ST. JOHN — Communication is crucial for a business to succeed. In a remodeled building at 311 Broadway in St. John, offices with broadband connections are awaiting tenants eager to have a space to conduct their work remotely.
This new facility is called Work Space 311 and it is an incubator where new business can get started, said Carolyn Dunn, Stafford County Economic Director.
Work Space 311 is set up on a membership basis and each business pays a fee to use the building spaces.
At a recent Kansas Department of Transportation conference, one of the topics of discussion was the importance of infrastructure to keep rural communities going and that included broadband internet service.
Broadband is essential connectivity for employment and sometimes it is a barrier in rural communities. Some places may not be connected and some can’t afford broadband service, which can limit business potential.
“Not all places have access to high-speed internet. We’re trying to remove that barrier,” Dunn said.
At Work Space 311, they have the highest speed fiber optics available, along with new computers.
This space is designed for those that don’t want to work at home or their work environment is too noisy or maybe they want to start a new work chapter in their life but don’t know about remote jobs.
Work Space 311 also provides business security. Business can be done in private without interruption.
“You can’t do that from a place where people can look over your shoulder,” Dunn said.
But Work Space 311 is more than just a space to work. Training programs are also available to show people what remote work jobs are open. Economic Development is working with Flexjobs, a clearing house for remote jobs. They help find what remote jobs are available that may be unknown in this area.
“It’s hard for us out here to know what those opportunities are,” Dunn said. “We provide support. We find what is available and what is the best fit for them.”
Work Space 311 can provide space for those who want to work independently. If they already have an established business in another town, they can set up an office in St. John as a second connection point for their business.
Work Space 311 is looking for solopreneurs, an individual who will not hire anyone but does freelance or contract work or consulting.
“We are happy to work with any kind of business,” Norman said.
Though private offices are available, shared workspace members receive five free hours each month and office members receive 10 free hours per month in the conference room.
There are large, medium and small office spaces available as well.