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The Gospel Of Coworking

Ashley Proctor
Creative Blueprint, COHIP & GCUC Canada

For International #Coworking Day, the Gospel according to Ashley Proctor, the High Priestess of Community Building:

A quick recap for those who think #coworking is ‘like WeWork’ or is about ‘sharing office space’ ❤️

We are not simply renting desks, providing coffee & WiFi. It’s not about the space itself. It’s about what happens when we work together.

Coworking is a model and a movement.

A genuine coworking community is built intentionally, and is curated and managed to encourage engagement, and to accelerate serendipity.
We are dedicated to serving our members while animating and cultivating the community itself. Above all else, we value collaboration over competition.

In a genuine coworking space:

We are breaking down barriers and building bridges between individuals and industries;

We are making entrepreneurship accessible;

We are inspiring and empowering our members;

We are sharing best practices and expanding our networks;

We are bringing people together and dismantling loneliness;

We are building and strengthening our communities;

We are protecting freelancer rights;

We are accelerating local economic development;

We are increasing productivity and the capacity of our member organizations;

We are ensuring the sustainability of social enterprises, independent workers and small businesses;

We are modelling reconciliation, diversity and inclusivity.

And collectively, we are shaping the future of work.”

Ashley Proctor
Creative Blueprint, COHIP & GCUC Canada
#CoworkingDay #InternationalCoworkingDay

Note: Join Ashley and the rest of the Coworking Tribe in Toronto at the Global Coworking Unconference Canada. It’s magical. Get Tickets Now!

Plano Coworking Weekly Check-In

December 29 @ 12:15 pm 1:15 pm CST

Log on with the Community Coworking lead team for a quick check-in and progress update. Shortly after the new year, we will be in “soft launch” mode and offering memberships for in-person and virtual coworking. If you would like to learn more . . . and especially if you would like to join the organizing team . . . log on to our weekly Zoom call and chat with us.

We need folks to support our lead team with:

  • Hospitality: Daily greeters who help members and guests navigate the campus
  • Event Planning & Production: Helping with all aspects of special events
  • Community Outreach: Connecting  with networks of businesses and non-profit organizations in the wider Plano community
  • Operations: Beta testing our systems – let’s break them ourselves before our guests
  • Marketing: Social media posts, website, photography
  • Coworking! If working from home just isn’t working for you anymore, we have plenty of room on campus for you to be safely distanced from others. (And we need to test our systems.)
  • More! If you have gifts and talents to share, we can probably put them to work!

Finally, if you just aren’t quite sure what this is all about, hop on the call. We would love to share how this innovative use of the campus will be Connecting  God & Grace to Self & Community in the new year.

Plano Community Coworking

View Organizer Website

Plano Community Coworking

3160 E Spring Creek Pkwy
Plano, TX 75074 United States
+ Google Map
(972) 423-4506
View Venue Website

What’s Community Animation in a Coworking Space?

Someone pinged me on LinkedIn the other day. It was a franchise owner of a large commercial real estate-based workspace company here in Dallas. He mentioned that he was working on converting an office building into a more flexible, functional coworking space.

I wrote back and said, “Well, hey! When it’s time to animate that space, I’m your gal.”

His response? “Animating a coworking space … I’m not familiar with this.”

“Animating” a Coworking Space?

What does animating a coworking or other community space look like?

Well, the LinkedIn exchange about this reminded me of the time I was asked by a consultant to meet with him at the Dallas Cowboys coworking space. This was pre-pandemic, so on the day of our appointment, I drove there for our meeting.

Right away, I ran into a little bit of a hurdle: I couldn’t figure out where to park.

Or how to get in.

All of it was very confusing. (Priya Parker would be appalled.)

But eventually I got my bearings and went in, and oh my wow, the space was just gorgeous. Absolutely beautiful. Fine finishings everywhere. A spectacular view.

There was a fancy coffee bar with dedicated barista, along with multiple staff members at a very large front reception desk.

The place was absolutely empty.

The consultant and I met for a little while, but the space where we sat had heavy metal music playing that was VERY LOUD. (So loud.) We had to move twice before landing in a spot that wasn’t right under a speaker with this banging music, and where we didn’t have to raise our voices to talk.

We’d been there for quite a while when I excused myself to go to the restroom. I walked past all the marble, all this beautiful glass and leather. And I walked into the bathroom, and sat down to take care of my business.

Lo and behold: NO toilet paper.

None on the wall within reach. None in a cabinet.

None. Anywhere.

So I managed and eventually got out of there. Then I found one of the many, many staffers that had been around, and let them know about the lack of toilet paper. (They were very nice, and said thanks for letting them know.)

When Your Space Goes to Waste

The thing I noticed while I explored this gorgeous, finely-furnished space: none of the staff ever approached us to offer water or a yummy drinks from the fun coffee bar in the space. Nothing like that.

When I was ready to go  no one in the reception area talked with me. I stood there for quite a while waiting for the elevator.

