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What is coworking?
co-working with a hyphen,
coworking without a hyphen,
these are words that are now coming into everyday parlance.
Coworking is an idea, it's a noun,
it's also an action,
the coming together of people, the working together.
Coworking for me is about being far more than an office.
It's about people, their ideas,
actions, all contained within a physical space.
It's about building and celebrating and sharing a human network.
We do all of these things in order to make stuff happen.
Coworking is where you work with your colleagues from your own organization,
alongside other people from other organizations.
It's far more than just the desks and the Wi-Fi and the Internet,
and the coffee, and the location,
it's all about the human connections,
the relationships, the learning, the development,
the serendipity that can happen when
you're sharing a physical resource base with each other.
The impact of coworking.
Coworking has boomed all over the world,
but let's think about why coworking will help employees and self-employed people,
startups, freelancers, why it helps companies recruit and
support their staff who are working remotely or who no longer have an HQ office to go to.
I'm going to tell you some quantitative and qualitative data from the melting pot,
which is Scotland Center for Social Innovation.
We've been pioneering coworking since 2005,
a really early adopter and pioneer in this industry.
We have masses of
qualitative and quantitative data for how our services increase productivity,
motivation, and well-being, and how we decrease isolation,
increase equality in the workplace.
In terms of our impact,
we're going to look at three areas,
equality, well-being, and impact.
Unlike many coworking hubs,
particularly in certain industries like tech that can be very male orientated,
we have a very equal gender divide in our coworking hub,
very 50-50 men and women of different ages who we
support because we allow people to work very flexibly,
they can scale up from just a few hours a month to a few hours a week,
a few days a week.
They can grow and contract the business as needed.
It really helps, particularly women in the workplace,
to run their often part-time business or who are in part-time jobs. In terms of well-being,
we are constantly hearing how the melting pot and
working from that facility helps people's sense of well-being.
Many of our customers are small or micro-businesses,
but not all of them.
Ninety-five percent of our members feel that they belong to a community.
This is a really important factor,
not only for us as a business in retaining their custom,
but for them in their sense of personal identity and who they associate with,
can come into contact with or could get business through and support through.
We know that our customers value a safe,
enjoyable, friendly places to work,
and the ability to close it down.
If you worked from home,
as I know many people now are,
you'll appreciate that it can be very difficult to get
differentiation between work and home life.
Going to an office,
even for half a day or a day or two days a week,
can provide people with structure.
It can also provide people with security in terms of who they meet and where they meet.
You're not going to invite people into your home this included pre-COVID landscape.
You weren't going to invite certain people into your home for a business meeting,
particularly if you're female or have children,
etc, in your home.
What's very important for people's well-being,
is feeling part of the community,
where they feel that they can ask questions,
ask for support, and also provide it.
We know that people's mental well health is
increased when they feel that they've been of assistance to other people.
You feel good about yourself,
and when you're frustrated because you're struggling with someone, with something,
having someone to come and help you and offer you
a little bit moral or practical support is
a great boost to your day and stops the frustration and tiredness building.
In terms of impact,
we know that our members do business with each other,
support each other on projects,
and help each other.
This has massive impact on their ability to work efficiently and effectively,
and to deliver upon the goals that they set out in their business.
We also know through social capital lens,
that people do business with people that they know and trust,
or that are recommended to them by people that they know and trust.
It's just how life is.
If you have an expanded professional network,
because you are part of the coworking community,
you can ask for support, ask for sign-posting.
If a 180 members,
which is what we have in the melting pot,
are asked a question of,
do you know someone who can fix my website,
helped me with branding,
make main introduction to x,
tell me where funding source is,
etc, that's a 180 eyes and ears
helping you to develop your business and reach your goals.
These are important things that help create impact.