Dawn Jurkovich had known little about co-working when she started her hunt for Woodbury office spaces earlier this year.
The concept took root more than a decade ago, eschewing the traditional "executive suite" office setup in favor of spaces that combine private offices and communal workspaces.
A former partner at a downtown Minneapolis financial firm, Jurkovich sought a different growth direction and helped found Releve, a new wealth management firm, earlier this year.
Her decision to branch out, however, came before she secured an office space.
She knew only that she wanted space that fostered an invigorating environment, and it had to be in Woodbury, where most of her clients are based.
She eventually found The Reserve, a co-working space that opened its doors here in February.
"I thought I was coming in just to lease space, but it's so much more than leasing space," she said. "It's a community, it's a network, it's like-minded individuals coming together. A lot of people here are inspiring and we all think the same way of wanting to continue to grow our businesses."
The 11,000 square-foot shared workspace offers tenants options ranging from mailboxes and use of the site's shared work area to dedicated desks, private offices and numerous meeting rooms to rent.
Clients can opt for unlimited or part-time memberships and other features like mailboxes and virtual access.
The space currently serves a variety of professionals and entrepreneurs, including web developers, researchers, attorneys and consultants.
The Reserve offers members the ability to work at both its Woodbury location and Edina location. About 35 percent of the office spaces at both locations have been rented, with just under 200 people holding memberships.
Mary Bartlett, chief operations officer at The Reserve, said space reflects a growing trend of employees working outside conventional office settings.
"People are requesting that their workspace is flexible enough to change based upon the nature of the work they're trying to do," she said. "If you take four walls and an office, that's your space and that's all you have. You don't have that flexibility to be able to move about."
Citing a 2016 study by Emergent Research, Bartlett said there are about 11,000 co-working sites worldwide.
That number is expected to reach 26,000 by 2020.
As the industry grows, so does the scope of co-working options.
Artists and IT professionals can find niche spaces dedicated to their field. People who thrive in busy settings can find more social co-working spaces, while other sites cater to people who prefer a more subdued setting.
"If you want that very quiet, very professional, personal environment, you can find that," Bartlett said. "If you want something that's much more energetic, very urban, you can find that."
Bartlett said The Reserve offers a balance between the two by offering quieter, more private spaces alongside common areas to collaborate with one another.
She estimates that about one-third of the tenants do business with one another.
"That's one of the key reasons why people want to stay," she said. "That's one of the experiences you can't get elsewhere, you do create this really vibrant, robust community of like-minded people."
Bartlett described The Reserve as an "incubation" site for start-up companies.
Tenants have access to a wealth of web development, marketing and IT resources offered on-site.
The space also offers month-to-month leases, the type of flexibility Bartlett said is key for fledgling companies.
"These small businesses start co-working, then they get an office for a couple people, and they trade up for a bigger office, then they fly the nest," she said. "Initially, as an entrepreneur or startup, real estate is a really big cost for people, especially when you don't know your viability as a company."
Jurkovich said flexibility co-working offers allows her to take on more clients from the west metro at the Edina office.
Although she spends more of her working hours in her office with clients, Jurkovich said she enjoys the options co-working provides.
"The flexibility of the mobile office is super efficient," she said. "In today's world, all my people don't need to be under the same brick and mortar building because of the technology available."