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Bernie and Tash: First Friday Call, Coworking Events, and The I.D.E.A Project

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Hello everyone! We’re bringing you some exciting coworking events for the coming weeks. And we’re here with Tash Thomas, one of our colleagues here in the European Coworking Assembly.¬†

We’re going to be talking all about the events that we have for you. First up would be:

The First Friday Call! It’s happening this Friday, February 5, 2021, at 13:30 CET / 12:30 Lisbon/London. You can RSVP here for the (and every other) First Friday calls. ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†

What is the First Friday call?

Every month we run an open call to connect people, projects, events, research, and anything else coworking in Europe.

What will we do on this First Friday?

We’re inviting you to share about events coming up in the next three to six months in the European Coworking community.

Are you planning an event for the Coworking industry and movement in 2021?

When we say events, this can be a coworking alliance event in your city or country, a TED-style talk to a full-blown conference!

  • Are you looking for support for your event?
  • Will you do it online, hybrid, or in person?
  • Are you thinking of rebooting your 2019 event for 2021?
  • Do you do a regular event you’d like to share more?
  • Are you stuck on tech or online platforms?
  • Are you looking to connect with other people?

Here are the nine main Coworking Assembly projects in Europe and the U.K.

 

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Zeljko Crnjakovińᬆ 0:03¬†

Hi everybody and welcome to another episode of the Coworking Values Podcast. And in this episode, Bernie and Tash share about this week’s first Friday call about events across the European coworking family and lots of other stuff. But first, a word from our sponsor.

This episode is brought to you by Cobot, our leading management software for coworking spaces, office hubs and flexible workspaces around the world. You know, one of the best things about Cobot is that it is produced by people who manage a coworking space and know the ins and outs and the main problems and issues, bugging coworking managers. So, if you want more time for your co-workers and community, check out Cobot at cobot.me, and take your coworking management to the next level. 

 

Bernie J Mitchel  0:59  

Good evening, folks, wherever you are in the world. Today in the luxury coworking assembly studio, I have my colleague and partner in crime Tash. Hey, how you doing? 

 

Tash Thomas  1:09  

Good. How are you?

 

Bernie J Mitchel  1:11  

I hate when people start podcasts like that, but it’s kind of a way into the conversation. So, what are we going to talk about today?

 

Tash Thomas  1:16  

We’re going to talk about lots of different things. Actually, we’re going to talk about the Idea project, we’re going to talk about first Friday Call, we’re going to talk about everything that’s going on with the assembly right now. Loads of things.

 

Bernie J Mitchel  1:28  

It’s so exciting. The first Friday call ladies and gentlemen is when we, every Friday, the Coworking Assembly crew have a kind of stand up, catch up call about what’s going on in our work we do. And then on the first Friday of every month, we open that call up and invite people from around Europe who are running events and projects and stuff like that to come and share, ask for help, tell people what’s going on. And this one is all about events, and events has kind of changed dramatically in the last 12 months. And a lot of coworking events that were in person have all gone online, which means that the opportunity to reach more people and have a dramatically more diverse panel has become huge. So, we’re going to invite you to join that call. The link will be in the show notes. So, if you just google Coworking Assembly first Friday call, it will come up to the page on our website somewhere. But this is definitely an invitation to come and join. We’re not like some cool elite group; you don’t have to have a million pounds net worth to come to the call. Whether you’re at university, working, in a coworking space, starting a freelance project, working in a makerspace, coworking space, collaborative workspace, whatever you define it in your local area, show up to that. And if you’d like to get involved in a project, it’s somewhere else to come to. Anything more we to add to that?¬†

 

Tash Thomas  2:54  

No, I think that pretty much sums up. I just think it’s a really great way for people to connect as well. And quite often, especially right now, with the state of things. Those ideas are often stuck in your own head, and you’ve got no one to bounce ideas off of. And if you’ve got something that’s whirling around in there, and you’re not quite sure of its success rate or whether it is worth putting that idea forward, then the first Friday call is the perfect place to test pilot it.

 

Bernie J Mitchel  3:21  

That’s a really good point. And also, we always meet a lot of people doing nearly the same thing. So, one of the best things you can get out of the assembly is us connecting you with people that will help you further your project. So, you don’t have to, as we say, reinvent the wheel. And one of the things we mentioned was the Idea project, which I’m wildly enthusiastic about. So, tell us about that.

