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With the growth of high-speed Internet and remote e-mail access, telecommuting and working from home has become much more popular in the last few years. Many people enjoy the flexibility of not having to go into the office each day but miss the structure and social interaction of the office work environment.

Drew Tyler says coworking might present just the solution to this problem. Coworking is the gathering of a group of people, all working independently, who are interested in the synergy that can happen from working with talented people in the same work space. Drew's company, BetaLoft, is one of the state's first coworking spaces.

Drew tells me BetaLoft essentially offers all the amenities of a regular office with the flexibility that many of his members enjoy. The Salt Lake City facility, located across from the Gateway, includes various workspaces - desks, tables, chairs and couches - high-speed Internet, drinks and snacks, a conference room, a relaxing and stimulating work environment and a fully-equipped multicamera studio for small Web video production.

The coworking movement has been steadily growing since it was first introduced in 2006. Drew tells me he decided to start BetaLoft shortly after finishing grad school. He wasn't ready to move into a doctorate program and was interested in starting a company that could benefit local communities. BetaLoft has been warmly received since its launch in June. Members enjoy the affordable monthly membership fees, the professional office structure and the opportunity to collaborate and network with other people.

Drew anticipates BetaLoft will continue to increase in popularity as more freelancers and independent workers discover its benefits. He envisions expanding into another location in Salt Lake County within a year and eventually entering the Davis County area. He also feels that future BetaLoft facilities could even specialize in certain industries.

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