Things to Look for In a Coworking Office

The Interior/Exterior

This may same an odd tactic but start with the things you don’t want. Like fluorescent lighting, uncomfortable chairs or just plain ol ugly. Yes this is the first superficial layer of finding a co working space thats suitable for you. Your environment can play a huge role on your inspiration. Again this could all depend what line of career you are in, some people could care less. Meanwhile some shudder at the dull, innocuous glow of artificial lighting.

Humans

The balance between too much in common and nothing in common. While a lot of people out there search for others just like them, this can actually do more harm than good in the long run. Sharing core values and morals ought to be placed above anything else. You can learn a lot from people who are opposites. They’ll challenge you, and this helps with growth. There’s a universal rule that two of the same things cannot exist in the same place at once, one must go. So embrace the unique differences between all of us and immerse yourself with an array of humans.

Morals 

Basically all humans came with them whether they know it or not. You want to work in a place that is aware of their basic virtues. This will give you a feeling of peace, security and a sense of trust. If you forgot your phone at work, you want to breath a sigh of relief, not despair. You’ll know that it’ll either be OK for the night or returned. Your favourite coffee mug will be just where it was the day before. You also want to be around other people who will encourage the best behaviour in yourself, and potential. Call it osmosis, but our awesome neurons tend to mirror the people we are with.

Clean and Maintained

Check to make sure there’s a weekly cleaning person, not just someone in the office who got assigned to the take out the garbage and wash the dishes scenario. Nobody there should be doing any of that. Your focus is on what you are working on and not having to whale eye mess that someone may have forgotten to tidy. This by no means become a Dirty Magurty yourself. Treat the place well.

Look for signs of maintenance, fresh paint, new renovations. This is a good sign the owners care about the place and the persons inside.

Furniture

Beware of risky and non ergonomic pieces of furniture, your back and whole body will thank you. While some places fill their studios with cheap desks, chairs, poor lighting, your best bet is to look at long term. Ask how will sitting here for x hours a day have an effect on your physical well being? 

Location

Look for a place that helps you connect with others, and allows you to get work done. Some locations are more of a distraction. They may be trendy but you might end up falling behind in projects or being side tracked. Check for public transit and that it’s easy to access, with out too many transfers or travel time. Give yourself about 40 minutes maximum, this allows you to get out of your usual vicinity and to venture to different parts of your city.

Before and After Renovations

There’s always something about transformations that fascinates humans, the before and after, the make-over. From ancient Greece to the modern day shows like Top Model, or 80’s cartoons She-ra, the theme runs from homes, businesses, and personal lives.

So here is StartSpace, which began it’s renovation journey February 2014, which took a few months to complete. Starting from the inside, this charming victorian house went through a major process. From the floors up to the ceiling, every room, entrance, bathroom and even lighting was worked on. Even to this day improvements are constantly being made, a fresh coat of paint on the exterior, new sign beside the door, and it is very well maintained.

Now it is filled with Herman Miller furniture, bamboo desks, free coffee, amazing people and a creative atmosphere.

renobasement

renorenoBoard

Introverts and Coworking

We all know that person, who is mainly a recluse, quiet and reserved. The question is how will they feel coworking? It might depend on their perception, external influences and what goals they have.

From personal experience I can say that it’s actually wonderful. There are times when I need some quiet, and the lounge provides that. I’m human too so I understand the importance of connecting with others. There needs to be a balance. It’s also important to meet a variety of people. If I just surround myself with people too similar, there’s this boredom and staleness that arises. At first it’s great but over time, not so much.

There was a time when that’s all I wanted in every aspect, school mates, relationships, coworkers, the whole lot! But it gets vapid after a while, even listening to the same bands as your friends. There’s this outdated belief about having things in common with people as important, turns out to be a huge myth.

This is where coworking comes in, even for the introvert. Everyone has something unique to offer, whether its new insights or a fresh take on a project. Feed back is also critical for development, and if it’s just you, there will always be a personal bias and some blind spots. It’s always a blessing to shed some light on the more difficult aspects of being an entrepreneur, and to keep your morality up. As much as I love being an introvert, we’re all in one way or another interdependent. Coworking has also taught me to look at my weak spots, acknowledge them and work with them. Never deny them. Sure I have strengths as well but both go hand in hand at the end of the day.

There are times when I just crave that Nomad alone time, just me, the quiet, and the project I’m working on. A good coworking space will respect and honour that, we each have our own ways of working, and knowing what works best for each of us. I find throughout the day there are fluctuations in creativity, being introverted, wanting to socialize, and that’s just how it goes. I’m a huge fan of flexible hours, and everything coworking spaces have to offer.

Good Morning Monday!

It’s a beautiful summer day. There’s a light whispering breeze with scents of flowers, birds are hopping around in search of the next great bread crumb, and the usual hustle and bustle of Toronto.

It’s one of those days where you want to be socializing, and keeping the creative energy going. Isolation can have devastating effects on us humans, if you add in stress and exhaustion – it’s a concoction for disaster. Not just us but everyone around us. Some call it Cabin Fever, think of the movie The Shining. Ok, maybe not that extreme. There’s also a great episode of The Twilight Zone – “Where is Everybody?” and that pretty much sums up the effects.

Our environments can also effect us, now I’m not saying we all need to up and move to The Hills, but we can take steps for our well being. While our living situation or workplace situation may not be ideal, there are solutions. Decorate with what you can, familiar photos, trinkets, books, lighting,  whatever enables your self expression. Keep in good company, and watch who you are with, as the old adage goes, you become like the five people closest to you.

Another great solution is coworking. You can collaborate with other people, network, connect and have healthy social interactions. It helps ward off isolation of endless hours at home, and distraction from coffee shops. You can meet all kinds of people with different perceptions, opinions, and ideas. This helps us grow, keep an open mind, and learn. You might run into a really difficult problem, and cannot figure out a solution. With coworking chances are someone has been through it and can offer sound advice, words of wisdom and encouragement.

How It All Started

Not so long ago we were working from our condo, at first it was great. No commuting, start when you wanted, wear what you wanted. After a while though, there was no separation from work and it got to be pretty isolating. There’s also the distractions of t.v. or wanting to take naps.

Sometimes we’d hit up a local coffee shop. More often that not it would be loud, no outlets, limited space, limited wifi and you couldn’t leave your belongings alone for too long unattended. By the end of the day we got the jitters from having to drink coffee so we would’t get kicked out. Also the added costs of  drinks and not so nourishing food was adding up. 

This put a lot of strain on our startup business. Also if we wanted to hire new employees  there was no where to put them. No way for us to guarantee a seat in a cafe, and limited space at home. As things picked up rapidly for us, a decision had to be made. 

So here we are.

Our team which grew, took up residence at 78 Berkley St. It’s a charming victorian house, that we put over six months of renovations into. So now there’s room, not only for us, but any startups or entrepreneurs looking for an ideal work space. It’s got everything from Herman Miller furniture, secure private entrances, a board room, a terrace, full kitchens – and the list goes on.