I am so excited to be in our new space and meeting new people! This is a new chapter for the TechVillage and the community as a whole. Since moving into our new space at Bambani Building (former Kingdom bank) it has been clear to me that people aren’t really familiar with what coworking is and the benefits that are attached to it.
The Havard Business Review defined coworking spaces as “membership-based workspaces where diverse groups of freelancers, remote workers, and other independent professionals work together in a shared, communal setting”.
The sharing economy is becoming one of the fastest growing economies with ride-sharing platforms like Uber and Airbnb at the top of the charts. Similarly, shared workspaces have become the best “it thing” for people building businesses.
I have outlined 3 key things that I feel are important to understand if you are to be part of a coworking community. For those new to the TechVillage (the noobs) I will try and explain what exactly goes on here, for our veteran villagers, consider this a reminder:
1. Collaboration and sharing
The TechVillage is not simply a place where you can rent office space, it is so much more than that. We are essentially a “village “of professionals. That means there is a sense of community and belonging. By joining the TechVillage you are no longer an individual up against the whole world but you become a part of something bigger. To put it in biblical terms you are now your brother’s keeper. Your success should directly or indirectly lead to the success of your peer. Part of the sharing benefit comes about during lunch when we troop together and get our munch on together. In the traditional office setup, you tend to be closed off in your office but with the coworking open space setup there is room to share.
Operating from a coworking space gives individuals and startups alike the feeling of helping fellow community members. So, whether you are an accountant, a marketer, or a developer there is always someone who could benefit from your ideas and expertise and vice versa. It is crucial to remember that the work you do will reflect and impact on your neighbor’s work as well as the TechVillage. So, if you are going to do a job, DO IT WELL!
Peer to peer learning is the greatest gift for anyone in the coworking environment because you are interacting and learning from the experiences of someone who is at the same stage as you are. It is important to have people around you throughout your trep journey. Operating from an open environment filled with people from diverse professional backgrounds. This is a relatively new concept to most people so you must be willing to learn how to become part of a community. You must put a conceited effort to interact with someone outside of your team daily! A life principle we hope to see flourishing in our community members is that no one should go home without learning something new, be it from interaction with the community or the internet or anywhere else!
The infrastructure of our coworking space is setup in a manner to cater for different types of people. Don’t feel like being surrounded by people? We have a breakaway room designed just for that, where you can just tune out or concentrate in a quiet environment. Need help brainstorming on an idea you’ve been struggling with? We have four meeting rooms, why not make use of the community around you and deliberate and debate on it?
The virtual community is great, especially for our members who are still at the idea stage and don’t really have the money or need for a physical space and those based out of Bulawayo and Zimbabwe. We want to keep in touch with everyone so we are not dissolving it, but we are now paying particular attention to the physical community that will be operating from the village. This means we will have more events designed to help our members to leverage on the experiences of the community around them as well as seasoned professionals in various sectors.
Being a member of our physical community means you have to get to know your neighbor. Staying in your cubicle or desk all the time really defeats the purpose of a coworking model because you don’t get to know the amazing talent and knowledge that is just outside your comfort zone.