Jack’s restaurant, a historic building in downtown San Francisco, is finding new life as a co-working space; it is being revitalized by Bar Works, a company that has 3 similar spaces in New York City. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Bar Works decided upon the historic venue in order to make a statement as they charter a space in a brand new town. They cite Bar Works’ managing director, Franklin Kinard, who said, “By going after a landmark building, we felt it was a dramatic way to announce ourselves to the marketplace. It makes a statement.”
This space will be perfect for individuals working remotely who would prefer a dedicated workspace instead of bounding nomadically from coffeeshop to coffeeshop seeking fast wifi and a productive space to work. It will also be a great place for small teams to gather and work, as they will offer nearly 400 individual workspaces as well as conference rooms in the 6,000 square foot facility.
The Jack’s building has a storied history. It is the second oldest restaurant in San Francisco; it first opened it’s doors in 1864 and has been home to a series of restaurants and cafes since. For the first time in it’s history, it will be home to a business not in the foodservice industry, although Bar Works intends to obtain a liquor and wine license, as well as have coffee and light food available to its tenants.
The owners of this new co-working space hope to preserve a lot of the historical significance by maintaining some of the original operations and aesthetic through opening the bar and food service avenues within the building. Co-working prices will be comparable to the other companies already in town – $30 day passes, and $400-$600 a month for most spaces. Bar Works is hoping that by keeping some of the original vintage look of Jack’s while reopening its doors as a co-working space, they will be able to preserve an important piece of San Francisco history.
With the technological advances of today’s world, many companies are employing teams of people which are either fully or partially distributed – some teams might have a few central people all working in an office together and others from remote locations, and other companies may have all of their employees working from different parts of the country or globe. One company that has seen success with creating a thriving company culture while also employing a dispersed team is Museum Hack.
Museum Hack offers unconventional museum tours at some of the most recognizable museums in New York City, Washington DC, and San Francisco. Most of their team members are based right there in one of the three cities, but they have a supporting team of people working in customer service, sales, and marketing in locations all over the globe – multiple U.S. cities, as well as Canada, Columbia, and the Philippines. This allows them to cut down on overhead costs like expensive office spaces in New York City, and cuts out a commute for most of the employees. In a recent blog post on their website, Museum Hack identified some techniques they use to improve company culture, and specifically, team building practices they employed to help include their remote team in the company.
Tips and Tricks of the Dispersed Team Building Trade
- Icebreakers – this may seem sort of like a team building buzzword, but there’s a reason icebreaker games and questions are a popular form of group bonding…they work. Museum Hack has found that by beginning or group chat or phone call with a soft question allows their remote team to be seens as individuals with experiences and desires, not just a worker. And as an added bonus, icebreaker questions involve zero monetary investment and minimal planning, which makes them easy to adopt into your company’s culture right away.
- Company Trainages – once a month or so, Museum Hack hires a consultant to teach much of their staff a new skill. They bring in both full-time and part-time employees for an evening of education and fun. While they admit that it is a larger financial investment than icebreakers may be, they see a huge ROI from their evenings out building new skills and friendships.
- Paid Trips for Localization – definitely the team building technique with the greatest financial investment, but Museum Hack has seen tremendous results from paying for employees to come in to NYC for a weekend and meet the whole team. Meeting one another in person contributes a noticeable increase in productivity, dedication and collaboration from their remote team members.
While working with a distributed team can have great advantages – allowing employees to work almost whenever and wherever they would like, they have their disadvantages too – a feeling of isolation and lack of connection can easily crop up. However with a few simple techniques in place, even fully dispersed companies can flourish.