We’re very taken with the motto of Work Nicer, one of the newest co-working spaces in the Western Canadian city of Calgary (home of the famous Calgary Stampede):

Work For Yourself – Not By Yourself” urges Alex Putici who set up the shared workspace at the end of last year (2015).

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Work Nicer (worknicer.ca) is just one of almost a dozen co-working places that have sprung up in the city in recent times; due, at least in part, to a downturn in Canada’s oil and gas industry which is centred in Calgary.

Said Rebecca Frederick who moved her graphic design company into Work Nicer after more than a year of operating from coffee shops and her own kitchen:

“People who have lost their jobs are taking the opportunity to start up their own ‘passion projects’ and they need somewhere to work.”

According to their website, Work Nicer: “provides members with a physical location to call their own, offering workplace necessities and an environment that connects them to some of Calgary’s most exciting entrepreneurs.

“Our space is filled with those looking to create and work in a place that provides more than just a desk.”

In addition, Work Nicer aims to place: “ten percent of profits into the community and encourage members to engage with our neighbourhood and partners.”

Alex Putici said that: “We are here to ensure anyone who works for themself can find the people and the resources they need to thrive.”

Sonja Bronstein, manager of Calgary’s Assembly co-working space (www.assemblycs.com) said:

“As we see the economy shift from oil and gas, we’re hoping there will be more people interested in following a different career path. Now is the time when people who had an idea years ago and kept putting it off, but have recently found themselves without employment, are finally starting those businesses.”

Shannon Hoover who is co-owner of ARCHEloft (www.endeavorarts.com), a co-working facility for craftspeople (offering shared access to laser cutters, sewing machines and other equipment), said members are encouraged to collaborate across disciplines.

He said: “Innovation is easy to develop when you bring people with diverse backgrounds together. And innovation leads to diversification – something that Calgary, I believe, desperately needs right now.”

Erynn Lyster, owner of the Commons co-working space (www.thecommonscalgary.com), said that the biggest asset they offer members is “community.”

She explained: “Having a desk and some wifi is great but if you’re not chatting with the people beside you, it’s not much better than being in your pajamas at home. The learning curve is less steep when you can chat with the person down the aisle over coffee, and bounce ideas off each other about the projects your’re working on.

“But you are your own boss” she pointed out “so you can wear pajamas here if you really want to.”