Coming up: Re~Invent Work Week!

September 24, 2014 in Coworking, Events, new ways to work, workspace

IIMG_2261IMG_2658t is a very busy week coming up for us here at THINQTANQ!

Friday we’ve got the Digpen 7 Web Conference Workshops here all day, with some great talks. Check http://digpen.com for all the details.

Next week is our Re~Invent Work Week, with talks and events happening all week showcasing our local talent, as well as giving all of you a chance to explore a new way to work. If you work from home, you may be surprised to know there is a place you can go work whenever you want to be around other people, that is like an office, but you don’t need to lease it or provide any equipment: you just show up and get to work! You can come and go when you want, and only pay for the time you are here. You will get more done and be more productive, because there aren’t the distractions and isolation of home, and you will be surrounded by other people also working diligently away.

THINQTANQ is an un-office: we are not corporate-looking, we laugh out loud, and have silly drawing competitions. But our members also work hard, offer advice and suggestions when asked, and know about all the latest technology. You can bet someone has been to that new restaurant already and can tell you what they think. You will meet several other businesses who can help you, or who may need your skills, without even exchanging a business card.

But come see for yourself! That is the best way to experience what it is like to work around others on your own terms. Next week you can come to THINQTANQ every day for FREE, and we are offering some special deals on our monthly memberships for those who come in for the first time. Needless to say, we are very excited and can’t wait for you to experience it too. So, what are you waiting for? See you next week!

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    Working well

    September 17, 2014 in Coworking, new ways to work, workspace

    IMG_0438Last week I mentioned the Digpen 7 conference coming up the weekend of 26-27 September (linked here). Amongst the many awesome technical talks, I will be giving a more general, working life related presentation. My talk, perhaps not surprisingly, will be about paying attention to where you are working, and making sure you are working in the right space for the kind of work you are doing.

    Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? But if you have some flexibility on where you work it can make a huge difference in your productivity. For example, if you work from home, you likely won’t have a client meeting in your living room. You may instantly think coffee shop for a meeting, but what about a nice hotel lobby instead? If you can choose a quiet place to meet, you will set a respectful and professional tone. If you are here in Plymouth, consider one of the larger restaurants in off hours, or one of the open University buildings that has a café and seating area. Of course your local coworking space has some really nice conference room space available to use as well!

    If it is a nice day, what about going for a walk? There are many benefits of walking meetings, and the fresh air along with walking side-by-side can stimulate more interesting conversations than in a coffee shop setting.

    Conversely, if you work in an office with loud bustling space, and you really need to concentrate on your work without distractions, try to find an available conference room so you can shut the door. Or see if you can work out of the office for a few hours, or borrow someone’s private office (with their permission of course!) If not, try headphones with appropriate music to help you tune out the surrounding conversations and focus on your tasks.

    I’ll be talking about these and other suggestions for the various types of working spaces most of us need, illustrating how giving yourself the best possible space will help you get your work done more efficiently. And wouldn’t we all like to get more done in a day? Or at least feel as if we didn’t waste time getting our work done, no matter how much we love what we do!

    Hope to see you at Digpen 7.

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      Re-Invent Work Week

      September 12, 2014 in Events, new ways to work

      REInvent work weekWe are very excited to share with you the events we have organised to celebrate Re~Invent Work week here in Plymouth. Beginning 29 September, we will be hosting events and workshops for all of you independents, free-lancers, and home-based workers who want to try a new way to work that will help you become more productive, more connected, and able to enjoy our community focused on helping all of us thrive in our businesses.

      Here are some of the events we have planned so far:

      • Mon 29 Sept: Lunchtime talk by Business Coach Jo Higson, Parakeet Coaching CIC
      • Tue 30 Sept: HootUp! Learn how to become an expert Hootsuite user! 6-8 pm
      • Wed 1 Oct: Friendly Business Networking conversations and cake 10 am -12 noon
      • Thu 2 Oct: Lunchtime talk by Plymouth Patent Library – Patlib
      • Fri 3 Oct: End of the week Party!, 5:30 on

      Best of all, attendance at THINQTANQ and all the great workshops and events this week is free! We really want you to experience the benefit of working alongside others in a creative friendly environment, so we are trying to make it an amazing week for everyone. We will also be offering some special deals on our monthly memberships for those of you who attend for the first time during the week. I’ll be posting additional information about each of these events between now and 29 September, so watch this space!

       

       

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        “Nicest Little Web Conference in the West”

        September 10, 2014 in Events, new ways to work

        digpen-avatarWe are very excited to announce our collaboration with Digpen 7 this year. Digpen is short for Digital Peninsula, and the annual Digpen conference is a great local gathering that showcases the multidisciplinary digital-related local expertise.

