Gareth I. Jones, founder of TownSq shares his thoughts leading up to the London Coworking Assembly event taking place on 2 August: Coworking to Rebuild the City: Helping People Create Value in and for Our Communities.
“What I’m really interested in, and what we’re hoping to achieve with the workshop is for everyone to see the depth and conceive the range of ways that the space can provide value to a community. Whether it is the community within, or the community around it,” says Gareth.
The workshop will be focused on creating examples and getting people to realise what coworking spaces in the communities can provide, in terms of social value, and economic value.
Focus will also be given to ways on how to change some of the language around positive economic impact, and really highlight how the coworking space is truly our new modern piece of social infrastructure.
When we fully understand it we can make a big difference to communities, by supporting, enabling and providing them with the best tools, the best environment, and the best chance of success.
How to keep things local
When making use of your local coworking space, there are many benefits, not personally but to your community as well. For starters, transport is less expensive as you don’t commute to another city or town.
But, you also support your local community by going to the local coffee shop or having lunch at the local restaurant. This all contributes to the growth of your local economy.
When the local economy grows it makes people proud to be part of the community, Gareth says. He also says that things have changed in local communities. Five years ago you only seemed to be successful if you could travel out of your local community, now people find more pride in their communities and what to support them.
Local communities have gotten better at creating new opportunities for locals and young people, Gareth explains.
Gareth remarks that making use of a local coworking space can also lead to creating deeper and more meaningful relationships. This is because it becomes easier to quickly meet for a conversation rather than travelling more than 30 minutes simply to discuss a project.
The modern economy
As we all know, making money isn’t just about working for a bank or being a lawyer anymore. There are so many ways to earn a living wage without leaving your house (or travelling less that 10 minutes to a local coworking space) and simply working on a computer.
Those who make use of coworking spaces are all too familiar with the idea of freelancing or working for companies that aren’t even in your own country.
A good and local coworking space can give coworkers a clear idea of what the modern economy is all about. “You can sit down with an animator and ask them what they need to get their work done, like the tools and software that they need,” explains Gareth.
Within the local coworking space you can get an idea of how people are making money to afford their mortgages and put food on the table. Because local coworking spaces offer a more close-knit community it is easier to approach different people and listen to their stories.
The benefits of local coworking spaces
Just like parks and libraries, local coworking spaces can create a sense of community and belonging. When making use of these spaces you start to form spontaneous relationships with the people who also make use of it regularly.
You start to figure out everyone’s schedule and wave at the people. Some you might never speak, others become quite important to your life. And seeing these familiar faces on a daily basis creates a sense of belonging. It strengthens the community and becomes almost like an unspoken family that knows each other.
Making use of local coworking spaces is also more beneficial in terms of events. When your coworking space is hosting an event it is easier to support them as you live nearby and can attend evening events without having to stress about how you will get home.
It can also be beneficial to local talent as they have a chance to showcase their abilities and perhaps even grow their support system. Who knows, the next Warren Buffet might just be listening to you talk about your small business.
Attend the workshop
Join the workshop on 2 August, 09:30 am, at Queen Anne Suite, The Kingston Guildhall, High Street, Kingston KT1 1EU. Gareth will be discussing the topic: Helping People Create Value in and for Our Communities.