I arrange #LnDcowork with my colleague and friend, Fiona McBride. Fiona and recently chatted about it as our one year anniversary came around. Here I kick us off thinking about #LnDcowork over the past year:
June 2016 saw the first anniversary of #LnDcowork. From the germ of an idea to get freelancers away from the loneliness of home working to come together to work, we now have a small movement of people who recognise the benefits of working with like minded people.
So given learning is our business, and all good learning needs time out for reflection, it seems a good time to review what #LnDcowork has been and is all about.
In essence it is about collaboration, and thus Fiona and I are here blogging collaboratively once again. We are keen to share what we have learnt, to reflect the ideas behind #LnDcowork and what works for us.
So Fiona, why don’t you kick us off with what #LnDcowork has meant to you over the past year?
I have been delighted by the success of #LnDcowork. I really enjoy being on Twitter, discussing topics and meeting new people online. But what I REALLY like is meeting people and having discussions face to face. For me you can’t beat it. So seeing #LnDcowork become a success really does make me smile.
The majority of people who have attended #LnDcowork have returned again and again. I like how we see people coming back; that tells me a lot! And it’s not just the connections I make with people that I like, it’s also the professional element of it. I have been able to share ideas and also help others by talking through work they are doing and giving a different perspective. We have seen individuals sharing ideas, giving each other advice and having fun. What about you Michelle?
Thanks very much Fi, for your thoughts. I agree, especially about the value of sharing ideas. For me personally, the one thing I have really benefitted from is simply the ability to ask a random question and get an instant answer. For example, I was recently working on some factsheets for a client and needed to check a fact – I asked at #LnDcowork and instantly there was an answer from co-workers. It would have taken days to search online for that information, as you don’t know what you don’t know.
It seems interesting to me that I am a strong advocate for digital and social technology however I truly value the getting together in person too. This juxtaposition is not at odds with my business as we advocate for the right intervention at the right time for the right people. It is not about plugging in tech just because, it is all about purpose. We run #LnDcowork through Twitter. We can access everyone who attends whenever we need via that social tool – purposeful use of tech. So why is it better to get together? There is something about spontaneity in that for me. The off-the-cuff conversation. There is something about generosity in that for me too. The shared coffee, the thoughtful kindness. There is something about sparking ideas from an overheard conversation or an invitation to share. I have really enjoyed the opportunity to work alongside some fabulous people in this past year. Thank you all.
So Fiona, what have we learnt in our first year?
Here is our co-working learning:
- As much as we both love Twitter we really do enjoy co-working in real life
- It is good to the vary the day of the week we meet up for inclusivity
- Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday’s have been the best days of the week for people
- Holding #LnDcowork in venues near to good public transport links is helpful to all
- The venues need plug sockets we can use and strong wifi!
- You need access to good coffee and food options! 🙂
- The venues are best to be free or very low cost, to keep the co-work affordable for all. There are numerous great spaces to make the most of in cities.
- You don’t need huge attendance for it to be a useful day; we’ve had 4 people some months and up to 12 on others.
- The flexibility of #LnDcowork is important, some people attend all day, some for just the few hours and some people drop in when passing for hello coffee – all these are good!
Whilst Michelle and I are the ‘usual’ voices/faces you hear and see talking about #LnDcowork, we aren’t the only ones that help make it happen.
From very early on Peter Davis from SimpleShow connected me with the lovely Stefan Jakubowski at The Office Group (TOG). Stefan and his colleagues at TOG have hosted #LnDcowork at a number of their stunning venues around London. They are very generous! Thank you. http://www.theofficegroup.co.uk/
Also, Marco Faccini got in touch with Michelle and kindly offered to host #LnDcowork at his co-working office space at WeWork London. We’ve been there twice now. Thank you Marco! We love WeWork spaces. https://www.wework.com/locations/london/old-street
A final and main thank you goes out to all the people who have attended an #LnDcowork over the past year. We have loved seeing friends, new people, Twitter connections who we’d never met before in real life. It has been amazing!
These are the dates for the second half of 2016. Venues will be announced on Twitter a couple of weeks before each one. We are open to venue suggestions, so let us know if you have a good idea. We aim for low (no!) cost venues to enable inclusivity for all.
Wednesday 27 July – CIPD OpenSpace, Wimbledon
Thursday 15 September – The Office Group, Whitechapel
Friday 14 October – The Office Group, Borough
Tuesday 15 November – The Office Group, Wimpole Street
Wednesday 14 December (plus an evening Festive Drinks!) (London venue tbc)
Tuesday 24 January 2017 (London venue tbc)
Other UK based #LnDcowork:
Monday 10 October – Ziferblat, Edge Street, Manchester (6p per minute which inc. refreshments, please get in touch if you wish to join us)
Please note: No #LnDcowork in August, we are having a summer break! We look forward to seeing you on 27th July before the summer.
For more information on how #LnDcowork came about, check out our previous co-created blog:
Fiona McBride is an experienced freelance consultant, facilitator and coach specialising in developing managers and leaders at all levels within organisations. Fiona loves to work with others to make a difference in the workplace through effective learning and development. Find her @fionamcbride or in person at #LnDcowork.
Michelle Parry-Slater runs Kairos Modern Learning, a consultancy to help people move away from old school ‘injection education’ to embrace the best of social, digital and face to face workplace learning. Find her @MiPS1608 or in person at #LnDcowork.