Let’s Have Some Fun . . . Seriously.

When did everything get so serious?

During the month of May, our friends at Every Monday Matters remind us that we are allowed to have a little fun:

Sure, we get it. We all have responsibilities—there’s homework to do, deadlines at work, errands to run, chores to finish, bills to pay, exercise to get in—but that doesn’t mean we’re not supposed to enjoy life. We’re allowed to have a little bit of fun. So, we have two options to consider, and frankly, we think they are both good ones. First, we can switch up our mindset and choose to find more fun in our responsibilities. Instead of thinking, “Ugh, I need to go to the gym,” how about looking for the good and saying, “I love going for a run because I get to be outside, see people and nature, and feel great when I’m finished”? See, exercise just got a whole lot more appealing and fun. Now, just apply the same shift to the rest of our responsibilities. The second option is about carving out space for adding new and fun experiences to your life. Yes, we are all really busy, but we still get to engage in fun. So this month, get ready to feel great, smile, laugh, dance, play games, connect with friends, and create fun in your own way. Are you already smiling just thinking about it? That’s how powerful and important having fun truly is. Fun matters. #YouMatter

Just taking the two minutes watching this video had us grinning. And realized that it was the most fun thing we had done all day.

But! The day is not over! This week, we are reminded to CONNECT LIVE.

The average person gets 58 hours of “free time” each week—time that we aren’t working, going to school, doing chores, eating, or sleeping. Not too bad. However, of the 58 hours, the average person spends 50 of those precious hours looking at a screen for entertainment. Ouch. That’s 50 hours connected to a screen with little to no live, in-person connection. This week, we’re challenging you to put down your devices, and get together with people around you IRL. That’s right, “in real life.” Get ready to CONNECT LIVE. Life is meant to be done together. Humans are social creatures, and we find meaning, purpose, and fun in one another. So come up with something you love doing and do it with someone else. Maybe it is going to a concert or a cultural event, or maybe it is sharing a meal together or taking someone out for coffee to catch up. Or, if time is too short to connect in person this week, then make a phone call instead of sending a text or Instagram message. The opportunities and ideas for connecting in person are endless—it’s just a matter of placing more value on our relationships and the fun that we can have together rather than spending all of our free time distracted on our devices. Let’s create more memories together. Connecting live matters.

At Table Coworking, we love to gather folks in simple, no-cost, no-agenda ways. Usually there is shared food. But we also love dog parks and gardens and yoga mats and kitchens.

How does your shared workplace make intentional space for folks to connect, well, unintentionally?

Every Tuesday, connect with us at SyncLife Coworking‘s Potluck Lunch. Bring something to eat and something to share. And remember, your leftovers are new to us!

The Toxicity of Loneliness

It’s always a good time to share this video. Though it is slightly out of date, it is still the very best reminder of why coworking in a church makes so much sense.

Yes, we promote creativity.
Yes, we support productivity.
But the very most important thing we do in the coworking movement is to help you feel connected to other people.

Recently, our friend Cat Johnson posted:

An increasing number of studies are finding that loneliness has a profoundly negative effect on our well-being. University of Chicago psychologist John Cacioppo told Vox, “The level of toxicity from loneliness is stunning.”

A 2007 study found that the white blood cells of people suffering with loneliness appeared to be “stuck in a state of fear,” with chronic, systemic inflammation and suppressed activity in genes involved in fighting viruses.

This response to loneliness is similar to the physiological response to other chronic stress situations, including post-traumatic stress. Loneliness is also a huge stressor on the heart.

In fact, last year, the coworking movement launched an initiative to begin to remove the stigma around mental health illness.  CheckYoMate was inspired by the loss of a beloved coworking member, Bennett, who suffered from mental illness. Bennett unexpectedly passed away last year and left his community wondering if they could have done more.

Churches often struggle to foster the kinds of deep relationships that require more time than Sunday mornings allow. Even at our lowest point, we can often manage to fake a smile and get through the pleasantries of coffee and donuts before the service. And that’s not nothing! Even that glimpse of “normal” can be enough to inspire a troubled soul to make it through the week.

