it’s a good first start for a lot of business owners,” he added. “There’s also the remote workers as well. That is a big appeal where you can now work from home all the time or a coffee shop, and you have a place to go every day and other people are in there working as well. And it creates a little family atmosphere.”

The coworking space will have events or celebrate birthdays to add to the atmosphere, he said. 

Tony Drill is one community member who turned to Seven13 for community. 

“I worked remote and wanted to find a local place to join and be part of the community.  Get out of the house,” he told the Daily Yonder, adding he formed great friendships and bonds. “It creates more of a community and also resources and connections for all of us.” 

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