The future of work is evolving. The recent economic downturn has encouraged the growth of independent knowledge workers and entrepreneurs willing to strike it out on their own. This group of workers, armed with their laptops, smart phones, and web apps, can work from their homes or coffee shops. However, an alternative option has been gaining popularity amongst this group over the past few years. Referred to as ‘Coworking’, it’s a movement to create a community of cafe-like collaboration spaces for developers, writers and independents. Pioneered in San Francisco by the Hat Factory and Citizen Space, these places provide a space for web workers, consultants, freelancers and entrepreneurs to work independently, together. In the coming weeks, we will be highlighting a few spaces that have embraced this philosophy and its new breed of workers.
A perfect example would be Rachel Young and Wayne Lee. Seven years ago they were freelancing out of cafes with friends and local writers for, what they called, ‘creative’ sessions hoping to get out of the isolation and rid the distractions of working from home. Realizing that they were building the same foundations for a business, they recently launched Camaraderie, a coworking facility located in Toronto.
“Wayne knew firsthand the value of co-working, so we decided to open a space we could both work from and open it up to the community,” Rachel says, “because cafes have their own set of issues. “There’s the expectation to purchase something every hour so it’s not considered loitering, the noise of the coffee grinder whirling mixed in with the music in the background, and to face the dilemma of what to do with your laptop when nature calls.” And when you’re working from home, “sometimes the video games call too strongly or the bed is too comfortable, says Wayne, “regardless, isolation is still an issue any freelancer has to deal with. While it can be great to focus, we are still human and still need some sort of social interaction to maintain balance.”
Based on years of facing these challenges, the two made sure their space provided a perfect harmony of seclusion to find focus and communication for networking. At coworking spaces, you can expect to meet a diverse community of outgoing entrepreneurs and freelancers with many opportunities to participate in open source projects. “It’s a productive work environment where one could hold client meetings, leave their laptop when they run out for lunch, and drink unlimited coffee or tea. Most things that an entrepreneur or freelancer would need is already here, plus more. All they need to do is walk in with their work implements, take a seat, and get going.”
Camaraderie’s large workspace includes two meeting rooms and a communal kitchen surrounded by white walls and dark floors. Adding to that, tenants are welcomed to a stunning view of a beautiful park right by the building. Transportation is also made easy as the nearest subway station is in walking distance. Rachel and Wayne plan to get a transit pass discount program for their tenants and even want to work on healthcare coverage for their full time members!
Camaraderie truly presents a great relaxed, organized, idea-driven, resource-sharing workspace by integrating the basics of a cafe in a functional environment so lonesome entrepreneurs and freelancers are able to mix and share ideas to progress and gain… camaraderie.