I had a completely different blog planned for today (which I’ll post eventually), but got sidetracked by this article that came out of the recent Coworking Conference in the US – the Global Coworking Unconference Conference (GCUC). In it, Susan Dorsch, cofounder of Office Nomads in Seattle discusses a couple of key points from the conference that I want to share with you. The following numbered paragraphs are Susan’s words:
1. Forecast: there will be 1 MILLION coworkers by 2018
During the first day’s conference session, Steve King of Emergent Research provided us with this incredible nugget of insight into the future of work: 1 million coworkers around the world by 2018. That’s bigger than the population of Seattle. Bigger than Austin. Bigger than San Francisco. While the total number is impressive, it is the potential of this number that gets me particularly fired up. We have the potential to ensure that 1 million people don’t just have a great place to work, but that they are a part of strong, supportive, collaborative communities. One million people working alongside one another doesn’t sound all that exciting to me. One million people who are tapped into strong support systems and are encouraged to learn with and from one another is an entirely different data set that I hope to contribute to.
2. We’ll say it again: it’s not about the space
Day 2 was our unconference day, which is when we got to dig deep into specific topics with one another…In the first session, I hosted a conversation called “Let’s talk about cultivating spaces that matter.” My hope was to highlight that opening and operating a space is the least exciting thing that we do. No city in the world is short on desk space or internet connections. What draws people to coworking is the possibility of having their emotional needs met.
Yes, it sounds woo-woo but it’s the most important work of coworking: addressing the human needs of the independent workforce. These tend to come in the form of social connections and opportunities to learn, not the ability to print something or upload a big file…
So back to Plymouth Cowork and what we are trying to accomplish here in Plymouth. We are absolutely trying to enable a supportive community for our amazing, creative independent workforce, which is growing daily and is a vibrant part of the Plymouth economic landscape. For us, the magic happens when our members help each other technically, support each other emotionally, and become friends whilst laughing together over a cup of tea or crisps around the picnic table. The other day I happened to chance across a twitter conversation between two members, only one of whom was working in the cowork space at the time. The other was working from home, and offered up suggestions for the other member working through a very technical problem (I had NO IDEA what they were talking about). I do know they had only just recently met here at THINQTANQ. And so the magic begins….
We had an amazing launch party last Friday night here at THINQTANQ; most of our members were there, along with a wonderful collection of local small business owners and many other folks who provide support services for start-up businesses. It was great to see what a lovely community is growing here, one that I hope continues to support each other as we all work and grow and learn.
As always, we’d love to see you here. Come by to take a look, have a cup of tea with us, and see what a great place to work can feel like.