Two major events in the past 30 years have drastically affected the way we get information, communicate, and conduct business: the dawn of the internet in the 1990s and the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. While starkly different, both events drove a stream of technological innovations and connected us virtually in ways we never had been before — and opened the door to alternative ways of working, including coworking spaces.
The concept of coworking can be traced back to 1995 in Berlin, when 17 computer engineers began working together in a “hackerspace” called c-base. It was the dawn of the internet age, and the group wanted a not-for-profit location where they could work together; it allowed them to share ideas and equipment while collaborating with others in their field.
Today, the post-pandemic work culture allows greater flexibility than ever. Many who were forced to work remotely during periods of quarantine are opting to continue doing remote work or adopting a hybrid model.
In 2018, Life Time Work opened its first premium coworking space in Ardmore, Pa. It was the first of its kind: a premium coworking experience that integrates work and health through wellness amenities and one membership that provides access to both the Life Time Work coworking spaces and Life Time health clubs.
There are now seven Life Time Work locations across the United States, and it is continuing to grow quickly with three more locations planned by 2022.
The work-health integration offered at Life Time Work is valued by its coworking members — and for good reason. According to the Harvard Business Review, incorporating regular exercise into your work routine provides numerous proven cognitive benefits, including improved focus and concentration, sharper memory, enhanced creativity and problem-solving abilities, faster learning, prolonged mental stamina, and lower stress.
If you’re considering coworking as part of your post-pandemic worklife, you may have some questions about what that could look like. We invited six members from our Life Time Work communities to share how they use the space and how it influences their health and productivity.
Susan Haugen, partner at Scouts Talent
Open Resident member at Life Time Work West End in St. Louis Park, Minn.
Susan Haugen has nearly 25 years of experience in the finance industry and is currently a partner at Scouts Talent, a talent agency that provides on-demand finance and accounting consultants to support its clients’ business goals.
“My team has always used coworking spaces to meet our professional needs and keep our overhead costs low,” Haugen says. “The fit and finish of Life Time Work aligns very well with our brand, and we joined as soon as this location opened in March 2019.”
Each of Haugen’s team members holds an Open Resident membership at Life Time Work, providing them with dedicated sit-to-stand Herman Miller desks with secure storage. Haugen says the value of standing desks and access to filtered drinking water are wellness-focused aspects of the membership that her team appreciates in addition to the Life Time health club.
Beyond the dedicated desks, Haugen’s Open Resident membership allows her team members the flexibility to move around and use additional features of the workspace throughout the day.
“We use all of the spaces,” Haugen says. “We’ll make confidential phone calls in the private phone booths, concentrate on our important projects in the quiet-focus areas, conduct candidate interviews in the airy, open areas, and book the state-of-the-art conference rooms for professional meetings. There are so many places we can be productive.”
Matthew Bagell and Scott Shaw, managing partners at BASH Capital
Office Resident members at Life Time Work Ardmore in Ardmore, Pa.
Matthew Bagell and Scott Shaw met at Life Time Work Ardmore as Lounge members in 2019. While working near one another in the lounge space, they gained mutual respect for each other’s client relations, deep expertise, and knowledge of investments and the financial industry.
After a few weeks of socializing in the workspace, they realized that not only were their skill sets complementary — they also had a lot in common.
“We always found ourselves talking about investments and the financial industry and, most importantly, about ourselves, the care we have for our clients, and the love we have for our families,” says Shaw. “We immediately identified the endless advantages of working together, and our discussions pivoted into business planning and development.”
Combining their three decades of experience — and their last names — they launched BASH Capital, a financial advisory firm, in September 2020. Unlike other financial advisory firms that use a financial planner to manage both the relationship and the assets, BASH Capital brings the analyst, a CFA charterholder, to the table for a more complete asset management service model. The firm specializes in delivering comprehensive financial planning and investment analysis to individuals, families, businesses, foundations, endowments, and trusts.
Bagell and Shaw first switched their memberships to an Open Resident level to work at dedicated desk spaces next to one another. Then, as they began to grow their team, they upgraded to a dedicated and secure Office Resident space.
Now a team of seven, BASH Capital is thriving at Life Time Work, and their team collaborates in their space throughout the day. “We now manage $500 million in assets under management, resulting from our hard work, dedication, and experience — but also from meeting new people at work,” says Shaw. “Each employee at BASH Capital is encouraged to take full advantage of what Life Time has to offer. We often exercise together at the health club, followed by enjoying protein shakes in the LifeCafe®.”