 

Tash Thomas  3:46  

So, the Idea project,¬† Idea standing for inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility. So, it’s a diversity inclusion initiative. It is actually a global project. So, the idea of the Idea project, and the pun is intended, is to put out monthly challenges for coworking space owners and users to help implement diversity and inclusion within those spaces. And so, we actually will be launching the first project this week. Yes, it will go live on Wednesday, the third of February. And the idea is that you will have the project, you’ll go to the website, you can read the challenge and start working on the challenge. And at the end of every month, we’ll come together, and we’ll have a call where we can discuss what came up and everyone can kind of see where they are with that challenge. And this will continue throughout the month. There’ll be a theme throughout the year as well depending on what’s going on in the globe. But it’s a really great way to connect with other people who are passionate about diversity and inclusion. But it’s also another way to kind of get a head start. It can be a really daunting topic and I think a lot of people are scared of it because they’re scared to get things wrong. So, it’s really to build up a network of people that you can connect with and communicate ideas with, but also to get those kinds of challenges to help you make those first steps.

 

Bernie J Mitchel  5:11  

Yes. Including me, there are a lot of people who need to do something and are not quite sure how to do it. And we’re not all like Coca Cola with 17 people who run around the building employed to do that. So, how to actually implement I hate to use that word, just be more inclusive. You know, grow, or die. When you say to people like, Oh, we need to grow a diverse workplace, like what does that mean? You kind of know what you want to do, or the intention is there. But actually, the practical steps in between fire alarm checks and everything that goes on in the building, and just keeping your coworking business alive in this precarious time is really daunting. And every time you get together, one of these events is another opportunity to connect with peers, people going through the same thing in London. Most of last year, we did two calls every week, and sometimes 10 people will come and sometimes 40 people will come. But it was that little connection point of hanging out with people who do the same thing as you, who are in the same shit as you, is somehow weirdly reassuring.

 

Tash Thomas  6:26  

Absolutely, definitely agree with that.

 

Bernie J Mitchel  6:31  

So, talking again, together in London, we had our ‘How to make a vibrant coworking space with a local authority’, and I was just hoping that would go better, Tash.

 

Tash Thomas  6:44  

It was such a great event. I’m not just taking my own trumpet. I was hosting. But outside of me being there, it was an amazing event. It was really inspiring for the fact that we actually had local London authorities present, which means that the people in the room, those coworking space owners had the opportunity to ask their questions directly to the source. So yeah, it was a really, really powerful event. And I think a lot of people got questions answered. But I also think a lot of the authorities that were present, really started to hear and learn some of the issues and the challenges that coworking spaces are having. And I think it really informed their strategies going forward.

 

Bernie J Mitchel  7:26  

It did, I was, I hate to use the word inspired. And I was really inspired by the enthusiasm of the eight local authorities on the call, and how curious and interested they were in making this work. And if you know, London, there are six zones. It’s like central London, which is the one you see on Hugh Grant films all the time. And then there are zones two and three, quite a lot of stuff happens there. There are clubs and bars and a lot of coworking spaces. But then when you get to, what do you call them? Suburbs?

 

Tash Thomas  8:02  

Not even. I live in zone three, but I think three, four, five and six are still part of the London postcode technically, because I would say a suburb would be like Hertfordshire and that kind of thing. But they sit in this weird no man’s land, I think, in terms of when we talk about London as a city. So, I think it’s quite challenging when you’re in those spaces that you don’t always get the attention of being a zone one coworking space, I think is seems to be the general consensus.

 

Bernie J Mitchel  8:34  

That’s one of the things I love because I think like 7000 people live in the city of London, which is like the Barbican Liverpool Street area. And there are hundreds and hundreds of coworking spaces. I’m reluctant to like to put a figure on it. On the call, I think it was Dan from his LinkedIn said there are 457, it was very specific number, pledges that identifies coworking spaces in London. And I know hundreds of those must be in zone one. But then when you get out like in Redbridge, which is zone four where we live, I found three coworking spaces and there are 400,000 odd people that live here. So, there’s a huge opportunity for not just economically, but for people to stay in their community, stay in that bar. That whole 15 Minute city thing we shout about all the time, or I shout about all the time, and we’ll put a link in the show notes to Town square’s ‘what if we could walk to work’ report, which says that much more eloquently about how you can build a coworking space in your local area. And what was the other thing we need to talk about? There’s one more thing, Coworking Symposium. We were around for the Coworking symposium last time.

 

Tash Thomas  9:54  

I don’t think I was, actually.

