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3 things to think about when starting a coworking space

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Rising costs in our cities have had a detrimental impact to the small business community – whether it be freelancers, start-ups, nomadic workers, social enterprises or charities – the impact has been that individuals either end up working alone, or move away from a local area, which inhibits innovation and employment.

One of the most amazing resources to entrepreneurs these days is coworking.  A coworking space gives people a shared work environment, where they can network, collaborate on projects, learn from each other and work in community, tackling some of the issues that arise from working in isolation.  

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Churches have historically been engaged with various aspects of social and community life, from hospitals to schools, and we have found that coworking is one small way that churches can engage with the business community. Coworking is growing exponentially in our major cities and is increasingly part of our working culture. Since the first origins of the coworking space in 2005, its estimated there are now over 1.18 million people[1] globally working in coworking spaces – the largest of these, WeWork, boasts an impressive community of over 100,000+ members[NJ1] [Office2] , and growing!

The church has an opportunity to use its property to serve a need in the business community, with the added benefit that it can be sustainable, generating its own income to ensure it remains financially viable, and better still, giving back to the area by supporting worthy projects.

In 2016 KXC took on a new building, and transitioned a previously unloved Victorian building in Kings Cross into a vibrant community, birthing ARK. Many our values were borne out of the church’s previous free space, TENT, which closed early 2015.

Since opening the doors at ARK we have hosted tech start ups, illustrators, filmmakers, anti-trafficking organisations, screen writers, social enterprises that employ refugees, public sector startups, feature film production companies, architects and a even dating website for good. In just over a year we have had the privilege of being part of the journey with these risk takers and social entrepreneurs. More than that, as a church we have been able to serve them with genuine community and values that are shaped by our faith.

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For any new church plant, we would encourage you to think about how you can use your property to meet a local need. Rather than being empty during the working week, your space can be used to serve a social cause.

If you’re thinking about coworking, here are our must-haves:

1. Amazing wifi

gone are the days of dial-up, nothing will frustrate a videographer more than when his work of art takes days to upload. Get yourself some great wifi, we use 100meg up/down!

2. Coffee

Nescafe hasn’t crossed our threshold; get some decent coffee which tastes great. Its the first thing people think about when they get in each day, so if you can set the bar at the level you mean to go on, you’re off to a good start. A great brew is also what you turn to when you want to catch-up with someone during the day.

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3. Aesthetics

No one wants to work in a cold, dark room. You need a room that inspires you and at the right temperature! Setting the vibe with the right furniture will ensure that everyone’s creative juices are flowing. 

Nick Johnson is co-founder of ARK Coworking.  If you are interested in finding out more about how we have made coworking work in Kings Cross, or would like to learn more about our ARK model for your church,  check out our website www.arkcoworking.com or email us at hello@arkcoworking.com

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[1] https://www.statista.com/statistics/554315/number-of-people-working-in-coworking-spaces-worldwide/

 

Nick Johnson
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