This story and video are part of our Investor Insights series, a regular feature showcasing how YES! Winnipeg investors innovate in the face of challenges and work to grow Winnipeg's economy. Throughout the pandemic, all interviews were conducted socially distanced and observed provincial health orders around COVID-19.
What will the future of work look like? If you ask Jason Abbott, Founder and CEO of Launch, a co-working and on-demand office space, the options are wide-open.
"We're home to over 200 members from a variety of different industries. From startups to professionals to multi-national corporations and not-for-profit organizations...The common theme across all of them is that they are looking for a predictable place to work, meet, connect and collaborate," says Abbott.
WATCH: Our Investor Insights video with Launch Coworking Space
Launch is accessible 24-7, offering a space where people can have dedicated desks or private offices, collaborate with teammates at a whiteboard or host strategic sessions in meeting rooms. The space is adaptable to the needs of each business. There are currently three Launch locations in Winnipeg, with the Exchange District location opening right before the pandemic hit. Like many businesses, the pandemic was disruptive to Launch, but it also presented new opportunities.
'Pre-pandemic, 80 per cent of our members were in the category of small to medium enterprise, a few multinationals, but as we come out of the pandemic and employers start to enable their employees to work remotely, I think we will see significant demand from enterprise-related employers giving their employees the flexibility to work from wherever, whenever."
Abbott points to a shift among global and national tech companies like Twitter and Shopify which decided to use remote workers as their primary workforce. Here in Manitoba, he notes flexible office space has literally been the launching pad for one company.
"We had a new member join us, FGC Health, a startup here in Winnipeg. During the pandemic, they grew from one member to 14. In fact, during that time they've graduated to their own office space. It's a great success story on how Launch can play a role on the continuum--for small, medium or startup businesses," adds Abbott.