Lori Spiess, CEO of of OffiCenters/VirtualOffiCenters has provided workspace solutions to the Twin Cities since 1981. She is an innovator, leader and motivator who helps businesses do their best work. Her company won Most Innovative Workspace 2014 and she made Minnesota Real Power 50 list 2015. Spiess, a recent cancer survivor, has a new motto: Life is short. Work someplace awesome! She can be reached at (612) 349-2712 or

By Lori Spiess

Workspace solutions need to be mobile and flexible. All of us have learned that we must be able to work and provide our customers a variety of services anytime and anywhere. A dedicated space is helpful but often unnecessary to satisfy today’s work force. Home is a popular choice because: the commute is great, the dress code rocks, proximity to lunch and coffee rooms are usually just steps away, and also the economics work.

The downside is this, separation of home and work can be challenging. You need to be very disciplined to find good balance. Isolation is a major business challenge and studies have shown that business owners who get out and network or use CoWorking spaces are 85 percent more productive than those who work alone. And, I don’t know about you, but there aren’t a lot of people hanging around in my kitchen who can provide an inspired work atmosphere. Getting into a community of like-minded professionals can actually who have great energy and ideas can positively impact your bottom line.

Over the last 35 years, I have worked with thousands of microbusinesses looking to maximize efficiency and minimize capital expenditures. I am delighted to share some of my observations:

1) Image matters. What the client sees will determine their trust level and how they will work with you long term. A solid company has a solid identity. Build your foundation with care.

2) Be safe. Remember, there are security issues when using your home address and your personal cell number. Put a layer between you by setting up a separate address and a dedicated work phone number.

3) Stay flexible. If you don’t know what your new company will look like at any time down the road, do not make multi-year commitments on office space or equipment.

4) Be realistic. Some people can work virtually anywhere under the sun. For others, it’s a struggle. If you need structure to be productive or if distractions pull your focus, find options that work for you. If a home office works, don’t apologize for choosing that lifestyle. Enhance the home experience with CoWorking space and productive work environments. The coffee shop just does not cut it!

5) Sharing is good. Why make commitments to office equipment and long-term leases? You can buy as you go and use space, furnishings and equipment as needed. It really works.

6) Never apologize. Remove the phrases “I’m just” or “We’re only…” Be proud of what you do. Small businesses are the backbone of America.

7) WORK AWESOME! Get out of the house and surround yourself with successful and productive people. I know that success is contagious. Be open to opportunities for creative collaboration! Community and networking will help you reach your goals. This can is the difference between success and failure.

At VirtualOffiCenters we have plans as basic as a mailbox to help you get started. We offer networking, educational opportunities and collaboration to enhance your businesses. Choose a workspace solution that will work today and has the flexibility to help you grow into the future.


Be Inspired to Work Awesome! Stop in for a Day Pass to any of our five CoWorking Spaces. Walk-Ins welcome!