When my business partner and I left our previous jobs, we worked from our respective homes to get the ball rolling. This revealed our strong distaste for working on a desk next to the place you sleep. We began fervently searching for cheap office space. We stumbled across a site called Desks Near Me and Inspire9 was the first result. This was our introduction to Coworking.
“Coworking is a style of work which involves a shared working environment. Unlike in a typical office environment, those coworking are usually not employed by the same organization” - Wikipedia
Google image searching the term, you get an accurate representation of the look and feel for most Coworking offices. You could be forgiven for thinking that Coworking might refer to an interior design style, alongside Tuscan or Contemporary Classic. The staples appear to be floor-boarded converted warehouses with red brick walls, ceiling-drop electrical looms, an eclectic collection of Ikea desks and colour clashing couches. There is no style guide for Coworking spaces, so perhaps these curated inclusions target those that reside or frequent the spaces; creatives, freelancers, contrarian thinkers, doers.
But Coworking is much more than it’s visual aesthetic. This veneer encapsulates an open and tight-knit community. The fact that Coworking spaces are popping up everywhere alludes to the appreciation coworkers have for social stimulation. The value for us isn’t the desk or free WiFi. It’s the opportunity to immerse yourself in an environment with like-minded people and nurture the potential to collaborate.
What stuck out for me, especially after having worked in a corporate office, is the complete absence of typical office politics. The lack of a corporate pecking order seemingly allows the inhabitants to just get along. It takes a bit of getting used to. There’s no gossip, or bitching about managers, or backstabbing to ascend the ladder. Water cooler conversations aren’t contrived and an airTunes democracy means that the Backstreet Boys will seldom pollute the air.
You don’t have to look back very far to see how this community in particular rallies together. Last week Kealey, an integral part of the Inspire9 community, had her iPhone stolen at approximately 10pm while an event was being held at the office. The next morning, another resident organised an online fundraiser account via Pledgie and shot off a few emails. Within three hours the target amount was reached and by 4pm that day, Kealey was surprised with a new iPhone on her desk. This was collectively referred to as restoring the balance.
This behaviour isn’t advertised as a selling point. It’s not stipulated in a Google document as an expectation, nor is it asked of anyone that walks in through the doors. It is simply the aligning of values amongst those that are attracted to the space. I personally have never experienced anything like it.
I’ve always felt that if Peacock Studio was to grow substantially, I could never see it leaving a coworking scenario or opting for a stand alone office. Peacock Studio didn’t have a website for it’s first year, such was the workload generated from within Inspire9′s walls. So apart from being a place that makes me spring out of bed every morning, It’s also a large reason that we’re still around after two years.