When CapeSpace President Robbin Orbison was preparing to open her first coworking facility on Cape Cod in 2016, not many were familiar with the concept of shared office space.
Five years and a pandemic later that has changed as more businesses, nonprofits, entrepreneurs, and individuals are adopting coworking as a model for contemporary work culture. “The need for coworking has always been there,” said Orbison. “Not everyone is aware there is an affordable and highly flexible alternative for a professional workspace. We think awareness has been growing locally and this past year we’re seeing a new audience of recently remote workers who are projected to increase the demand for coworking outside of urban markets worldwide.”
As Orbison continues to educate the local market about the benefits CapeSpace offers, she and her staff are taking time this month to celebrate the Hyannis facility’s five-year anniversary on the Cape. They’re doing so virtually with Orbison and her staff – Hyannis Community Manager Anna Derbeneva-Costa and Mashpee Community Manager Haley Cote – talking about the occasion and reflecting on the past five years in this special video interview.
When CapeSpace first opened to the public, Bob Tranchell of Falmouth, HECM Senior Vice President at The Federal Savings Bank, was among the first to sign up for a membership. He has remained there to this day. “It gives me a place to go and find a quiet place to work outside my house,” he said. “It also gives me an opportunity to meet with my clients, whether in Hyannis or Mashpee, in a great environment.”
Shining Example of a Coworking Space
He complimented Orbison and her team for creating a flexible workspace that “has been tremendously well done, both from an aesthetic standpoint and a financial standpoint. They have been nothing but amiable and malleable to work with and continue to upgrade the space and make it better. It is a shining example of what a coworking space can be.”
For Dale Shadbegian, CEO of Cape & Plymouth Business, CapeSpace has been more than just a place for him to work the past five years. “It’s really a cornerstone of the community,” he said. “They are always helping their clients in more ways than you would expect from a coworking facility. They are very community-oriented and trying to connect professionals in the community together.”
CapeSpace offers working professionals access to private offices, meeting rooms, Zoom rooms, and comfortable workstations in its communal business lounge. Its office space is fully-furnished and well-appointed with business services that include high-speed internet from OpenCape, copy/print equipment, and barista coffee drinks with beans from Cape Cod Coffee. CapeSpace even provides a business mailing address. Membership is available on highly flexible terms, ranging from hourly to monthly.
Since its inception, CapeSpace has also been committed to hosting a wide range of community events that have been open to the public. These have included professional workshops focused on everything from mentoring young professionals to QuickBooks tips to building a marketing calendar to professional headshot photo shoots. CapeSpace has also held blood drives for the Cape Cod Healthcare Blood Mobile; holiday wreath making workshops; a community wellness expo, and more.
“I am so proud of the great community we have built here,” Orbison said. “Many of our clients have been with us since the beginning so they all know each other and even do business with each other. We also enjoy social events like potluck lunches and we’re so excited to start having these again now that COVID restrictions are easing up.”
Successfully Navigating the Pandemic
While raising awareness to coworking has been one of Orbison’s challenges since opening in June 2016, COVID-19 has been one of the biggest. Over the past year, Orbison invested significant time, money and resources into physically reshaping both her Hyannis and Mashpee Commons coworking facilities – that one opened in January 2020 – to keep her staff and members safe during the pandemic.
After having successfully navigated the difficulties and uncertainties of the past year, Orbison and her team are eager to celebrate all that they have accomplished since opening in 2016. While this year’s celebration will be more subdued, a larger party is being planned next summer.
In the meantime, Orbison is excited about what the future holds for coworking on Cape Cod. “We’ve shown that flexible office space is extremely valuable for remote workers as well as businesses and nonprofits of all sizes in our region,” said Orbison. “Our members achieve huge savings compared to the alternative of having to lease a brick-and-mortar office space while receiving the benefits of working in an inspiring setting where they can connect with other like-minded professionals on the Cape. That is something more individuals and business owners want, especially after all that happened during the pandemic.”