STAY-AT-HOME CEOS: FINDING THE BALANCE IN TORONTO
Remember your commute this morning? Chances are that it was not amazing. What if you could cut that down to the time it takes to ride an elevator to the ground floor of your condo building? As Toronto’s tech and startup scene continues to grow in response to our collective desire for work-life-self directed career development that also continues to grow. Building a business from your computer is more than a pipe dream now; it’s a successful reality for thousands in Toronto and around Canada. If you’re sitting in your office right now under artificial lights in some, let’s face it, restrictive articles of clothing, imagining a career that constitutes your laptop, your couch, your cell phone and your sweatpants is likely close to nirvana. For small business owners making a go of things with a patchwork of on the fly business meetings, skype conferences, and coffee shop wifi surfing, not having an optional space can become a hassle. As businesses grow, it can even become a hindrance to credibility. Get Out, Creatively The market is responding, slowly. Shared workspaces have sprung up across Toronto to cater to the limited office needs of small business. Designed to be temporary, professional looking and flexible, shared office spaces give small businesses a risk free foothold in brick and mortar that would otherwise be too much of an investment. While an excellent option, shared spaces still require some commitment and expense, plus you have to go from where you live to that space. Isn’t that what we were trying to avoid back in nirvana? Fortunately, for those who want to maintain a higher sweatpant to slacks ratio and still meet with clients or business contacts, Toronto condo developers have your back. In response to the home based business explosion, developers are now designing buildings with professional level shared workspaces that residents are free to use. Rendering of the co-working space at the Peter and Adelaide condo development in Toronto Desks? Check. Boardrooms? Check. Printers, faxes, phone lines, AV equipment? All check. Get ready to go pro and look it. Right from your building. Embracing the Tech Revolution The Greater Toronto Area has been riding the waves of tech investment for a number of years, and communities in and around Toronto boasts a highly educated and tech savvy population. Friendly immigration policies and government investment in the tech sector have attracted a more high tech workforce, and interest from companies such as Google. The city is now seeing the possibilities of building infrastructure designed to attract and retain Silicon Valley expats. Canada has played a big role in tech advancement through the years, but mostly from the backseat, far from the “commercial gold rush” of California. The times, though, may be a-changing, which portends exciting new possibilities for Toronto’s entrepreneurial spirit. Including even more options to combine your favourite sweatpants with your power suit. I think it’s an amazing idea to promote working where you live, especially if those work spaces reflect the best parts of office-based careers. Condo buildings with purposeful repurposing of traditionally underused space could be just the ticket to push Toronto into cultural career destination. What do you think? Can we steal a piece of Silicon Valley’s technopreneur pie?