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Launching a virtual coworking community

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by Startacus Admin

virtual coworking community

The Hive from myworkhive.com is a new virtual coworking group that connects anyone working remotely with their very own coworking community - online.  Lucy Elkin, Director of myworkhive explains all...

myworkhive"More and more of us are now working from home regularly – over 4 million of us in the UK, in fact. Like many people, I love working from home – I feel much more productive and it fits my family commitments. But it’s also true that working on your own can be hard. At some point, most of us feel a bit isolated, and long for a chance to connect with others working in a similar situation.

That has helped drive a boom in coworking spaces over the last few years, with everything from slick, multi-site companies like WeWork to quirky, boutique, ‘coffee and hot-desking’ spaces springing up in larger towns around the UK. Some coworking ventures now offer crèche facilities alongside the wifi and cappuccinos.

Coworking is great. But what if you live way out of town and don’t have a space near you? Or perhaps you’re bootstrapping and can’t afford the cost of a coworking membership just now? Or maybe you’ve got a toddler at home, and it’s just not practical to travel to your nearest space?

That was my situation. I live in a really rural part of Suffolk, and the nearest coworking spot is nearly an hour’s drive way: getting remote workingthere and back would take two hours out of my busy day. So until now, I’ve been watching the rise and rise of coworking rather enviously, from afar. Sitting at home one day reading another article about a lovely, vibrant coworking community, I had one of those ‘a-ha’ moments. What if I could create the same feeling of a real community space, with people popping by regularly to work, network, share ideas and support each other – but online?

Sure, you’d miss out on the free snacks and you’d have to make your own fancy coffees. But it could be free or very low-cost (as there are no expensive office overheads) and accessible to all. So that’s what I’m setting out to do.

The idea is to create an online coworking ‘space’ for remote workers, freelancers and digital nomads, using (mostly free) tools like Sococo, Slack and Appear.in to connect up.

Community members will be able to log in, have a chat to other members in a ‘water cooler’ area, or just get on with some work knowing that other people are around if they’d like to connect or bounce ideas off the group.

I’m sure working virtually with a group of strangers will feel a little weird at first, but remote and distributed teams have tried-and-tested techniques to help create a feeling of virtual community. For example, I’ll be trying out some networking activities to break the ice and help people get to know each other (don’t worry - no comedy video-conferencing in funny hats – well, unless you want to.) 

Of course, there are already some fantastic online forums – including the one here on Startacus – that help people connect. But there’s something about being together in real-time – being able to chat via messaging tools like Slack or jump into a quick video conversation - that I think gives a sense of connection and collaboration that’s hard to find any other way. 

You can join myworkhive’s free Slack channel to start meeting other remote workers today, and I’ll be running some ‘pop up’ virtual coworking sessions later this year. I’m currently looking for some adventurous remote-working folk to try this out with me. If you’d like to help shape this new, virtual coworking adventure – a world first, as far as I know – then get in touch, I’d love to hear from you. Email [email protected], find me on Twitter @myworkhive  or check out https://www.myworkhive.com/virtual-coworking to join us in Slack. Hope to see you online!


If you like reading articles on 'coworking' you might like our recent article on the changing face of co-working spaces.


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Published on: 8th July 2017

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