By David R. Cohen | firstname.lastname@example.org
Jay Chernikoff wants to change the way Atlanta does business.
DeskHub, the co-working office concept that he founded in Scottsdale, Ariz., recently opened a space at Piedmont Center in Buckhead. Now the Jewish entrepreneur and Cleveland, Ohio, native hopes that startups in Atlanta are ready to join his vision for a unified work environment.
DeskHub leases out desks in its shared office space on a month-to-month basis. Rent covers Internet access, conference rooms, unlimited printing and community events, which Chernikoff hopes will foster a collaborative work environment. A stocked kitchen area with drinks and snacks is included.
“We really believe in the open-desk, open-environment concept,” Chernikoff said. “A lot of people are going through variations on offices, and we have found through research that the way the environment promotes interaction is really important. One of our big value adds is that we encourage collaboration not only with people at companies, but across different companies.”
The target demographic for DeskHub, Chernikoff said, is a growing company with three to 10 employees who wouldn’t be able to find a suitable location on their own because of expenses or space requirements. The co-working space provides a cooperative atmosphere where professionals from different industries work side by side.
Atlanta’s co-working movement has steadily gained steam since Buckhead’s Atlanta Tech Village (atlantatechvillage.com) opened in 2012. The work style solves the problem of isolation that many freelancers and small companies face while fostering business connections. Other co-working hubs in Atlanta include Midtown’s Hypepotamus (www.hypepotamus.com), Strongbox West (www.strongboxwest.com) in Underwood Hills and NEX Atlanta (www.nexatlanta.com) in Grant Park.
Zoe Fox, the office curator for Atlanta’s DeskHub, is tasked with maintaining a welcoming and collaborative community. Before being hired by Chernikoff, Fox worked at the Marcus Jewish Community Center as young-adult coordinator. She said her experience working with young adults has translated well into managing the day-to-day operations of DeskHub and its wide variety of clients.
“When you’re around people, it’s stimulating,” Fox said. “So it’s nice you have this group that feels like co-workers. It’s a nice sense of community, getting up in the morning and knowing that you have a desk to go to in a professional environment. If you want to bring in a client, you don’t have to worry about what Starbucks to meet at. They can come to DeskHub.”
DeskHub doesn’t use a formal application process for businesses seeking space; instead, the business is looking for people ready to buy into the concept, Fox said. “At this point, if you’re excited about co-working, I’d want you in here.”
Chernikoff launched DeskHub by combining his background in commercial real estate, his M.B.A. from Arizona State and his undergraduate experience at UCLA working with tech startups.
He sits on the board of the Jewish Funders Network in New York and said his great passion is helping to grow businesses.
Atlanta is the third DeskHub location, after Scottsdale and San Diego, and Chernikoff plans to open more offices in the coming year.
“We really believe that there’s a fundamental shift in the way people are working,” he said. “We’re going to be moving away from the CEO in his big glass office, and everyone will be in these open work environments where more work gets done, productivity is increased, and space is more efficient. I think there is a tremendous amount of opportunity to expand this concept across the country.”