 

Bernie J Mitchel  9:55  

Oh, you missed a miss out. Okay, so Coworking Symposium is run by our friend Dr. Marco Oreo from the Prague University, which makes him some very sophisticated person. And he’s heading up this Think Tank, which is about the future of work in a post Corona world, which sounds dramatic, but is very interesting. In this year’s symposium, he’s got together a nearly all female panel of academics from Melbourne, UK, Berlin, Prague, Russia, and Japan who were studying and even before the pandemic, were studying the future of work, and coworking, and how it fits the local area and all this type of stuff. So, that is coming. I think it’s the 16th of April, but we’ll put a link in the show notes. It’s a free to come to event and¬† it’s a very high-level conversation. But it’s also quite granular. You will hear, these people reported on this coworking space and found out how it connected with the local area and what the impact was, and all and all this type of stuff. And these are the trends we will see going forward. And what I’m always keen to say is a lot of real estate companies publish reports about the future of work, which are probably economically accurate, but they’re by people who are heavily invested in their offices staying alive, which are closing at an alarming rate now, whereas these academic people probably contributed some of those reports, but they’re a bit more impartial. Does that make sense?¬†

 

Tash Thomas  11:38  

Totally makes sense. Yes, definitely.

 

Bernie J Mitchel  11:41  

So, we will put a link on our events page to that. And if you go to coworkingsymposium.com. You’ll find it there. And there’s a link in the show notes. And then what else do we have coming up?

 

Tash Thomas  11:51  

I should have actually mentioned that the London local authority conversation that we had will actually be happening every month. I think we’ve got to mention that you will be able to join one of those discussions every single month. We have lots more coming up based on the topics that come out of each discussion. So, that’s the amazing thing about those conversations is that they are definitely audience led. It’s not us just sitting around thinking hmm, what should we talk about? I don’t know, is this really what people want to discuss? And topics that came out of the conversation that we had last week. So, yes, I would definitely say make sure that you find a space in your diary to join that conversation every single month.

 

Bernie J Mitchel  12:39  

And you can sign up for our newsletter folks. Or if you go to the front page of coworkingassembly.eu every week, we send links to the blogs and content we produce, we send links to the stories about what’s going on. And it’s not a huge advert with sponsored posts in it. Its stuff being organized by people doing the real work every day, and who are part of this very longstanding community. And that includes all the other groups around Europe, like Spain, and Germany and Italy and Serbia, who run coworking communities in their country. So, one of the things we have, if you go to the London Assembly, we’re running coworking events, but there are events for freelancers and independent economy people every month, and that’s on our event page. And then the last thing is, we’re putting together the first of our monthly events around the European Freelancers Week. So, while a lot of the stuff we talked about in this podcast is directed for people who are in the coworking industry; workers, community managers or operators or own a space, or just interested in the coworking industry. The European Freelancers Week, even though we’re going to do it every month, is for people who often get this thing where I say freelancers, and that has a different connotation in different countries. So, people who work independently like Tasha, performers, and presenters, etc.

 

Tash Thomas  14:16  

¬†I¬† don’t think the association is for people like graphic designers, and coders. That’s what everyone thinks of as a freelancer quite often, I think globally, but actually, freelancer, like you say it can be creative freelancers, anybody who’s not employed directly to a company, and on PAYE would be classed as a freelancer. And that could mean that you’re a consultant. It can be a variety of different industries. And I think that we sometimes lose that when we talk about freelancer. EF Week is open to anybody who classifies themselves as an independent worker, I would say.

 

Bernie J Mitchel  14:53  

I like the term independent economic agent.

 

Tash Thomas  14:56  

There you go. I like that.

 

Bernie J Mitchel  14:57  

I love that but that might be a bit of a jumped-up term for some people. I’ve got my car on double yellow lines outside my coworking space here. So, I need to run. Is there anything else we need to do?

 

Tash Thomas  15:10  

No, I think that’s everything.

 

Bernie J Mitchel  15:11  

Where can we find you online?

 

Tash Thomas  15:14  

You can find me on Instagram TashT.uk You can also find me on LinkedIn. I’m Tash Thomas. That’s my official name. Yeah, hit me up on either one.

 

Bernie J Mitchel  15:22  

And my official name is Bernie J. Mitchell, the fourth Esquire, like my gambling father, relinquish my state in a poker game in Lisbon, in 1956, but I’m still here. And if you google Bernie J. Mitchell, you’ll find me on LinkedIn and you’ll also find an incredibly embarrassing video of me shouting an introduction on YouTube, through a speaker in like 2011. But really appreciate your time and attention, jump over to our website, hit reply to the email. We’d love to be in touch, and we hope to see you all on the first Friday call. Be careful. It is a jungle out there.




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