Last year, we heard from founder Alex Hillman that the team would be closing their Old City hub at 399 Market St. with a TBD plan for another place to gather. We then heard in the spring that Indy Hall had set up shop in From the Future’s Northern Liberties HQ, a multi-level office with outdoor space and industrial vibes. From the Future got started in Indy Hall’s old Third Street location, Hillman said, and their pre-existing relationship made it possible to “take our time to really get this next version right.”
As of May 2022, the community was in “members only” mode, with a handful of existing folks test driving the space, Hillman told Technical.ly in an email this week. The Indy Hall community has been sharing the common areas with From the Future staffers, with a part of the Second and Fairmount streets office still dedicated to the tech company.
From the Future Managing Partner David Herscott was aiming to make the space valuable to that team without forcing anyone to come in, Hillman said.
Herscott said in an email that he thought the two companies worked well together because they had very similar ideas about what workspaces should be. From the Future also set up a culture committee run by employees to work on creating a welcoming environment. The company cut the workweek down to four and a half days, and is putting together a plan to make the space more accessible to employees and guests.
“Instead of ‘requiring’ our employees to come into the office, we are working hard to create an environment that they want to spend time in,” Herscott said.
So over the last few months, Indy Hall has grown again. In October, Hillman emailed those who’d been on a waiting list that the org’s in-person option was back, offering in-clubhouse days plus access to the online community, events and resources. Members can chose a monthly two-day flex, six-day flex or unlimited flex days for $99, $199 or $399, respectively.
As of this week, Indy Hall had about 70 people signed up for clubhouse memberships, and about 300 total members including its online community, per Hillman.
“Daily clubhouse attendance varies but there’s basically always people around and we have a good amount of room to continue growing,” he said. “It’s tough to say what the winter will bring, but I’d estimate that we’re on track to approach or cross 100 Clubhouse members in December or January.”
In this iteration of Indy Hall, Hillman stressed the concept of a “third place,” a concept of a space to build community outside of work and home. The pandemic exacerbated the feeling of loneliness for many, and it’s a lot harder for folks to notice it coming on before it becomes a serious mental health problem, he said.
“And worse, even once you do recognize it, it’s not always easy to find a solution,” he said. “Broadly speaking, a sense of community is one of the most reliable antidotes to isolation, but in terms of places to get that sense reliably, it’s third places that tend to do the trick!”
Indy Hall’s current identity combined what they’ve learned about tools for community throughout the pandemic with the idea of being a community-centered space, more than an office. The space itself isn’t the best setup for someone who needs a private office to take meetings and calls all day, Hillman said, but it’s a good fit for folks who have a home or office setup, and are spending a lot of time alone. The community-focused approach is what it boils down to.
“Shifting our use of space back in this direction feels right when most people who want to go back to an office don’t really want an office,” Hillman said. “Whether they know it or not, they want the experiences of serendipity, shared structure, and safety. And that’s what we’ve always been good at.”
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