Coworking comes to small towns to promote a new work concept
Actiu, firm in its commitment to support and promote new ways of working which advocate the flexibility of spaces, sustainability, talent and the importance of community, has initiated a series of collaborations with different Co-working Spaces developed by the entrepreneurs in the province.
Coworking is a way of working that enhances the integration of multidisciplinary professionals, through a shared space, which generate more creativity and innovation, in addition to complementing each other and being able to work together on joint projects. Cooperative work offers a solution to isolation which is represented by many independent workers and even micro-companies, the experience of working at home.
Actiu directs themselves towards an entrepreneurial profile, those taking their first steps into the business world and those who, veteran or novice, defend the advantages of working in collaborative environments. Diego Tomás, from PBC Coworking and Luis Pérez, from Espai Coworking MECO are two pioneers in implementing coworking spaces in towns such as Petrer and Castalla. We sat with them and had an interesting chat in which they told us about their experience.
How did the idea of creating coworking come about?
Luis Pérez: The idea arose when I found myself unemployed, my worries which led me to start working freelance from home, soon I began to notice that something was missing, people, knowledge and then I discovered this new way of understanding work and I saw everything that I could bring to my professional career, deciding to investigate it and design a model that was able to adapt itself to the environment of my town.
Diego Tomás: In our case, everything arose from the need to bring life back into the space in which we had worked for years and with the downturn in economic growth, was nearly empty. After several consultations via the internet, I stumbled across what I began to imagine was a solution which already had a name and had a great universe behind it. From that moment I knew it was going to link my life to this enriching way of working.
Coworking comes from the big cities where costs in general are more elevated and people live in a more isolated way. From your experience, how does a Coworking space work in a small town or even in a rural environment?
Diego Tomás: Problems of professionals who work from home are very similar in cities and towns, and these constitute the main target audience of a coworking space. What is probably true is that rotation is less than in the big cities, but it is working to consolidate a community that can on occasion be seen as a family. You must also take into account that the impact in a small location is much greater, so it will become truly dynamic.
Luis Pérez: In my experience, the coworking movement despite arising from the big cities, is increasingly emerging, new proposals in small cities, even in traditional areas linked to tourism and the philosophy of collaborative work is constantly moving. It is also worth noting that at first glance, it might appear as a rather extravagant formula in small cities, but nevertheless once it becomes more widespread and the message is spread about the coworking culture, these environments offer managers of spaces and its users numerous advantages when working with people, shops and local companies.
What would you recommend to those people who are planning on opening a space in your area or those who are thinking of being coworkers?
Luis Pérez: My main recommendation is to have and share their ideas and projects wherever they go, listen carefully to the opinions that this model generates, because in them is the formula that will help them define which way to turn. For those considering using this type of space I would tell them to stop thinking and dare them to try it because it may be what they have always been looking for in a work environment, learn, grow and do…
Diego Tomás: I would tell managers of new spaces to be completely convinced about what they have to do, be totally dedicated and know that the performance of a small or medium space is very limited, but if they are, I would encourage them to it since the indirect benefits, personal and professional, are incredible. And to all those who have doubts of joining a Coworking space I would ask them to try it for at least one season. I could no longer work as a professional in any other way.
What would be your ideal Coworking?
Diego Tomás: Although we still have many things to improve, I believe that it would be something very similar to PBC Coworking! ;-)
Luis Pérez: For me, it would be like a central market in the morning of Christmas Eve, full of activity, ideas, conversations and projects, with lots of variety and initiatives of all kinds.
The first direct collaborations of Actiu regarding coworking spaces can be found in an environment closest to Actiu Technology Park, because one of the principles of the company is the revitalisation of the territory, although there is a commitment to export contributions to other areas and spaces during 2014.
Actiu promotes a flexible, dynamic and open environment. It is a global concept faithful to the co-worker philosophy; it not only provides a space with manufactured furniture with the latest technology, through sustainable processes with a high added value in quality, design and ergonomics but also Actiu gives you the next step and offers the possibility of stable working relationships, expansion of the network of contacts, the sharing of knowledge and promotion of discussion. Issues such as advice on the design of new workspaces, discounts and help in purchasing furniture and even sponsoring training workshops on design, architecture and sustainability are some of the issues that Actiu try to help with and develop its expertise in Coworking projects, fully trusting their capacities as engines of employment, creativity and new opportunities.
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