        I’ve been helping out at the last two events and it is truly a welcoming and friendly group. As someone only peripherally related to digital expertise (in the digital context I am primarily a content producer and marketer), I have learned loads and enjoyed the camaraderie of many people both years I’ve attended.

        This year, THINQTANQ will be hosting the workshops on Friday 26 September before the main conference Saturday on the Plymouth University campus. We are also hosting a lovely social event on Friday evening. If you are attending the conference or workshops, please plan on joining us!

        More information is available on the Digpen 7 Conference website: http://digpen.com/. And if you do come to the conference, you just may hear me talk about making sure your workspace matches your work, or Rob talking about collaboration in the workplace.

        Hope to see you there!

         

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          Creative painter looking for a project?

          September 3, 2014 in Coworking, new ways to work, workspace

          l'art n'est pas un crimeAre you a skilled (or at least careful) painter?

          We have some large wall surfaces here at THINQTANQ that need your designs and/or implementation of our ideas! Stairwell, a meeting room and more would benefit from your ‘surface creativity’. We will provide paint and have a general theme in mind; you will be excited to contribute your ideas and skills to our creative community of independent workers, makers, and digital professionals.

          In exchange, you get plenty of tea, coffee, snacks and a permanent tribute to your efforts. We can also provide portfolio recommendations, as well as time working in our space or use of the meeting room in exchange for your art.

          Interested? Let us know! sabrina at plymouthcowork dot org or info at thinqtanq dot co dot uk.

          REMINDER!! We have office space available! Last private office space is available now in our upstairs space. Two other small offices have already been filled, and we are looking for just the right group to join us. In addition to your own lovely office, you have access to the coworking space on the first floor and all our creative professionals and the activities organised for everyone at THINQTANQ. See last weeks post for more details, and contact us at info at thinqtanq dot co dot uk.

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            Your business, here!

            August 29, 2014 in workspace

            Upstairs office

            IMG_2266If you’ve been looking for a great place to locate your small business or organisation in Plymouth city centre, I’ve got a suggestion for you! Why not join us here at THINQTANQ? We’ve just completed our third and final private office, located upstairs from our awesome coworking space.

            THINQTANQ is a vibrant hub of creativity with two digital firms already based here in addition to our fabulous coworking members.

            A spacious 5.7 x 5.2m and suitable for up to 6 people, the newly available space comes with its own kitchen space (although you are welcome to use the coworking kitchen where the cool kids hang out). The office is quiet, bright and airy, and very close to all the conveniences of the city centre. Best of all, you’ve got a built in network of great people around you, and our extended community of interesting, smart business owners and freelancers.

            The office also benefits from wifi access, utilities and business rates included, 6 hours of meeting room hire per month free of charge and easy in/out terms! If you would like to know more or view the office, please contact us on [email protected], or pop in and have a look for yourself; there’s lots more we can show and tell you. And most of all, we’d love to have you join us!

             

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              Networking another way

              August 20, 2014 in Coworking, Events, new ways to work

              IMG_2383Networking: The word alone strikes terror in the hearts of many of us.
              Some love nothing more than a room full of new people to meet.
              And others fall somewhere in between – perhaps enjoying meeting a few new people now and again, and prefer a smaller gathering rather than a huge, crowded noisy room.

              It’s good to pay attention to what works best for you, as you will be more productive and effective if you are in a situation that you enjoy rather than one that creates anxiety. And as independent workers (freelancers, micro business owners, sole traders, etc.), networking is really important to our business growth – see another blog post about this: http://www.plymouthcowork.org/networks-are-important-do-you-know-why/. Since we can’t always control the times when it will be necessary to network, like at a conference, I always try to create my own comfort area within any situation.

              If I need to go to a networking event in a situation that is stressful (for me that is a large crowded room full of people who seemingly know each other), I try to create my own small intimate setting so that I don’t feel the pressure and noise of the larger room. So, for example, I’ll start by finding someone on the periphery who might look uncomfortable, or a couple of people who are glancing around to see if there is someone else they should be talking to, and go up to those people and introduce myself, and ask them a few questions. Usually we can go from there, and hopefully dig deeper.

              I count success as having two or three longer conversations at most events rather than trying to meet as many people as I can. That way I have met a few people with whom I can confidently follow up, and I haven’t exhausted myself with numerous shallow conversations. For me, after a couple of good long conversations I am usually more energised rather than drained. And then if it is possible, I give myself permission to leave, feeling reasonably good and not so exhausted that I won’t be willing to go to another event. Or if I can’t leave, I take a small break to get some fresh air, walk around, or sit down for a quiet moment. After a bit of recharging, I can repeat the process.

              Here at THINQTANQ we make it easy for people to meet each other. By providing communal workspace, opportunities to meet people come naturally by working alongside one another and getting the chance to converse whilst getting a cup of coffee, or talking about a new type of productivity app, or just asking for feedback on a project. We have a big picnic table where we gather for lunch sometimes as well. It is a very non-stressful way to get to know people who can help you with your business in all kinds of ways.

