Co-Working – the end of offices

It’s four years ago now since Conn O’Muineachain and myself started meeting in Limerick’s Clarion Hotel for informal ‘geek meets’ – just a chat about tech and business and whatever else was in the news. We kept blogging about them and posting photos, and slowly but surely more people started showing up.

A year later the OpenCoffee Club ‘movement’ was born and we gladly re-branded our geek meets under that label. Shortly thereafter we moved to the Absolute Hotel and have been happily meeting there ever since, with attendances in the 20 – 30 range.

Yesterday Pat O’Hora and myself spent much of a day in The Bailey
Bar in Limerick
sussing out its suitability as a co-working location.
And to say we were well impressed is to put it mildly. Semi-private mezzanine, comfortable seating, power points, speedy wifi, great food, a nice ambience and friendly, welcoming staff and management.

It’s important to re-iterate – co-working is not OpenCoffee. The latter is mostly about casual networking over coffee while the former is mostly about work. Having said that, it’s not all about work, or there would be no point in meeting up. The idea is to give freelancers and independents the opportunity to work in a less isolated environment than a home-based office and to network with, and bounce ideas off fellow professionals.

Pat and myself put together a few draft guidelines (not rules) that we thought might make it clearer what Co-working Club Limerick is all about (by the way we’re looking for a snappier, less stuffy name – suggestions very welcome in the comments below).

Co-working Etiquette Guidelines

1) These are merely suggested guidelines, certainly not rules.

2) Headphones on = ‘do not disturb’. It’s not rude, it’s the best ‘social gesture’ to convey that you’re in work mode. And co-working is primarily about working.

3) Having said that, if it was all about working then there would be no point in meeting up. Be sociable when not in work mode.

4) There’s a quid-pro-quo relationship with the venue – don’t be a leech. Buy enough teas, coffees and lunches to pay in-kind for the use of the facility. You are the judge of how much is ‘enough’.

5) Sit aside from the the ‘work table’ when eating and drinking if others are in work mode.

6) Don’t leave the work area (laptops, etc.) unattended – if you’re the only one there wait until others come back.

7) It may take some time before there is a large enough pool of co-workers to have a co-working gathering every day so use Plancast (I’m eirepreneur) twitter (tag #CWCL), etc., to signal your intention to attend a co-working session, and more than likely you’ll get a few to join you.

Philip Rosedale, founder of Linden Labs (creator of Second Life) recently stepped down from his position as CEO to launch a new company called Love Machine Inc. Despite the hippy-dippy name this startup has some fascinating ideas about, and products for, a new generation of workplace. Or indeed non-workplace. For Rosedale wrote a very interesting blog post a few days ago “On the end of offices” – 

Ryan and I have been wandering San Francisco, working fulltime out of coffee shops, hotel lobbies, and bars for the past 2 months or so.  Sometimes we have been joined by other LoveMachine teammates for meetings or just fun.   After giving it careful consideration, we’re going to strive never to have a central office, regardless of how many people are working at LoveMachine.   It’s definitely the future – I predict that many companies are going to give up offices, here are some of the reasons…

Read the full post for those reasons, all of which make absolute sense to me. And convince me that Co-Working Club Limerick will continue to grow from humble beginnings just as OpenCoffee Club did.

2 Responses to “Co-Working – the end of offices”

  1. Susan Says:

    Sounds like a great idea… would like to do something similar in Dublin!

  2. James Corbett Says:

    Thanks Susan, I’d love to see co-working taking off in Dublin too. In fact Ed Fidgeon Kavanagh is also interested in getting it going in the Capital. His twitter names is @Clearpreso and I’ll introduce you to him there.

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