Three staffers were at their computers, right in front of me. I mean, not even six feet in front of me, staring into their computers, and not a single one of them acknowledged that I was hanging around, or that I was about to leave.

No “have a nice day,” or “here’s my business card, please let me know the next time you want to come in.

As beautiful as the place was, there was no life to it.

That’s what I mean when we’re talking about animating a space. It’s putting as much of your budget, time, and attention into the people who are present in your space, as you do the furniture.

It’s More Than the Furniture

Community animation means noticing the most minute, mundane details that make people feel comfortable in a space. Especially the toilet paper.

Animating a coworking space is even more than greeting people at the door, although I recommend having at least one dedicated greeter to create an inviting experience.

Community animation is also about the events in a coworking space. It’s the intentionality around your programming, so that members can participate more fully. It’s creating opportunities for your coworkers: opportunities that accelerate serendipity and connection between community members.

Community animation helps to ensure we do our part, daily, in dismantling the loneliness that plagues so many people. Community animation is what elevates an executive office suite with sexy couches into a truly successful coworking space.

Because people are always more important than furniture.


Learn more about community animation and find resources over at Big Table.

Potluck Lunch

September 18 @ 12:00 pm 1:00 pm CDT

“Can I pick your brain?”

We get this question . . . a lot. And yes! You most certainly can. But we’re going to do it all at once and all together. So hop in any Friday at noon Central Time. Bring your lunch and feel free to talk with your mouth full.

This is a Google Meet call, not Zoom. So arrive a little early so you can mess with the tech and check your hairdo and lighting.

We will do a quick check in and then jump right into the Q&A.

R.S.V.P. with the link below and call info will be sent with your confirmation. See you there!

Table Coworking

(469) 759-3529

Coworking + Churches for Microschools: Open Q&A

July 31 @ 12:00 pm 1:00 pm CDT

An open online conversation for to focus on the back-to-school crisis and how churches can host microschools for our coworking parents. We will have some special guests from Los Alamos, NM – but all are welcome!

It’s a Google Meet call. 

Some additional information:

The coworking movement is putting our talents into action to create innovative solutions for our childcare / back-to-school crisis. Many spaces are forming microschools on their premises, but others are not well suited for it.

Enter churches! Churches are exceptionally well suited to swing into action and provide space for pods of kids to safely do their school work and allow their parents to get back to their work. 

At this point, there are no strategic plans or best practices in place. This is completely grassroots community organizing. But it is the right time to see the church step in when our neighborhoods really need her.


Here’s more information about efforts happening in Atlanta, where we have interest from the parents of 20+ children and youth. 


Details

Date:
July 31, 2020
Time:
12:00 pm – 1:00 pm CDT
Website:
https://meet.google.com/sqk-kdmg-vzy

Organizer

Table Coworking
Phone:
(469) 759-3529
Email:
daryn@tablecoworking.com

Balance: Just Try.

This month, our friends at Every Monday Matters are stressing the importance of “balance.” Just reading that word – how did you feel? Sometimes it’s just another thing on a long list of things we can’t seem to get right. So then we get discouraged and find ourselves at the bottom of a pint of ice cream staring a a pile of unpaid bills and wondering what’s for dinner. 

<<Oh. Just me? Okuurrrr>>

Maybe it’s ok to just try. To just make this choice instead of that one. So, rather than this life-changing shift that seems so difficult, it’s just a series of little moves in a certain direction. Some days it might be two steps forward and one step back. Some days there may be no movement at all. But like strengthening any muscle, it will get easier.

Another thing . . . you get to choose what this means for YOU. Silent meditation may not be your jam. It may just be that thing that allows your brain to switch modes.

Finally, after this past weekend and the senseless horror of innocent people being killed, life seems extra cruel and confusing and we feel a little hopeless. Do you realize that, for some of our cowoking members, your smiling face might be the only real human connection they have in their day? Loneliness is a killer and we are on the front lines. This is the best time to understand how important it is to care for our own mental health as well, so that we can be our best selves for our families and our communities. 

EMM says:

“Balance can feel like a big word—and an even bigger life goal. We know the benefits of having a balanced life (including more rest, being healthier and more open, and lower stress), but this doesn’t mean we necessarily achieve it in our lives. And, just when we find some balance, we can quickly lose it. Well, there’s no easy answer to all of this, but what we can tell you is that achieving balance starts with a good, long look at your life. And then, you simply start trying. That’s really it. So start by looking at your life and asking what you can change or move around to create more balance. What things can you add, take away, or keep the same? It might mean putting your phone down and going on a hike once a week to breathe in some fresh air and get perspective. Or it could might mean meditating for 30 minutes each day. For others, it might be tending to their gardens or indoor plants. Whatever it is, it’s important to remember that balance doesn’t mean that every part of our lives is perfect. We’re still going to feel emotions. And, we still live in a dynamic world that continues to challenge our balance. It just means that we have the tools to balance ourselves out. So this month, get ready to try and try again to get balanced, and have fun doing it. Getting balanced matters.’