But if we can provide a daily gathering place where folks can drop their masks and be their authentic selves, it might just have a ripple effect that in turn inspires a partner, a family, a neighborhood . . . a world.


h/t to Cat Johnson. She is a writer and content strategist focused on coworking and community. She blogs about coworking and content at catjohnson.co and publishes the Coworking Out Loud Newsletter. We rely on her content all . . . the . . . time. Thanks, Cat!

Coffee, Beer & Tampons

Let’s talk about feminine hygiene products.

Wait! Don’t go! Take a deep breath, guys. You can power through this.

Look around. 51% of the people you see need these products on a roughly monthly basis. They are expensive. They are taxed. They are not readily available. We actually have to plan ahead to have them on hand. We are too often caught by surprise.

One of the most caring things a coworking community can do is to solve this dilemma. A well-stocked basket full of a variety of kinds of products says to the women in your space:

“We care about you. We care about your health. We care about your productivity.”

Writer Christina Cauterucci writes in Slate, “Offices that provide a free stock of menstrual products in their bathrooms are making a small investment in their workers’ well-being that can yield disproportionate returns in morale and productivity.” She also cites stats from the UK’s Tampon Club.

She goes on to say, “as co-working [sic] spaces engage in an arms race of amenities to convince ever hipper companies to untether from old-school office setups, many have left their members to figure out menstrual supplies on their own. A DC space boasts that ‘you won’t find any carpets, water-coolers or Ikea’ there.’ You also won’t find any tampons or pads in the restroom. You will find free snacks, soda, beer, monthly catered lunches, and a ping-pong table.

A national brand offers beer and wine, plus members get fresh fruit, granola bars, Red Bull, twice-monthly breakfasts, and occasional in-office massages from professional massage therapists—all free. Menstrual products are some of the only amenities behind a paywall.

“Unless an individual building management company decides to provide them to members, tampons and pads are only available from bathroom vending machines. Another space that doesn’t offer menstrual supplies, does provide San Pellegrino, soda, snacks, and discounts at yoga studios. A member testimonial commends his space’s rotating artwork and Zen music. Members get free lattes, access to a fully stocked bar cart, and monthly catered lunches. If they bleed through their tampons, though, they’re out of luck.”

One of the challenges as a coworking member is that community managers often wait for requests from the members before there is a perceived need. Here, lemme help you out . . . IF YOU HAVE WOMEN IN YOUR SPACE, THERE IS A NEED. Sorry for yelling.

Oh, and another thing. She recounts the story of a woman helping a man get a new space started. On their shopping list, she added “more trash cans for ladies room.” He asked what happened to the one in there? This was her opportunity to enlighten him as to the need of individual ones within reach.

In The Mix Coworking, we offer amenity baskets in both men’s and women’s restrooms with all sorts of comfort items: hand lotion, mouthwash, emery boards, hairspray, and more. It’s also a demonstration of radical hospitality to the church folks with whom we share the space.

Creating awareness of this common need also expands our awareness of the needs of women in poverty among us. One of our members, Laura Harvey, initiated a holiday service project for  Take Charge. Period. While other spaces were having canned food drives, we had a feminine product drive called Party. Period. Some of our community members really got into it, even creating Christmas decorations out of products to adorn a little tree. It was hilarious.

After a few weeks, we had a mountain of products right there in the space and the conversations it sparked were rich. Men were astonished at how expensive they were. The food pantry folks had to prompt us that they needed more pads than tampons. The upper middle class white women were surprised to learn that women of other cultures, and immigrant women in particular, prefer pads.

Unexpectedly, the church upstairs needed to use the coworking space for Sunday church service around that time. We suggested to the pastor that he might offer some explanation as to why there was the aforementioned mountain of products in the space. He did and there was a smattering of uncomfortable giggles. After the service, an elderly woman with a cane sought me out and pressed a $10 in my hand. “Get those ladies what they need,” she said firmly, resolutely. It spoke to me about what she had experienced in a lifetime of the secret sisterhood of women.

But secrets are about shame, and shame prevents women from asking for what we need. So, if your space isn’t supplying what you need or doesn’t respond to your request, pool your resources with the other women in the space and make it happen.

