Whenever Jamie Hodari makes it back home to Bloomfield Township there’s one place he has to go to.
“I miss Olga’s,” he laughed. “My first job was being a waiter there, and I always make sure to eat there whenever I go back.”
Hodari has had a handful of jobs since then, including his most recent, CEO of Industrious, a company he co-founded with Justin Stewart. Stewart runs the company’s real estate team and was Hodari’s next door neighbor growing up. Hodari attended Cranbrook Kingswood and Stewart went to Andover.
Founded in 2013, Industrious is redefining what a co-working space is. The company has office locations from New York City to Seattle, and Chicago to Tampa. Everyone from freelancers to Fortune 500 companies can rent out private offices, paid on a monthly or yearly basis.
“A lot of times bigger companies will have their own private offices, their own private conference rooms, but then they share a bunch of other amenities with all of the other companies in the space,” Hodari said. “There might be a bar and coffee lounge that everyone shares, relaxation rooms, etc.”
When the idea for Industrious started, Hodari and Stewart were both working out of shared office spaces for their respective companies, but they kept pointing out the need for these spaces to be more elegant, more professional.
They both felt they couldn’t hold high-stakes meetings there. They weren’t excited or proud to go work at them. Eventually, they figured if they wanted this so badly, there were probably others like them.
“So we said, let’s just do this. Let’s put our money where our mouth is and let’s build the products that we would love to walk into work every day using and hopefully, other people are going to feel the same way,” Hodari said.
People did, and they came in droves.
The first office space launched in Chicago, where Hodari said they have 650 applicants for the 60 offices. Now, the company has around 40 locations, with plans to have closer to 60 by the end of the year. Eventually, they would like to go international and have product expansion.
But first, they want to bring an office location to their home state, ideally within the next year.
“We’re dying to finally get into Detroit or the metro Detroit area,” Hodari said.
When asked if either of them imagined this sort of success, Hodari said no. He thinks they got a little lucky.
“We woke up one day, and what was initially a niche product for smaller businesses and freelancers is now becoming the de-facto solution for pretty much every American business outside of their headquarters,” he said.
But why do people keep wanting to be a part of Industrious? Why use this co-working space?
That answer has two parts. One, they are experts at what drives happiness, engagement, and productivity in the workplace. Hodari said they have access to a lot of data about what makes people productive at work.
The second part is that the average worker really shouldn’t be sitting at a desk for eight to nine hours a day. When people share an office space like at Industrious they get the opportunity to move around more during the day. They get to work in a place where the task matches the space it’s done in.
As far as clients go, Industrious is for anyone.
“I think anyone who cares deeply about having a great, engaging day at work is potentially going to love working at Industrious,” he said.