Editorial: Sharing is Caring

Trent Ernst, Editor

Let’s face it. Being by yourself can get lonely.

I spend the better part of a decade working as a freelancer, locked in my basement, and, while it was a great experience, and one that I wouldn’t change, it didn’t afford much in the way of human interaction.

For the last few months, I’ve been considering the idea of co-working spaces. I have a friend who runs one in Toronto, and I’ve talked to her about it a couple of times.

She says that co-working spaces are a great way for people to build their businesses. “The best part about a co-working space is not going at it alone,” she says. “Having a community to rely on, ask questions, support, help, and receive help from is invaluable for a small business owner.”

She says that by working in proximity with others, more is accomplished than if we try and do it all by ourselves. “We all have our strengths and weaknesses, and in a group, even though we’re working on our own things, we can help others and be helped by others. We can work independently, but not alone. ”

Tumbler Ridge has historically had high rental rates for downtown spaces, which has forced many businesses into basements.

But basements are not great places for businesses to thrive. If you need to meet a client, for instance, doing it at home can create a weird dynamic, especially with kids running around.

Basements are also a tough sell to customers. Out of sight, the saying goes, out of mind. Getting the word out about what you’re doing can be hard.

And it’s tough to separate your home life from your business life when your office is in the house. For some, working from home is an excuse to avoid work. For others, it becomes difficult to set work aside, and so they spend all their time, day and night, working, and not spending time with family and friends.

Having a space that is away from the house helps many people balance work and life.

According to the Harvard Business Review, people who work in co-working spaces tend to have more meaningful work lives, too.

“While coworkers value this autonomy, we also learned that they equally value some form of structure in their professional lives,” writes researchers Gretchen Spreitzer, Peter Bacevice and Lyndon Garrett.

“Too much autonomy can actually cripple productivity because people lack routines. Coworkers reported that having a community to work in helps them create structures and discipline that motivates them. Thus, paradoxically, some limited form of structure enables an optimal degree of control for independent workers.”

There’s lots of space downtown, but most home-based businesses can’t afford to rent.

To create a co-working space, though, you need to start with the community. You need people who are interested in sharing space, in working together, in discovering the dynamics of working together.

So consider this an invitation. A bit of market research. Is there anyone out there interested in starting up a co-working space? In working together and networking with other like-minded people to create new opportunities for your business and to find people to collaborate with who can help drive your business forward?

If so, let me know. Email me at editor@tumblerridgenews.com, call 250-242-5343, or just stop by the office, which is just across from Shop Easy.