And think about finding another space!

Resources:

  • Social Enterprise Supplier: Aunt Flow
  • Delivery service with organic cotton content: LOLA

8 Ways to Build Community Before Launching a Coworking Space

Editor’s Note: These are great tips from our friends at AllWork. Since leaving our signature space at The Mix Coworking, we have been “walking our talk” about coworking being about the community – not the space. PopUp Coworking (called “Jellies” here) are a great way to let folks try the coworking concept on for size, and better choose a space that’s right for them.

The coworking industry is growing at a staggering rate, with an estimated 11,000 spaces in 2016 and more than a million people coworking around the world this year.

Something those new to coworking may not understand, however, is that coworking has very little to do with the fabulousness of a coworking space and everything to do with a vibrant coworking community. Afterall, if people only needed a desk and wifi, they could work at home or from the nearest coffee shop.

If you don’t have a community of engaged people, your space will likely struggle.

The smartest coworking space operators and developers start building their community before they even have a space. As Andy Soell, cofounder of the Salt Mines coworking space, writes: “Building the space before building the community is the biggest way to ensure a false-start.”

Great coworking spaces are buzzing with energy and interactions. When there’s a strong sense of community, connections happen organically. People collaborate on projects, they offer advice and mutual support, they contract jobs to their fellow members, they brainstorm and white board ideas together, and they refer each other for outside gigs.

Here are eight ways to start building community before you launch your coworking space.

  1. Attend Meetups

Attend local Meetups for entrepreneurs, freelancers, designers, writers, developers and anyone else you’d like to be part of your coworking community. Find out what they’re working on and what their challenges are, then present coworking as a way to help them strengthen their network and take their business to the next level.

  1. Host Jellies

A Jelly is casual coworking event that takes place in a cafe, home, museum, park, meeting room, or wherever else you can find a space with seating and wifi. These can be a great way to introduce people to the concept of coworking.

As coworking pioneer Alex Hillman, who started Indy Hall in Philadelphia and hosts the Coworking Weekly Podcast, explains, Jellies were a “crucial step past talking about the idea of coworking, and into the realm of introducing people to the act of coworking.”

  1. Connect with your Chamber of Commerce and local business associations

Your local Chamber of Commerce may not be a perfect cultural fit for your coworking space, but mingling at Chamber mixers and local business association events is a great way to educate your community about coworking, find potential collaborators and partners, and possibly connect with a future member or two.

  1. Introduce yourself and your space at events

Some local networking events have an open mic portion where people can talk about their new business, project or idea. Embrace this opportunity to grab the mic and get in front of potential members, supporters and community partners.

  1. Host an unconference

An unconference is a conference in which the attendees determine what topics will be covered. People pitch ideas for breakout discussions, attendees vote for their favorites, then they break into groups to share knowledge, ideas and questions. Hosting a casual unconference is a good way to start cultivating a spirit of collaboration, mutual support and fun among potential members.

  1. Share your skills

Lunch and learns and other types of skillshares bring people together around shared interests. They also provide network-building opportunities for your future coworking community. Invite a standout designer, writer, coder, photographer, marketer, consultant, etc., to give a short presentation followed by a Q&A session. Be sure to have people introduce themselves and introduce your space and any upcoming community events or promotions.

  1. Social media and content marketing

While social media can’t replace face-to-face interaction, you can use social platforms to start creating culture around your space and build a community of interested people and supporters who may become members.

Content marketing is one of the most powerful, cost-effective ways to reach your ideal member. Determine who it is you’d most like to reach, how you can help them, and start creating content that speaks to their work, needs and challenges. Once you have their attention, invite them to become part of your community.

  1. Attend events as a group

Once you have the seeds of a community in place, start doing things together. Events and outings may be work-related, such as local networking events, but don’t limit yourselves to these. You can get together for coffee, a baseball game, a First Friday art stroll, a meal, or whatever else resonates with your community members.

Remember: A great building will only get you so far. To create a thriving coworking space, you need a community. Focus on bringing people together to support and inspire each other and you’ll be ahead of the game.

