Tash Thomas: Coworking And The Euro Cup Final

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This episode we are jumping in with Tash Thomas, our Director of Diversity, Equality & Inclusion and a Spice Girl on weekends. 

As we all know the Euro World Cup has taken place and then there was this outpouring of racism from a small minority of individuals in the UK, and we’re going to talk about how we can help in the Coworking movement and with all our freelancers and small businesses in the Coworking ecosystem, rather than simply tweeting and getting upset on Twitter.

How do we begin to help educate each other?

The diversity and inclusion Handbook, which has kind of been in the works for a little while now is essentially that stepping stone. I think that’s what you just articulated there as people don’t really know how to begin where to start outside, you know, you reshare a post and you comment on something saying, you know, I don’t agree with this, this is disgusting, or whatever else, but actually outside that people are kind of little stuck with actually what are the everyday actions that I can do what? How do I hold accountability for myself? And how do I take responsibility for my part to play in global like — in society and making this better.

And the handbook is about giving people first of all, understanding somewhat of an understanding of the situation itself. And I also want to extend this not just looking at in context of racism, and race, it extends in terms of diversity and inclusion as a whole topic. 

So if we’re focusing on protected characteristics, there are nine protected characteristics in the UK Equality Act 2010. And that generally tends to be where majority if not all, that’s where all sort of diversity initiatives start, whether those nine protected characteristics, and now also being aware of additional ones like socio-economic impact in class, also having an impact with regard to diversity and inclusion. 

So it’s about assessing, you know where you are, in this conversation, where your current, maybe gaps of awareness, blind spots set? And then understanding how you can shift that? What are the things that are the actions you can take, in order to change your immediate environment. So whether that’s the Coworking space you own, the Coworking space you manage, or even use, how what are the actions you can take within that space to improve the status quo there, and to shift some of the systemic biases that potentially already sit within that space that have sat there for a while that have gone unchecked for a very long time because nobody has stood up and accounted them.

What was the help you needed from listeners about member journeys?

As part of the handbook I really want to have everyone sort of look at there are lots of different ways that we can actually impact an inclusive culture within our spaces, as I’ve said, and one of those places is actually looking at the member journey. 

So i.e. the journey of somebody first coming into interaction with your space and then eventually obviously becoming a member and also how to use that space over the years. And then subsequently, if they choose to leave at the end of it, what that looks like. 

And it’s a technique that we use a lot when I’m working with corporations is that through each part, each part of that journey, there is a touch point at which we can maybe delve into the processes, procedures or current ways of doing things that actually we then realise, oh, maybe that’s not inclusive as it could be. Whether that’s in terms of the membership application, and the criteria it’s asking about and asking for before members sign up. Okay, well, how inclusive is that? Maybe it’s about the orientation process and how that happens in the space? And is that as inclusive as it could be? Is it already sort of creating an “Us and Them” atmosphere? Is it just in terms of before we even got to that step? 

Is it in your social media, you’re signposting and your outward facing message and just looking at each of these touch points and saying, Let’s Okay, let’s look at them with a critical lens through the lens of diversity and inclusion specifically, it’s one thing to have diversity represented. It’s another thing to have inclusion actually felt within your space. And actually, okay, let’s look at what is the inclusive piece they are, allowing members and potential members to feel included in this space.


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