Friday, September 10, 2010

Coworking: Creating a sustainable city

vancouver office space IMG00990 20100825 1956 1 300x225 Coworking: Creating a sustainable city

Coworking is more than just a distributed-working model. It’s a philosophy and an exercise in community-building. Coworking offers numerous opportunities to implement sustainability/greening initiatives in the workplace. Coworking also helps address several of the objectives proposed in the Greenest City action plans and programs. Here, we focus on the following aspects – affordability, sustainability, diversity, focus on the creative city/creative economy, and local economic development.

So how does coworking fit into the “Greenest City in the World by 2020″ proposed by Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson?

By sharing offices and resources with each other, the cost of rent for each business is brought down significantly.   The community built in at a coworking space provides more than workspace, it provides smart solutions and networking opportunities with other businesses in the same space. As cost of doing business and real estate increases, coworking helps lower the pressure of inflation by spreading the cost of acquiring a professional space to work.

Sharing resources among businesses means we cut down a significant amount of wastes compared to if each businesses set out to have their own office space.  From paper, utility, napkins and supplies – a community sharing resources to cut down waste helps set the foundation for a micro sustainable micro-city in each coworking space.  Bikes are encouraged mode of transportation and most coworking spaces such as ours have installed showers for people who bike to work.

Freelancers, startups, small businesses and entrepreneurs from various backgrounds and phases are found in coworking spaces, the diversity is vast but that’s not all that is exciting – it is the innovation and mutual inspiration that comes with diversity that is particularly important for a sustainable and creative city.  The brain power that arises from bringing like-minded folks from diverse professions together in one place is powerful.

Productivity isn’t the only significant benefit developed as a result of coworking, there is also an increase of creative input.  Diversity of skills in one room is a unique strength of coworking.  Freelancers, entrepreneurs, small business owners collaborate on joint projects, consult each other and have even started companies together.

By creating an affordable, flexible and smart space for people to work from,  coworking nurtures and breeds a collaborative culture within the space. The collaborative culture gives rise to a community – strangers becomes coworkers who share ideas and interest with each other. Professional and personal relationships are built from working with other businesses in the same space. This gives each coworking member a powerful network of professional and personal resources through the other members of the coworking space.  The flexibility in lease agreement gives breathing room to new businesses uncertain of their financial situations and alleviates the tremendous amount of stress that comes with a long term iron-clad contract.  Coworking breeds a collaborative community that supports each other and more importantly, it nurtures businesses that grows up and give back to the local economy through jobs and investments.

At The Network Hub we have provided a launch pad for more than forty companies during our 4.5 years of existence and our involvement in the local freelance/entrepreneur/tech communities is well-known. We enjoy building community and look forward to continue our work in strengthening the local entrepreneurial community.

Posted via email from minna's posterous