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By July 2017, Luke Gibson was tired of working in coffee shops. As President of Legacy Insurance Professionals, which provides insurance coverage and risk management to churches and other faith-based organizations across 12 states, he had made the decision to close his office in Middletown in April 2017.
Legacy was spending thousands of dollars on office space that provided no value to his clients — they had their own facilities, and rarely if ever came to visit the Legacy office. Gibson also noticed that the office environment was having a negative impact on his employees.
“You’ve got to check in, check out. Everybody’s watching everybody else, and it becomes about micromanagement. It creates a stressful atmosphere,” he said.
Gibson is passionate about creating a culture that fosters positive attitudes and high quality of life for his employees.
“Insurance is a tough industry,” he admits. “You’re a duck on the pond — it’s smooth up top, but underneath our feet are going a million miles an hour.”
Gibson put it to a vote, and Legacy employees unanimously agreed to work from home.
“We have seen such an increase in morale and productivity from our employees. We’ve cut expenses like crazy, and that went back into our employees…increasing their quality of work, their income, their resources to make their jobs easier. We were able to invest more in that because we weren’t investing in this [office] that was bringing us nothing back,” he said.
Although Gibson and his employees were happier out of the office, there were definite downsides to working from home. It got lonely, for one, and noisy kids and coffee shops made it difficult to maintain a professional image. Then he found NEWORK Space, a coworking community in downtown Newark made up of local entrepreneurs, freelancers, and business professionals who work together in a collaborative shared space. Members have 24/7 access to the building, free coffee, secure Wi-Fi, printing allowance, and meeting room access. It was exactly the middle ground Gibson was looking for.
“I love having my office here [at NEWORK Space]. We get the flexibility, productivity, and reduced expenses of a modern workflow, but I still get a handshake to traditional human experiences,” said Gibson, who has been a member of NEWORK Space since they opened in November 2017. He loves working, eating, and shopping downtown, attending educational and networking events in the space, and being part of Newark’s renaissance.
“What’s happening in downtown Newark — people who care, who build, who invest, who want to develop leaders—it’s so important. And NEWORK Space is a nucleus for that,” Gibson said. “It’s just a really cool place.”
Gibson recently sold Legacy, which now operates as a division of Hummel Group. To find out more about Legacy Insurance, email Luke at email@example.com. To find out more about NEWORK Space, register for an event, or book a tour, visit www.neworkspace.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Heather Shaw is community manager at NEWORK Space.
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