At Can Do Places (CDP) we like to find out what is happening across the world. Matthew Clarke from the CDP Team, popped into Penzance for us to find out about how the Workbox is strengthening the local economy of this iconic town.
With a growing number of people working on their own, work hubs are popping up all over the country. We have been speaking to one of the pioneers to find out why it is so important to provide great environments to those who don’t have a ‘proper’ office to go to.
Tim Dwelly opened the ‘Workbox’ in Penzance and Truro in Cornwall and explains these places are not simply about coworking:
“I prefer to call then work hubs as it is a club, or a shared space, which is affordable and allows people to collaborate.”
The Workbox is definitely not just a desk, phone and internet connection. It is a supportive community where the only limitation on what can develop out of it is the creativity, ingenuity and collaboration potential amongst its members.
Tim admits it can be a tough journey if you want to set one up:
“These places are not big money spinners and you have to work hard on them to make them cover their costs.”
“Loads of places are perfect for this the problem is who owns them and what money they think they’re going to get (for the space).”
He suggests councils and governments could drive job creation by acquiring the vacant properties and then let people set up work hubs in them without any rent costs.
So, what things can happen when you get such a hub right?
A space where collaboration happens
People naturally collaborate once they have been introduced and do not need to be forced. The perfect space is one where the environment allows enterprising conversations. It is not about telling people to ‘meet’ together at certain times. Tim Dwelly found it doesn’t even need to be something that happens in the particular space – sometimes people just decide to get together and socialise in a café, bar or restaurant nearby.
A space where larger projects become possible
One challenge facing many people who work alone is applying to take on larger contracts. Self-employed businesses often fail to appear large enough to win certain types of project or cannot offer all the skills and services needed. Collaborating in a work-hub means the ability to call on the expertise needed to win major deals. He or she will be able to include a solicitor, accountant, PR professional and many other skills from just across the room.
A space giving a better working environment
Working successfully is often about the environment. If your surroundings aren’t right then you never get into a mode where enterprising things can happen. A work hub does not mean you don’t work at home too – it gives you better options. Sometimes there will be days you want to stay in your pyjamas while getting some work done at your kitchen table. There will also be those times when the kids are on holiday and you cannot concentrate and so go into your work hub. It is also somewhere to take customers rather than having to clear your floordrobe and hold a meeting in your bedroom study.
A space creating a buzz
Tim Dwelly’s own research shows a work hub drives employment. By having a space where a business can grow, you take an enterprise onto that next level where new jobs are created. Sometimes, the work hub will be home to those fresh employees too. It also generates footfall in the surrounding community. Many Workbox residents will buy lunch from nearby shops and go out for meals in the day and after work – thereby creating more business within the community.
For further information about The WorkBox:
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