No, I am not talking about extraterrestrials or going all touch-feely on you. I am talking about coworking, currently trending in a city near you. For me, that’s Melbourne, and if there is one thing that Melbourne does well it is to pick up on a new trend and run with it.
Coworking hubs are changing the way people work; they offer individuals access to coworking spaces, learning opportunities and professional communities. A coworking community provides collaboration, inspiration and stimulation to its members. And they are on the increase everywhere.
I am writing this sitting among MacBook-toting hipsters and tablet-wielding suits at Hub Melbourne’s coworking laneway day, an initiative that brings together a disparate bunch of freelancers, contractors, solopreneurs (and those who like working in ‘different’ spaces) in an awesomely decked out laneway in the CBD (did I mention that they had beanbags? Free Wi-Fi? And most importantly, patio heaters?!). Looking around me, I am surprised by the level of serious activity. I have to admit I did think that most people would see this as an opportunity for a ‘jolly’, but no, I am being deafened by the sound of keyboard tap-tapping and intense conversations.
I spoke to some of my new coworkers to find out why they are here; for some they just wanted to get out of the house for the day – it’s lonely being a freelancer, especially those who don’t require face-to-face client meetings. For others, it’s the opportunity to make new contacts or learn something new (pop-up talks are happening throughout the day) that attracted them. For the rest (like me), the opportunity to work somewhere different for the day was the inspiration. Let’s face facts, it’s not every day the average office worker gets to hang out on beanbags and deckchairs, surrounded by astro turf and balloons and given complimentary mint tea. All the while being productive!
I am definitely a convert and will be looking at creating some coworking opportunities of my own so watch this space!