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Remote Work: How a communal workspace provides community for at-home workers in Indy

The Speakeasy provides a space for business owners and remote workers
The Speakeasy is a communal workspace providing more than just a place to work
The Speakeasy is a space for communal work and community
Remote workers can connect or work alone in this space
Posted at 4:30 AM, May 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-25 13:58:26-04

As more workplaces implement "back to work" protocols and procedures, many Hoosiers who moved to remote work due to the pandemic

may be faced with the opportunity to return to the office or continue their remote work.

Some businesses may even start offering the remote work option as a job perk.

WRTV is examining remote work from all angles as we continue to look at the opportunities and challenges with remote work for Hoosiers.

INDIANAPOLIS — We begin our journey at a communal workspace on Winthrop Avenue that got its start years before the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite having to close its doors for some months during 2020, the Speakeasy remains an integral part of the remote work community in Indianapolis.

The Speakeasy offers more than just space for laptops to charge, WiFi connections, and coffee.

The Speakeasy is a space for communal work and community
Jessica Ernsberger says a lot of magic happens over coffee and beer here.

"We are a community that happens to have a building," says Jessica Ernsberger, the Director of Operations. "I would say that there is so much magic that happens here over beer and coffee."

What started as a space for entrepreneurs to connect has flourished into a family of remote workers in Indianapolis.

The Speakeasy provides a space for business owners and remote workers
Members can move around the space and move furniture to suit their business needs.

The Speakeasy operates on affordable memberships and the golden rule that you leave the space better than you left it, but they allow for creativity and movement.

Chairs can be pulled up to tables, furniture can move around the space, printers are available, and the white noise allows for a work environment away from home distractions.

"We're a nonprofit place of gathering," says Ernsberger. "The goal here is really to create an ecosystem for entrepreneurs to flourish in. And what has been really beautiful over the years is seeing that it's not just for entrepreneurs but also for people that have the opportunity to work from home or remotely"

And The Speakeasy is breaking barriers for business owners. Meeting rooms are available for reservation and members can operate in this space at a low cost which can help startup businesses get their start.

Remote workers can connect or work alone in this space
Jessica Ernsberger catches up with fellow Speakeasy member over coffee.

"We really want to make sure that we are taking away the barriers to entrepreneurship but also to the at-home worker that still has an office at home but absolutely needs to get out and see people," says Ernsberger.

But as the pandemic hit in March 2020, The Speakeasy went silent as Ernsberger and others tried to figure out how to operate a communal workspace in a time when working as a community was off-limits.

Instead, they opened up a GoFundMe to survive the shutdown, and thanks to generous donors, space is still going strong today.

"What does the entrepreneur need? What does the individual remote worker need and then we work around that," says Ernsberger, who expects membership to pick up again as we move on from this pandemic and more workers get the opportunity to remain remote.

"It's going to be very interesting to see the landscape of Indianapolis change," says Ernsberger. "And we are hoping to kind of catch some of those companies. We want to be here for people who want to be in this kind of space."

The Speakeasy is a communal workspace providing more than just a place to work
Jessica Ernsberger is the Director of Operations for The Speakeasy, a nonprofit communal work space in Indy.

The Speakeasy is ready to be home to new Hoosiers who relocated to the state. Even before the pandemic, the space hosted several meet-ups for people who are new to the area or returning to the area after time away.

Ernsberger says she wouldn't be surprised to see more remote workers make the move to Indiana for its family-friendliness and affordability.

"Well, I think anyone in Indiana would say you can afford to live here. You can have a yard with a dog and a house," she says. "There's a special part of the culture in Indiana of people that are inviting, they want to be your friend."

Visit The Speakeasy's website to learn more and find out how to become a member.

Stay tuned to WRTV all week long as we continue to highlight opportunities for remote workers.

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