Do you have any community-building tips to add? In the comments, let us know. Be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook to join the conversation.


Cat Johnson is a writer and content strategist focused on coworking, community and the future of work. Publications include Shareable, Yes! Magazine, Mother Jones, Triple Pundit and GOOD. She’s the author of Coworking Out Loud, a guide to content marketing for coworking spaces and collaborative teams. Follow Cat on Twitter: @CatJohnson

Notes on the Coworking Movement

The FIVE core values of Coworking:

Comm­unity  |  Open­ness  |  Collab­oration  |  Sus­tain­ability  |  Accessibility.


While we consult for public and sacred spaces, we PopUp in various places on a regular basis. Why become a member of ScatterBrain Coworking?

  • You love the idea of coworking, but it’s out of your budget range right now.
  • You love the idea of coworking, but can’t commit to going to a certain place daily – your schedule just doesn’t work that way.
  • You’re not sure you love the idea of coworking, but you want to know what the big deal is.
  • You’re a fan of Daryn’s and want to help her have a sustainable business. (Love you, too!)
  • Plus these perks:
  • Snap! $25/month
    • An facilitated online community group to connect throughout the week
    • A monthly 1:1 session
    • A quarterly whiteboard check-in
    • Free check-ins to pop-up coworking
  • Crackle! $70/ 3 monthsAll the benefits of the monthly plan with a little price break and . . . A quarterly showcase of your business! Facilitate the day, make your pitch or get group collaboration.
  • Pop! $140 / 6 months
    All the benefits of the quarterly plan with a bigger price break and . . . Sponsorship! Including home page presence, blog feature, and more.

Register Here for Pop-Up Coworking Events


Our Table Coworking Partners:

Learn more about Justin Nygren the Social Impact space where it all began –  The Grove

Big Love to Amy King as she counts down the days til the opening of GoodWork

If you are in Oak Cliff, you need to meet Anastasia Munoz and become part of the vision of Arts Mission Oak Cliff.

It’s one day a week, but it’s a start! Decelerator with Ken Crawford at historic Central Christian Church of Dallas.

Our signature space in East Dallas at historic White Rock UMC, The Mix Coworking & Creative Space.

Where Katey Rudd makes everything grow . . . Haw Creek Commons in Asheville, NC.


Our Coworking Movement Partners:

These are the CrazyAmazing Humans who help us look up from the Daily Tasks and check out the Big Picture.

The Diva Herself, Liz Elam of Link Coworking in Austin and producer of the Global Coworking Unconference Conference. (It’s “Juicy.”)

The Coworkaholic Extraordinaire, Mike LaRosa of Communitas an producer of QTLY gatherings. Here he is being super smart and two years ahead of everything.

New Work Cities‘ Tony Bacigalupo. When Daryn tells the story about how coworking started in an apartment in Brooklyn, she’s talking about this guy. Now he’s offering Big Brain Space to the question of what will make it punk rock in version 2.0.

Last December, Daryn was invited to join a cohort at Harvard Divinity School (wha?) gathered by Casper TerKuile & Angie Thurston. They are researching the new forms of joyful belonging (like coworking) that are replacing church membership and attendance. Here are their reports.

Reports from the Spiritual Frontier

Hear the story of how the Missional Wisdom Foundation, inspired by The Grove Coworking, collaborated with White Rock United Methodist Church to create a space where people could connect with their neighbor and connect to their passion.

Reports from the Spiritual Frontier highlights stories of people who are working at the spiritual margins. Ben Yosua-Davis says,

Our interview with Daryn DeZengotita of the The Mix Coworking and theMissional Wisdom Foundation is now live! Join us for one of the most complete stories we’ve ever told of how The Mix took root in the basement of the White Rock UMC and the incredible ways it is cultivating community among those who work there.

You can find it by clicking on the link below or by visiting Itunes or your favorite podcast delivery service!

http://reports.buzzsprout.com/54897/417456-daryn-dezengotita

Are you interested in learning how you can transform underutilized space? Talk with us! We can help you dream of how to fill your space with conversation and creativity!