              As well, once a month we hold a very low-key FREE networking event for all our members and any other people who want to come along. It is focused on one-to-one conversations and cake! We take a few minutes in the middle of the mid-morning event for everyone to introduce themselves and their business for just a minute each, and then we go back to chatting knowing what everyone does in case there is someone in particular you want to say hello to. And that is it!

              If you’d like to join us at our monthly networking events, we’d love to meet you! We are very friendly and welcoming, and also like to have a bit of a laugh! The next one is Wednesday morning 27 August, 10am to 12 noon at THINQTANQ. Please let me know if you plan to come so we’ll make sure to have enough cake. :)

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                Standing desk energy

                August 13, 2014 in new ways to work, workspace

                IMG_3138We are loving our standing desk here at THINQTANQ! I’ve found it keeps me much more alert whilst thinking, writing, reading….

                I know we are supposed to stop sitting for hours on end for our heart and our health, but these old habits are hard to break. So, it took me a few days once we had the desk in our space to actually get off the chair and try the desk out. I can’t believe how much more energy I have all day if I stand up. Rather than getting sleepier and lethargic over the course of the day, I found myself with an amazing amount of energy, and increased ability to focus.

                So, do yourself a favour and try standing while you work for at least a short time each day: maybe while you are on the phone, or if you need to write a few emails. Give it a try and see how it works for you. If you work from home, you can try working at the kitchen counter, or put a sturdy box on your desk for your keyboard, keeping in mind the need to maintain the usual recommendations for keyboard and monitor height if you work at a computer.

                And if you want to give a proper flexible height desk a try, come to THINQTANQ and check it out. I might just make room for you!

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                  Fresh ice cream

                  August 6, 2014 in Coworking, new ways to work

                  IMG_3026During my last visit to California I tried a new kind of ice cream that was literally made to order. That’s right: Freshly made on the spot AFTER you order. They don’t have rows of vats of pre-made ice cream that is scooped out and smooshed into a cone or cup. In Smitten, I ordered my ice cream at the till (mint chocolate chip), and after a few minutes of whirring and whooshing, and some fantastic swirling fog, a delicious cup of freshly frozen ice cream was in my hands. And it was fantastic! Creamy smooth, intensely flavoured of fresh mint (not extract) and semi-sweet chocolate chips. Wow.

                  This new fangled fresh ice cream results from using liquid nitrogen to freeze the ingredients extremely fast. Since this process creates your ice cream on the spot, the tastes are about as fresh as can be – no flavour preservatives or stabilisers needed. So all you taste are the very finest ingredients combined on the spot.

                  I have to say I was truly ‘smitten’ by Smitten. Yet another foodie trend that I hope doesn’t take too long to hop the pond so I can get it right down here on the Barbican someday soon.

                  What does fresh ice cream have to do with coworking, you wonder? Well everything! Coworking is about supporting each other to thrive in a multiplicity of ways. And we do love our food here at THINQTANQ, and enjoy supporting our extended local community of producers. We order fresh local bread (Thorough Bread), veggie food for lunch (Veggie Yum) and other locally crafted items, such as JoJo’s home bakery treats, for our members. We’ve been known to support Plymouth Gin made around the corner.  So if it is fresh and local, we say, bring it on! We’re more healthy and happy, and then of course we work harder too. At least that’s our story and we’re sticking to it. Why don’t you come see for yourself?

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                    Work and play

                    July 30, 2014 in Coworking, new ways to work, workspace

                    IMG_2644IMG_3119Fishing boats and sailing boats. Work and play.

                    For some of us, each is very separate from the other. For others, work and play merge together as a matter of degrees. Is it merely the type of work you do, your lifestyle, or maybe attitude? Can some work be no different than play? “Find a job you love and youll never work a day in your life” – Confucius

                    I certainly believe that work can and should be fun. Work should also allow you to stretch a little beyond your comfort zone, and to learn new skills. If you are lucky, you will enjoy the people around you and thrive in their company.

                    Creating and contributing to a positive working place where people are respected, feel safe to try new things, and are valued for the skills and values they contribute is an important part of workplace engagement and overall happiness. These values can and should be a part of any place people are working, no matter what kind of work they are doing.

                    Everyone is part of the process of creating a positive workplace where everyone is valued. Even if you work alone at home, you should behave professionally and not undermine your own efforts! Treat yourself as you would a favourite colleague: encourage your best efforts and applaud the effort! And for all of us, remember to lighten up and enjoy yourself and your colleagues now and again. Work can and should be playful, if nothing else.

                    If you want to join a playful workspace, think about coming along to THINQTANQ, whether you work on your own or you need a change of space from your office. You’ll be amazed at how much you can get done when you change places for a day. Come visit and see what you think!

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