Posts Tagged ‘inspiration’

The Coworking Employee

I like to think that I’m acutely aware of my personal productivity at work, and this puts me in a great position to tune my working environment to maximise both the benefit to my employer, and my own happiness. The two key factors are my hours and location. The hours I work is an entire blog post all by itself, suffice to say that I hate being stressed by a rush hour commute, and the early bird may catch the worms, but I’m no bird, my needs go far beyond basic feeding. The other is where, or more specifically with whom.

Despite having an engineering degree I like to think of myself as a creative. I create software and I put my heart and soul into it because I love what I do. This may seem slightly at odds to the traditional view of a tech based employee, some kind of man-machine hybrid that mechanically churns out software on demand, but if you’ve ever met me I’m sure you will agree that I’m far from the norm in this industry. To keep creative juices flowing you need inspiration and in my case I’m looking for those key conversations where you just met someone and end up having a heated agreement.

Coworking spaces all around the world attract exactly the kinds of people I’m passionate about meeting. I think those of us who get coworking have a shared passion for exactly these types of experiences, and we seek them out whenever possible. They have the uncanny ability to turn your otherwise average day into one that you will remember for a lifetime. You simply can’t find these experiences on a regular basis in traditional office environments, but in coworking spaces they are de rigueur.

And this isn’t just hyperbole, just yesterday I was working out of New Work City in New York, plodding away on some Perl code when I struck up a conversation with Campbell of Loose Cubes (a coworking space finder) and was so inspired and energised by our conversation that I went on to do 5 hours of work on top of my usual working day.

It’s been clearly shown that money is not the key incentive to happy productive employees but that freedom, flexibility and creative ownership are. So sure, as an employer, you could have people like me sitting in their cube, punching in at 10 and out at 6, doing what is required of us, but nothing more, or you could let your employees have that little bit of freedom to work how and where we are most productive, and watch our productivity go through the roof.

LiveCast Lounge at Thinking Digital Conference

Despite my love for conversational, interactive conferences, there are some that simply don’t fit that bill and Thinking Digital is one of them. It’s tag line “Technology, Ideas and Our Future” hints at a breath of fresh air from the traditional web/tech conference circuit, and with speakers with quirky background such as Robert Lang, a world origami expert, it promises to be very interesting this year. I have to confess that whilst I have never been to Newcastle specifically for Thinking Digital before I have been in ‘toon in and around it’s dates for various reasons. Last year I had the privilege to spend the day with some of the speakers on a jaunt to Edinburgh for the day, and through the haze of a truly epic champagne hangover was unbelievably inspired by people like Caleb Chung (creator of the Furby and Pleo) and Chandler Burr (The New York Times’ perfume critic).

Thinking Digital are clearly doing something right because this year they have already sold out, and the demand has been so high that they have created what they are calling the “Live Lounge“, a space where attendees will be able to watch live streams of the talks, relax, eat, drink, tweet and so on. For people like myself who are addicted to being connected it’s difficult to spend all day sitting in a traditional conference venue even with fantastic speakers, so I am very excited by the prospects of this space and the conversations it will inspire.

So, if you find yourself at Thinking Digital 2010 please do swing by the LiveCast Lounge and say hello to the girl with the red hair furiously tapping away on the iPad in her hand.