Coworking space coming to Hawley Lane Mall in Trumbull

Photo of Amanda Cuda

TRUMBULL — Rina Bakalar and J.J. Oshins were just trying to discuss business over a cup of coffee. Then someone fired up a gas-powered leaf blower and conversation became impossible.

The two had been talking about bringing Jeff Works, a coworking space, to Trumbull. It was a moment, Bakalar said, that illustrated the need for quiet, private spaces where people can work without distractions — such as children, pets or landscapers.

“It could have been an ad” for co-working spaces, Bakalar said of the incident.

Oshins is the chief investment officer with NRDC Equity Partners. His business venture, Jeff Works, is a membership-based coworking space, where people pay $10 a month for a space that allows them the technology and amenities of working in an office and the flexibility of working at home.

“We’ve seen this big shift to remote work,” Oshins said. “Working at home sounds good but (in reality) it can be difficult.”

Jeff Works, which currently has an outpost in South Plainfield, N. J., is set to open a branch in the Hawley Lane Mall in Trumbull. Right now, Oshins said, the plan is to have a soft opening in February and a grand opening in March.

Oshins said, in this COVID-19-influenced climate, when many people are working from home, for themselves or both, coworking spaces can be an asset.

The plan is for the Trumbull Jeff Works to offer the perks of an office — such as high speed internet, ergonomic furniture and more privacy than a home space would provide — in a safe, socially distanced environment. The space is roughly 6,000 square feet, which Oshins said allows people to spread out.

The New Jersey site opened in November and has been well-received, Oshins said. People work on their own schedule, with some only coming in a few days a week.

Bakalar said there is one other coworking space in town, CoLab at Trumbull Corporate Park, but that is geared more toward businesses that need extra space, whereas Jeff Works is geared more toward self-employed people or remote workers.

Jeff Works also has a lower price point (CoLab membership starts at $65 a month, and be up to more than $400 a month depending on the type of space being rented), making it more accessible.

Bakalar said Jeff Works is a good fit for Trumbull, where about 13 percent of residents are self-employed.

“I do think people are choosing to be self-employed quite a bit,” she said. “Those folks that are self-employed at times need a more official space to meet a client.”

Co-working spaces aren’t intended to be a replacement for working from home or working from a traditional office, said Bakalar and Oshins.

“This just provides another option for them,” Bakalar said.