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Carlsbad Firms Create Collaborative Workspaces

Innovative companies often attract high-energy, creative employees who thrive in a collaborative environment. To attract and retain such talent some Carlsbad firms are breaking down the cubicle partitions and opening up the workspace to let ideas fly back and forth. 

Some firms have been using this concept for years. Now developers are creating spaces that promote collaboration, and companies that host transient workers are providing such space as well. 

“Today more than ever before, it’s important to create a work environment that people want to come to, and that’s consistent with the business’ culture and mission. For us, that means creating an environment that’s fun and energetic, and we’ve done just that,” said Danna Korn, co-founder and CEO of Sonic Boom Wellness, a Carlsbad firm that develops custom software to promote worksite wellness. “Our intergalactic headquarters screams our culture. 

“It was also important for us to create a collaborative workspace, because ours is a collaborative environment,” said Korn. “Rather than having cubicles where everyone is siloed, we have huge, open spaces so people can interact with one another. It promotes the cooperative, interdependence that makes us work efficiently with one another.” 

With the Pacific Ocean on our doorstep and trails interlacing the city, Carlsbad offers numerous opportunities for an active lifestyle. The city calls this Life in Action, because our natural environment encourages an active lifestyle that helps shape our professional lives. Many firms encourage their employees to take advantage of this natural setting because they believe that energy carries over into the workplace, raising the creative bar for everyone.

Cruzan is developing workspaces that address this changing work dynamic. The company recently converted the old Floral Trade Center warehouse on Avenida Encinas into a 175,000-square-foot multitenant campus called “make.” This complex features such amenities as outdoor showers for employees returning from the ocean, which is within walking distance, and racks to store their surfboards. It also offers a café, fitness center, locker rooms and horseshoe pit. 

“Up until now it’s been the Googles that can afford this type of creative office space,” said Jim Mandler, property manager at make. “Now we’re providing these amenities in a multitenant setting.” 

To encourage collaboration, make offers an outdoor amphitheater for group meetings, a breezeway with free Wi-Fi and communal seating, and private patios. 

GoPro, the video camera maker whose brand has become synonymous with an active lifestyle, will soon move into 45,000 square feet of space at make. 

“What we’ve built is a platform that companies can come in and convert into their unique space,” Mandler said. “GoPro is building a rooftop deck with an elevator and a mezzanine.”

These collaborative design features are being incorporated into office space that people rent daily, and even hourly. 

“I found there were a lot of home-based business owners who were looking to get out of the house and did not want to deplete their savings doing it,” said Bridget Ayers, founder and owner of Get Smart WorkSpaces on Loker Avenue East. “We wanted to give them a space that was more professional than a coffee house.” 

Ayers said she had spent years in a corporate setting and did not want to duplicate that. She runs a marketing company and her work team telecommutes. She saw that when she got them together the creative sparks began to fly, and she wanted to re-create that vibe for people who work independently. 

“We looked at some very successful companies and the environment they create, and the workforce is happy because of the space,” Ayers said. “Our space is set up so we have an open work area. We have couches, chairs, tons of snacks. And we will never run out of coffee.” She also provides meeting rooms and shared office space for people who want more privacy. 

Just as today’s workforce has changed with the times, today’s workplace bears little resemblance to the one of 50 years ago. And Carlsbad’s local businesses are out in front on this workplace revolution.

Christina Vincent, Economic Development Manager

Carlsbad Business Journal, Oct. 2015

October 5, 2015