During her 12 years working for a leading technology company, Lise Snelgrove noticed how drastically the workplace was changing thanks to advancements in mobile technology, and found a way to make it drastically more efficient.
The team she worked with all lived within a kilometer of each other, yet each morning they would all get into their cars, fight through the congested Toronto street and pay for parking, just to sit down with their neighbours in a different setting.
Ms. Snelgrove, however, realized that she could conduct the same meetings with the same people in a more convenient and affordable space, so long as they all had their mobile devices on hand. At the same time, the increase in mobile workers at her company left many desks and boardrooms empty for much of time.
Last year Ms. Snelgrove decided to leave her corporate position in order to found her own business, This Space Works, an AirBnB-style rental company that allows companies, non-profits, schools, event venues and even art galleries and museums to rent out their excess space for meetings or other business purposes.
“Spaces like boardrooms or empty offices are consuming energy and costing money, even when they’re not being used,” said Ms. Snelgrove. “People are more mobile now, and we’re finding that more and more offices have empty spaces that are available.”
Not only does the service provide affordable space for renters and additional revenue for owners, Ms. Snelgrove explains that businesses are also able to promote themselves by having visitors from outside their organization pass through.
“Even an event space, Tuesday morning it’s just sitting there costing them money and not earning them anything,” she said. “Someone can conduct a meeting in there who might know somebody that’s getting married, so its a great way to network and get the word out about what you do.”
Ms. Snelgrove even uses her own product, which allows her to run her lean five-person microbusiness with minimal overhead. She worked with Rogers to find the right mix of devices and plans and now she relies on them to run her business.
“We have access to all of our contracts, any information, we never have to say ‘we’ll get back to you later,’ we always have the data close by on our mobile devices,” she said. “Because the best business is unplanned, you need to be ready for it.”
With space available for rent in Toronto and Ottawa, and with plans to move the company across Canada and beyond, Ms. Snelgrove is confident knowing that she can take This Space Works anywhere her mobile devices can go.
“We just need to be able to do what we need to do on the road without limits,” she said. “Between a phone and an iPad we can do everything, because we’ve set our company up in the cloud to be accessible from anywhere at any time. Location is not an issue for us.”