Cubicles, be gone!
Today our Third Place Meetup group had their first co-working event.
Well, it was our first experience of HOW co-working works and we had the privilege to experience it at Inspire9 in Richmond, just outside of Melbourne.
Katrina, our Community Space Captain was there to welcome us when the elevator took us to the first floor of this renovated warehouse, sign us into the Inspire9 online community and then show us around the space.
Inspire9 is a community that supports startups and freelancers in the growth of their business and its value comes from creating a community where people share ideas and responsibilities. While there, I spied a whiteboard with various events occurring in the week that included tax advice, mindfulness activities and also a bike maintenance service for its members.
To me it felt like a “workplace away from home in a home within a workplace“.
Six members of our meetup gathered and we were given a short tour of the various work spaces which cater for ‘drop ins’ or ‘residents’. The residents are all paid up subscription members who have access to the space and meeting rooms. Drop ins can come in once every two weeks for free and use the space to work and learn. There are various knowledge sharing events where members can talk about their businesses and pitches so they get to know what each other is doing.
Once you sign in, you have access to ‘Tribes” their online member community where you can find out more on what people are working on and connect with them.
We sat at the main table and introduced ourselves to each other and commented about what we thought about the space and how we can use it in our own respective line of work. Although we didn’t do any of our own actual work per se, to many of the people there today, the concept of co-working spaces were new and many had come along to learn more about them.
The overall impression was that the space provided an informal area where peers could learn, work and collaborate – and yes even play (there was a billiard table, ping pong table and Play Station plus a well-stocked kitchen).
The lines between work, play and learning are easily blurred here.
We all agreed that we could easily work together in this space and was totally different to many of our workplaces. The other thoughts we had was about having this “third place” to bring along and meet clients because there were meeting rooms that could be hired out or booked.
When I looked at my watch I couldn’t believe that we had been there for 3 hours already and it was lunchtime! Our animated discussions of all things training, learning and performance – talking about our work and our projects – and showing each other various websites and online places that we learn from meant that time zipped by.
We wandered over to a nearby coffee shop and had lunch finally ending the day at about 1:30 pm.
So for our first “experience of co-working“, it was an eye opener as we saw how our work and our lives melded seamlessly and through this we were networking and learning from each other. We shared ideas of how we can use this space and concept back in our own organisation – or in new roles – as well as talk about what this new way of work means to challenge and work with other’s reactions, fears and anxieties as we agreed that there was impact on what it means for us individually, for our teams and organisations.
The new networked way of work and learning will challenge many people and organisations.
The paradox was not lost on us.
On the plus side, there are no cubicles in this world.
- Carousel (Home Page) : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Photograph_of_the_Division_of_Classification_and_Cataloging,_1937.tif