The cats, the laundry and other distractions. Not to mention, “the mundane feeling of being in the same place for so long.”

That’s what drove Torrie Fischer to seek out an alternative to working from home.

She’s among a growing number of folks across the country turning to shared work space.

Fischer, a software engineer, landed at Office Space Coworking, or OSC, in downtown Akron. OSC is housed on the ground floor of the historic Everett Building at Main and Market streets.

“This is out of the house and there’s food [eateries] nearby. It’s got a collaborative atmosphere — it’s starting to,” said Fischer, whose job with an international company allows her to work from anywhere.

The new owner of Office Space Coworking, Nick Petroski, encourages that sharing of ideas and is stressing that his operation offers a lot more than space, free Wi-Fi, parking and coffee.

“With Office Space Coworking, you get access to a community,” Petroski said. “You can get access to the person sitting right next to you. You can get feedback on an idea.”

To build that community, Petroski, 28, has begun sponsoring educational, as well as social events.

Petroski said the co-working trend is just taking off in Akron. He believes it is fueled by technology — making it easier for people to work remotely — as well as those who became contractors or freelancers after losing their jobs.

Deskmag, an online magazine that focuses on co-working, estimated last year that there were more than 110,000 people working in nearly 2,500 spaces worldwide. The number of workers was up 117 percent from the prior year and the number of spaces was up 83 percent.

Deskmag said that the United States, with 781 co-working spaces, boasted the most in 2013.

In Akron, Petroski has tweaked the Office Space Coworking area inside the Everett Building, moving tables and chairs to create more of an open feel. He’s also expanded the space, leasing more square footage from the building’s owner Tony Troppe.

It includes a conference room that members can use as well as a few private offices that can be rented on a month-to-month basis.

Expanding operations

Petroski declined to reveal terms of his purchase of the 6-year-old Office Space Coworking. He bought it last fall from Bill Forsyth III, who had taken it over from the business’ founder. The deal included the Office Space Coworking location on Fulton Road NW in Canton.

Petroski wants to expand the operation further in downtown Akron, with plans to open OSC Tech Lab later this month. The space will cater to entrepreneurs involved with tech startups and is on the second floor of the historic building at 12 E. Exchange St., in downtown Akron. The building, which houses House of Hunan, was constructed as the headquarters of the old AC&Y — Akron, Canton and Youngstown Railroad.

Potential members can check the new space out on Jan. 16 at what Petroski calls Free Coworking Thursdays. Space will be available for free on Thursdays. On Jan. 15, a presentation on database design will be offered at the Exchange Street site. For information, go online to www.meetup.com/akroncantonweb.

Owner seeks startup

Petroski, a graduate of Archbishop Hoban High School in Akron and Kent State University, bought Office Space Coworking after being downsized from his job as an analyst at a stock research company outside Cleveland.

He had experience with other young companies — a startup software business, as well as a construction enterprise — and wanted to stay in Northeast Ohio.

“I’ve always had a crazy irrational love for the city of Akron. I don’t know how to explain it,” he said.

“I also need to be involved in a startup. I’ve worked at larger companies. I need to be involved in something where I can make a difference.”

Katie Byard can be reached at 330-996-3781 or kbyard@thebeaconjournal.com.