Five simple words, “Work the way you want,” form the compelling mission statement of Quest Workspaces, a woman-owned, groundbreaking flexible workspace provider that is truly changing the game.
Laura Kozelouzek, Founder and CEO of Quest Workspaces, has made it her own personal quest to build a company from the ground up that holds true to its values.
“I started Quest in 2010 because I decided that I wanted to own a coworking company where I had no partners, no investors, and no bosses,” said Laura.
“[I wanted to be the one] dictating when to grow, how to grow, and how to operate the business.”
While Laura saw many flex office providers growing at an exponential rate over the years, she maintained a steady objective for Quest; to grow, “smartly and organically.”
“For me, it was about developing a boutique company where I could say, ‘I don’t care if we have one location, three locations, 30, or 300, as long as I can stay involved in the operation, feel close to it, and do the stuff that I love – which is working with the team and clients on more of a micro level, not just a macro level,” said Laura.
“I followed so many companies as they grew very quickly and they kind of lost their soul and I didn’t want that to ever happen to Quest.”
“We grew where it made sense and [that] proved to be something that was very personally important to me… and to be a smart business plan economically,” she added.
Like so many others though, Quest and their economic business plan were challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic.
But Laura explained that it was Quest’s strategic design – workspaces where flexible, private, turn-key offices dominate the floorplan – that helped them to successfully navigate through the last year and a half.
“In terms of product and client delivery, we were very fortunate – and it wasn’t by accident – it was by design. We built all our spaces out to be predominantly private office space,” Laura explained.
“The reason [behind this] being, we felt that we catered to that level of clientele who demanded private space,” she added.
Although prioritizing private workspaces may seem like incredible intuition in hindsight of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was extensive preliminary research that guided this decision that Quest was built upon for years to come.
“When I first started Quest, I did a lot of research into whether coworking was open or not,” explained Laura.
“To me, it seemed as though if most workers – regardless of what they do – could have the same amount of space and be private versus being elbow-to-elbow with somebody, they would prefer that.”
“With COVID, we were lucky because we didn’t have to retrofit massive amounts of team space with privacy dividers and such. For us, it was simply about putting in effective COVID-safe protocols,” she added.
While not having to drastically alter their physical workspaces, Laura explained that Quest made big changes in its virtual office offerings – a product that experienced massive demand due to the pandemic.
“Operationally, we beefed up all of the services for clients outside of the office, [especially to] clients that were virtual, to offer them more services,” she explained.
Like other providers, Quest provided essential mail services to many of its clients throughout the pandemic.
Because of this, Laura explained that she felt as if Quest strengthened the bond and relationship between its team members and their clients.
“Since we never shut down because we provided essential mail services, we always had a skeleton staff [on-site] at the center,” Laura sad.
“We were receiving mail, sending packages, and we even had situations where managers were delivering mail to clients’ homes. So, [COVID] even gave us the opportunity to fortify that relationship that we had between our clients,” she added.
While Quest has done an incredible job in ensuring that the vital business of its clients didn’t stop during the pandemic, Laura explained that through the Quest Cares Foundation, the provider has always helped to empower those within the communities that Quest is located in.
The Quest Cares Foundation strives, “… to create thriving communities through initiatives that support community development, sustainability, and well-being.”
“I’ve always been philanthropic in the work I did through shared space,” explained Laura.
“For me, it’s a no-brainer because what I thought about, especially when you first open a center, is that you have availability. It’ll take time before you fill that center up.”
“In my mind, why not put that [empty] space to good use and donate it to nonprofits who are trying to do great work but just can’t afford [a professional workspace],” she added.
In 2012, two years after Quest’s inception, Laura came up with an idea that would serve as the basis to Quest Cares and all the work that the foundation did.
“At the time I said, ‘Hey guys, we have all this open space, let’s put it to good use,” Laura said.
What initially started as a giveaway of a single private office to a local, Miami-based non-profit turned into so much more.
“We put it out through the media, and we had such a high response rate to people that really needed this, and their stories really grabbed me,” she explained.
“We had over 20 applications [just] on the first go-around, and I read each one individually and I was brought to tears.”
“We ended up figuring out a way to help all 20 [applicants]. We couldn’t give all of them full-time office spaces [but] for some of them it was conference room use so they could have a professional board meeting, for some it was a virtual office just to start off,” explained Laura.
Since its first ‘private office giveaway’ in 2012, Quest has never looked back and has continued to work with non-profits to provide office space to allow their crucial work to continue at a high level.
“These are amazing individuals who have their own jobs, who are doing their own work to get paid and then they do this on the side because it’s so meaningful to them – yet they’re trying to run it out of their studio apartment,” said Laura.
“I started saying, let’s give them an amazing [business] presence, professional services, [admin] support, and even a way to take advantage and leverage the community for pro bono work by putting them in our spaces,” she added.
But it isn’t just Laura who loves helping these non-profits, it’s the rest of her team who have truly bought into the mission of Quest Cares.
“The other great thing is that my team loves it. They love the fact that they are helping businesses all day,” Laura explained.
“The way I look at it is that a company could write a check and that is super helpful, don’t get me wrong, but we could help so many more groups by doing this, just by better utilizing the resources that we have and by making better use of the underutilized resources,” she added.
While so much of Laura and Quest’s story comes from the heart, it was the measured impact through raw numbers that truly exemplified the effectiveness and importance of Quest Cares.
“Right now, I think we have 17 nonprofits that we are working with through all of our locations,” said Laura.
“Over the time that we started this, we’ve given over $1 million in space and services and helped approximately 50 groups and it’s something that we’re going to continue to do,” she added.
Laura closed out with this simple but impactful sentiment:
“If I can help 50 organizations, and those 50 organizations are helping 50 people each, think of the amount of reach you can have.”
Quest Workspaces is an outstanding example of a PON member making an impact in the larger community through their business model.
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