Rethinking work space is the goal of the new Brix Coworking where entrepreneurs, professionals, freelancers, artists, and musicians can find a place to create and work.

Set in Monona’s new south side development, Brix’s second-floor suite has rentable private offices, conference rooms, music lounge and podcast recording booth.

Co-working spaces have been around for a decade and now the concept is even more popular during the COVID-19 pandemic. Co-owner Matt Jacoby says that the business has had a boost from people who no longer want to work from home, either because there are too many distractions or they’re tired of going solo.

“We are lifesavers for some,” Jacoby said. “The people who still want those two different environments—work and home— and where the scenery changes.”

Jacoby, a Sun Prairie resident, and co-owner Jocelyn Dornfeld launched Brix in Monona in March hoping to replicate the success of Brix’s first location on the Capitol Square.

“It was really going well and everyone was enjoying the no-stress, light fun atmosphere,” Dornfeld said. “Our community was growing, so we thought of Monona because there isn’t any co-working space here.”

Punchy bright orange and blue colors, modern furniture and clean, uncluttered spaces with lots of light invite a lively fun atmosphere in the space off W. Broadway. Members can grab a cup of coffee at the cafe, meet in the Huddle Room or conference room, or settle back in the quiet of a private office. Members get 24/7 access, entering with a private passcode. Monthly prices for a private office run from $450-$1,600 depending on the space. There’s month-to-month, as well as one and two-year leases also.

Dedicated desks with lockable cabinets run $250 a month and flex desks go for $125 a month or $20 a day.

If you need a space to record a podcast, voiceovers, or other audio projects, the podcast studio rents for $40 an hour and is open to non-members.

Jacoby and Dornfeld, own a marketing firm together and were motivated to start Brix to fill a need in their own lives. Scheduling business meetings at restaurants and coffee shops or working solo at home wasn’t working out for Dornfeld. And Jacoby, a musician, wanted to open up a business space for musicians, separate from a recording studio.

“It’s a concept that’s even new in Nashville and New York, that people can make an actual career path of this,” Jacoby said of the music entrepreneur program that Brix Coworking offers.

Musicians can rent a lounge, desk, and consult with a coach. Jacoby is co-founder of Eleven, a music start-up, and has experience working in the industry.

Accountants, professors, freelancers, and others have signed up at the Monona co-working space. Dornfeld said the business attracts people from Madison’s southern suburbs, with easy access from the beltline and free parking.

Keeping the space safe for members during the COVID-19 pandemic is a priority, Dornfeld said. There are hydroxyl generators that disinfect the air of viruses and bacteria and additional cleaning and social distancing procedures. Face masks are also required in communal areas.

The effort is to help members feel safe and get back to their coworking space during COVID. After being closed during the safer at home order, Brix re-opened in May and found new interest from people—especially from employees who couldn’t work at the office because of staffing limits.

“We are finding more companies are giving allotments for coworking spaces or paying for the whole thing and are willing to work with their employees,” Dornfeld said.

Others have tired of working from home with family distractions and ill-equipped spaces.

“At the beginning of working remotely everything was pretty exciting but a person can end up in isolation by not leaving their apartment or home,” Jacoby said.

Jacoby and Dornfeld, who have families and kids of their own, said they learned a few things about juggling work, school, and family life during the safer-at-home order.

The duo is now strategizing how the Brix space can help parents and kids with distance learning, and how to respond to the changing needs of their coworking space members.

“We’ve have had to adjust monthly with the ebb and flow of changes and we want to see how we can benefit our members,” Jacoby said.

The atmosphere of the Brix coworking space hasn’t shifted during COVID despite the new restrictions. It’s about offering a sense of community, Dornfeld said, where members can celebrate wins, discuss problems or strategize over solutions—even if they are from different industries.

“People come here to do their best work and are surrounded by people who are like-minded,” Dornfeld said. “It’s an inspiring space where people can talk, voice their frustrations, and celebrate their wins.”

Brix Coworking is located at 1574 W. Broadway Suite 200. More info at brixmortarcoworking.com

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