A Love Letter from Office Nomads

Leave it to the incomparable Susan Dorsch of Seattle’s Office Nomads to reduce me to a puddle on a Thursday afternoon. It’s been a minute since I was an active daily Community Manager. I can remember when I would go sit in my car for a bit just to catch my breath. There were always piles of things to do – projects and marketing and new members and . . .

Thats Mike, exhausted from his waffle-making duties at Seattle’s Office Nomads.

But there were connections and conversations. There was creativity and MAGIC! This post captured so very well a thing that is so hard to describe without living it.

As you ride the bus home, you think “Did I actually do anything today?” It feels like the list of things to do only got longer. It’s like everything happened and nothing happened all at once. But there was coffee. And cookies. Laughs. Learning. Printer troubles. And we’ll do it all again – or something altogether different – tomorrow.

It’s almost impossible to describe to churchfolk! How can this daily grind of being a daily grind possibly create the kind of elevated environment we somehow think is church?

The most important work you do is the work you do every day to foster a safe, comfortable, and supportive community. The members in front of you (not the potential ones “out there” waiting for you) and the community they help create are what makes your coworking community stand out from the rest. The connections you have with one another are your north star. Those days where you felt like you got nothing done because you were talking with members all day? Those are probably the days you are doing the most work to keep your business strong and healthy. And when new members come to your doors they’ll see the love and energy that is created in your space and they’ll want to stay.

That’s it exactly. It’s where the sacred is found in the mundane. And you don’t have to subscribe to any particular set of beliefs. You just know.

Thanks, Susan.

Dreamy, juicy, lovely GCUC: Banff edition — Infinite Zenergy

This hopeless romantic has always held a big place in her heart for the
Canadian Rockies. The same can also be said about the coworking industry.
So when the opportunity arose for those two worlds to collide, it was a
no-brainer that I absolutely had to be there
— Read on www.infinitezenergy.com/blog/2018/10/26/dreamy-juicy-lovely-gcuc-banff

Laugh to Keep from Crying.

I love telling folks about Every Monday Matters. For those of us who crank out content for a living, having resources for truly good content is gold. I love the idea of having a shared focus, even for a brief moment, with zillions of other people. And they often provide ideas for simple acts of kindness and general better-world making.

EMM came to my attention through our friends, Bret and Rachel Wells. Apropos of this post, Bret is one of the laugh-out-loud funniest people I’ve ever known. I seem to recall that they had begun using EMM’s content with their church after one of the mass school shootings a few years ago. The message that “you matter” was a powerful response to the lost souls who got their hands on weapons and destroyed lives.

One of the mass school shootings.

It’s horrifying that I can’t even remember which one. This becomes part of my introduction to Every Monday Matters.

And here we are. On another Monday. After another shooting.

This one hit literally close to home. Santa Fe, Texas is only about 15 miles from my hometown, Texas City. Throughout the day on Friday, I thought of friends and family who might have teenagers there. My stepsister, old high school friends, a cousin.

Oh, yes, I have thoughts and commentary on gun control (for it), God in schools (always there – doesn’t need an invitation), mental health (always underfunded), doors (huh?), video games (ugh) and all the rest.

But I return to Bret and Rachel’s idea that folks need to know that they matter. We need to KNOW, really KNOW, that we matter. What does that even look like? What does it feel like? It’s hard to know, but perhaps one of the ways we know is when we are laughing with others who care about us. Or with whom we share a love for good humor, or just a silly joke.

It’s laughter that breaks through any mood and catches us by surprise. Laughter can literally make us spit a drink out of our nose! We can laugh through tears. Sometimes we can’t hold back a laugh even in completely inappropriate sad situations. Ever get the giggles and just can’t stop?

Laughter is powerful!

So, it’s ok to laugh even after such a tragedy. Not only is it ok, EMM reminds us that laughter is healing – to our mind, body and spirit.

We have all heard the saying, “Laughter is the best medicine.” It is one of the truisms we have always embraced and believed, usually without taking it too literally. However, science has proven that laughter truly is a medicine. Laughter reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, boosts T cells, increases endorphin levels, burns calories, and improves general well-being. How many medicine bottles or pharmaceutical commercials list benefits like these on their products? Not many. This week, try some medicine that’s really good for you, and LAUGH LIKE YOU MEAN IT. Find time to laugh so hard that it hurts. You know, the kind of laughter where it feels like you just did 50 sit-ups, and you have to push your cheeks in with your hands because they are so sore. Remember the things that have made you laugh for years and bring more of them back into your life. Try going to a comedy night, playing a game with friends, or watching a classic comedy flick. And, don’t be afraid to discover new things that tickle that funny bone of yours. Whatever makes you laugh, do it again and again… and again. Let’s bring more humor and laughter back into our lives—because it is good for us, and because it is a ton of fun. Laughing matters.

Go on. It’s ok. Laugh like you mean it.

Laugh like you matter.

Here are some professionals trying to keep it together though this sketch. Warning: slightly offensive. And don’t be drinking anything!