CoWorking with Wisdom, a coworking space that promotes a balance between working and life, opened at Dharma College in Downtown Berkeley on July 2.
The company will host a grand opening party in September and will introduce a “full suite of services,” according to Director of Business Development Curtis Carter. The center’s concept is based on creating a place where people can not only work but can also achieve balance in their lives through meditation and yoga.
Wangmo Dixey, executive director of Dharma College and president of the International Buddhist Association of America, conceived the idea of a collaborative workspace in early 2018, according to Carter. The “genesis” of the workspace came from Dixey’s experience in meditation, which Carter said Dixey was looking to incorporate into a place where people can work in the college’s extra space.
“A lot of people like to incorporate meditation but find it hard when you are working numerous hours and got to go to the meditation studio,” Carter said. “A meditation studio across the hall from where you work makes it a lot easier to incorporate.”
The model for community workspaces is fairly consistent throughout the market, starting with providing desk space and other amenities such as coffee, according to Carter.
Coworking With Wisdom offers a variety of services to customers, with member fees of $300 to $400 monthly. These services include indoor bicycle storage, wireless internet, mailing services, a community kitchen and meditation classes, among other services, Carter said. Members can also opt to work in open work areas, at a dedicated desk or in a private office, and they can reserve conference rooms, Carter added.
Iris Kavanagh, community manager at NextSpace — another coworking business in Berkeley — said the future for coworking environments is already here. Kavanagh cites the “loneliness epidemic” as a driving force in the coworking movement, which aims to bring people out of isolation from working alone.
“We hold a unique and essential responsibility of connecting people more deeply and (give them) more opportunities to enhance their lives,” Kavanagh said. “It is not just about selling office space and desks.”
Coworking spaces provide modified workspaces that can be tailored toward specific minority populations of the workplace, Carter said.
Kavanagh agrees that the movement for coworking spaces has allowed more parents to continue working. Kavanagh runs a global organization called Women Who Cowork that encourages women to operate and participate in community workspaces.
According to Carter, the center’s main clientele consists of Berkeley postdoctorates, startup companies and individual consultants.
“In future education, instead of working in a traditional classroom setting, students might work in a building or educational facility that looks similar to a coworking situation,” Carter said.