Confession: I work from home, and some days I never make it out of my pajamas. On other days, lunch consists of a jar of peanut butter and a spoon. Despite living such a glamorous life, sometimes I wish my workdays were a little bit less…sedentary. Considering how many people telecommute, I hope I’m not the only one who has made the couch my office, but fortunately there is hope out there for people like me.
Enerspace is a co-working office designed specifically for people who want to surround themselves with fitness-oriented creatives. Besides beautifully-designed shared working spaces and stunning views of Chicago to help exercise the mind, this startup offers something to energize the body: a fitness studio.
We talked to founder Jamie Russo about the story behind the space and in the process, learned a little about our newest Advisor and about the movement she’s starting.
What inspired Enerspace to become what it is?
I worked for a healthcare startup that was trying to expand in the Chicago market. My job consisted of going into corporate settings and helping employees become more engaged in their health and wellness.
We went into an office that served chicken-fried steak in their cafeteria every day, and it became clear to me that it’s very hard to get people to focus on their nutrition in a corporate space.
I wanted to create an environment to help them overcome the “corporate rut” of sitting at their desk, eating in the cafeteria, and falling into a stagnant routine. This was happening as co-working spaces were becoming a big movement, so I set about creating a place that was more than a workplace—that helped the people who utilized it to achieve other goals as well.
When did you know you wanted to an entrepreneur?
I was the first (and for a while only) member of the Chicago office of the healthcare company I was working with before I started Enerspace. I’ve always wanted to take the reins, and that was a great way to start, but I wanted something of my own.
What does a typical day workday look like?
I’m a mobile professional, so I can be anywhere. Right now I’m in San Francisco looking to open a co-working space here, because it’s a very health and wellness oriented market, and I'm hiding from the Chicago winters.
Like any entrepreneur, I wear a lot of hats: I work on technical and strategic aspects of the business, I schedule meetings, I file taxes, and I do chores like ordering whiteboards and notebooks.
One thing I do make sure to do regardless of what the schedule calls for is get a workout in, whether it’s in the morning or at night. I’ll take a yoga class at work, or I’ll go to a CrossFit gym around the corner. I always find some way to be active every day.
What’s been the most rewarding thing about Enerspace?
Besides accomplishing doing my own thing, and running a successful co-working space, this entire experience has been amazing. Just being able to interact with these cool, creative people who really value diversity and being a part of something bigger.
If you could give 16-year-old you one piece of advice, what would it be?
Just one? Don’t wait, just do it and do it now. Whatever you want, don’t be afraid. Start the journey and take the next step. It doesn’t do any good to wait!
What’s next for Enerspace?
I want more Enerspace locations nationally that are well programmed to endorse health and wellness as well as creative collaborations. I want these places to be in cool neighborhoods with lots of interesting things happening.
This next year is all about awareness. Co-working spaces are still approaching a tipping point, but there are a lot of people who work from home and don’t want to who don’t know they can go somewhere else and choose a community to belong to. I want Enerspace to be the place that they choose to go.