York Region is bustling with innovative entrepreneurs, remote workers and freelancers who are making waves for the local economy. While they come from a range of experiences and backgrounds, most share one common quality: they’re used to working alone. After all, you don’t need a physical infrastructure to run a business. And while these hustlers have the flexibility to work from home, or from local restaurants, coffee shops, airports and hotel lobbies, there’s no disguising the fact that working for yourself can be an isolating act.
But it doesn’t have to be.
Newmarket has become the launching pad for two dynamic, yet diverse, co-working spaces that are changing the landscape of remote work.
LAUFT opened its doors at Upper Canada Mall this past December. The globally-driven brand is dedicated to making smart work by creating flexible workspaces where local entrepreneurs and freelancers can maximize their efficiencies and their time.
“Having an office or one location you’re tied to doesn’t play into the world we live in today,” explains LAUFT CEO and Co-Founder Graham Wong. “What’s great about the co-working space is it allows people to be in an environment where they can interact with different people and be collaborative if they want. They can have that professionalism without having to invest in infrastructure; it’s more cost-effective.”
The LAUFT focuses on the functionality and utility of a workspace—right down to the desk you’re working from, which is designed with an integrated locker that will keep your belongings safe while you do some shopping or grab a bite to eat. There are no memberships or contracts. You can rent by the hour, or by the day. Simply download the app, add your credit card information, and reserve a desk, meeting room or workshop space on demand.
“It’s just like Uber,” Wong says, as he shares the brand vision for launching LAUFT in airports, conference centres and other retail locations around the world. “You find the closest LAUFT, and get to work.” He and his business partner are currently rolling out locations in Ottawa and Kingston, with plans for a Toronto site soon.
“Creating innovative spaces and ideas is extremely important to us,” says Francesco Martire, principal with Large [Medium] Design Office Inc. and the architect hired to design the Newmarket space. “Our alliance with LAUFT has given us an opportunity to explore new avenues in not just the working environment but also how we work.”
HER Place is another co-working space new to the area. Founder Andrea Wetzel wanted to create a place where women can inspire and empower one another, while simultaneously growing their businesses. “As entrepreneurs, and especially as women, there are a lot of hurdles you have to get over,” says Wetzel. “But if you have a tribe behind you, then you feel like you can do anything.”
When you walk in the doors of the building located on Queen Street in Newmarket, it’s clear this is not just another co-working space; it’s a community. “Here, you can come in and organically meet people,” Wetzel explains. “Even if you meet someone and their services aren’t something you can use, you take their card and keep them in mind in case a sister or a friend could benefit. You start to build their business as well as your own.”
HER Place offers individual offices, shared desks, boardrooms and workshop spaces.
“There’s something special here, the energy is amazing,” says Amanda Gould, HER Place member and workshop host, and creator of The Body Love Collective. “I feel like I have a space where I can follow my calling and what’s inside my heart.”
While the space is rented daily by female entrepreneurs, freelancers and side-hustlers, male clients and co-workers are welcome, too. “There’s no sign on the door that says ‘no boys allowed,’” Wetzel says.
If you’re looking to take a break from your work, HER Place also offers a wide-range of dynamic workshops where you can learn something new and connect with like-minded people. “We have everything from mala making to calligraphy classes to a lot of money workshops,” says Wetzel. Try out a workshop or drop in for a tour, held daily at 11am.
When you have a flexible working environment, you can shift your investment from infrastructure to ideas. Pair that with a community of like-minded hustlers who share your ambition and drive for success, and the possibilities for growth and innovation are truly limitless.