How Do Companies Compete In A Co-Working World? Coffee Shops, Fitness Classes And Beer on tap

By Melissa Repko
The Dallas Morning News

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) As the traditional 9 to 5 workday starts to die off and people work where and when they want, companies are trying to design workplaces where people can work, socialize and workout all under one roof.


Nick Clark started his co-working company in Dallas in 2012 by opening a hip office space with desks for rent in Deep Ellum.

But when he sought to expand recently, he looked to another kind of space, a local gym with black rubber floors, racks of hand weights and a loyal base of exercise enthusiasts.

Dallas-based Common Desk bought Social Mechanics, a boutique gym with a single location on Lower Greenville, about two weeks ago. Additionally, it bought an independent coffee shop in East Dallas in November and renamed it Fiction Coffee.

As the number of co-working spaces grows, companies like Common Desk and New York-based co-working giant WeWork are branching out into other businesses. The companies see ventures like retail or fitness as another way to make money, stand out from the competition and create a distinctive culture that hooks customers for the long-term.

Clark said Common Desk will add new coffee shops and fitness classes to buildings where its co-working spaces serve as an anchor. It is partnering with the owners of commercial real estate buildings to add the amenities, which can be used to attract and retain tenants.

He declined to disclose the acquisition prices.

Common Desk’s four locations are part of an increasingly crowded field of co-working spaces in North Texas that rent desks and private offices and offer perks like free snacks or local beer on tap.

In the Dallas-Fort Worth area, there is about 1.3 million square feet of co-working space, according to commercial real estate firm Cushman and Wakefield. That includes large national players like international office firm Regus’ Spaces and smaller companies, including some that cater to niches like artists, makers and early-stage startups.

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