Bagell adds, “We are grateful for the opportunity this workspace provides us. Having spent more than 15 years in less inspiring corporate office spaces, Life Time Work has added so much joy and pleasure in coming to work. It feels more like living our lives and getting our work done.”
Michael Stoeger, global account manager at Fortinet
Founding Lounge member at Life Time Work City Centre Five in Houston, Texas.
Michael Stoeger has spent his entire 25-year career in cyber solutions and network security. He works as part of a team of 15, who do not have a local Fortinet office and all work remotely.
As a member of the Life Time City Centre health club, he was intrigued when he learned Life Time would be opening a coworking space across from the club location; he signed on as a founding Lounge member of Life Time Work several months prior to its opening.
“I checked on alternatives in the area, but I felt Life Time Work was by far the best value,” Stoeger says. “It was an easy decision based on the quality, price, and flexibility, and it tied in the health club with one single membership for both spaces.”
Stoeger continued his Life Time Work membership throughout the 2020 pandemic. He says he appreciated the separation it provided between his work and home life, and that the Life Time Work amenities, such as fast Wi-Fi and printing capabilities, continue to make it easy for him to work effectively.
“That was not always the case at my home office,” Stoeger says. “As Zoom meetings became the order of the day, I had trouble with consistent Wi-Fi for my meetings. That’s why perfect internet service is so valuable, and at Life Time Work, it’s bulletproof.”
While initially he had missed the shared mission and collaboration of the office environment from his previous jobs, he believes the community, organized social events, and networking connections that naturally occur in the open lounge space at Life Time Work make up for it.
“I’ve actually made some really close friends at Life Time Work,” Stoeger says. “And seeing how hard everyone works there is motivational. I didn’t really expect that.”
Jocelyn Kerr, owner, writer, and editor at GetGhostWriting.com
Lounge member at Life Time Work City Centre Five in Houston, Texas.
Jocelyn Kerr wasn’t looking for a coworking space when she discovered Life Time Work. She was searching for a health club membership.
“Finding Life Time Work was a bonus in my hunt for a new gym,” says Kerr. “I wanted to create some space between home and work. The minute I took a tour of the workspace, I knew it would be conducive to creative work.” And the health club membership she’d originally been searching for was included.
Kerr joined Life Time Work in June 2021 after working remotely for more than a decade as a freelance writer and editor for her company GetGhostwriting.com. Along with a team of subcontractors, she provides content strategy, copywriting, and content production for mid- to large-sized companies and marketing agencies.
During the pandemic, Kerr worked almost exclusively from her home office, and she began finding it difficult to create division between home and work. She also missed having in-person interactions with friends and coworkers.
“I use the space to create much-needed separation between my work life and home,” she says. “Now when I leave Life Time Work, I turn off my laptop, and it doesn’t get turned on again until I return the next day. That’s helped a lot with creating downtime with my family, and I’m more productive at work. I say all the time I’ve gotten more done in less time since joining than I have in the entire previous year — not an exaggeration.”
Kerr also has been happy with her ability to stay on track with her health goals by using the Life Time health club. “Since it’s right next to the office, I’ve found I work out more than I expected, and I actually enjoy coming in early to Life Time Work after working out or going there over lunch,” she says. “It can’t be overstated how useful it is to have access to both the club and the Life Time Work space.”
Ary Nojowintono, project engineer at CAPE Holland
Open Resident member at Life Time Work City Centre Five in Houston, Texas.
Ary Nojowintono joined Life Time Work as an Open Resident member in January 2021 after starting a new job as a project manager with CAPE Holland, which manufactures, sells, and offers a rental fleet of piling equipment to the onshore and offshore markets worldwide.
CAPE Holland began using Life Time Work to support its U.S. business unit in August 2019. It was a benefit that Nojowintono was excited about after more than 14 years of working in corporate offices, from home, and in other remote workspaces within the oil and gas industry.
“The Life Time Work space is located in the Houston energy corridor and has a great environment,” says Nojowintono. “The management team truly knows how to make you feel comfortable and welcome, and the environment is dynamic. The fact that you have full access to the Life Time health club says it all — there is nothing that beats that. Every single thing within Life Time is top-notch.”
Nojowintono also appreciates the diversity in the workspace between people from different cultures and companies. He moved to the United States in 2017 from the Netherlands and has previously lived and worked in Angola and Mexico as well.
“Life Time Work has seriously thought of every aspect for great performance,” says Nojowintono. “I can work with full concentration and privacy for my daily routine — plus, there are enough amenities for focusing, socializing, and even to de-stress.”