Community

New kind of space could benefit Vashon

By CAROLYN AMICK
For The Beachcomber

Imagine having office space that you only pay for when you need it. This is the idea behind a growing movement called coworking.

Working from home doesn’t always work.  Too many distractions cut down on productivity, and it can be isolating. Commuting from the island takes up an inordinate amount of time and is ultimately bad for the environment.

Turns out the ideal way to telecommute is via a coworking space. Coworking is shared office space with a group of independent workers who rent on a monthly basis, similar to a gym membership. Coworking offices have existed in Seattle for some time, and now a group of islanders is making an effort to bring coworking to Vashon.

At coworking offices, there are usually flexible membership options, whether drop-in, occasional, part-time or full-time. Maybe you need conference room space for meetings once or twice a month but don’t want to pay for an expensive office to sit empty the rest of the time. Or perhaps you need an office a couple days a week to get caught up on work without the distractions of home or the coffee shop. Or maybe you need a full-time dedicated desk.

A coworking space on Vashon would also offer a unique opportunity for islanders who work independently or have flexible arrangements with their employers. For corporate commuters, the good news is that flex time is more common and easier to justify.

Beyond its practical advantages, coworking spaces tend to cultivate members who share the values of the collaborative economy: openness, trust, sharing and connection. A cohesive community can begin from the disparate groups (in coworking speak, this is accelerated serendipity). Need help on a blog post? Ask someone who’s in the writing business or get PR firm recommendations. Need a programming tweak on your website? Check in with the developers two tables down. Members often end up working on or starting projects together.

I am pleased to announce that a group of islanders plans to open HUB070, our own Vashon coworking and events space, in the Spinnaker Building, just north of Chase Bank. Our goal is to provide a central gathering space for islanders to come together, not only to work, but to share ideas, resources, make connections and inspire opportunity.

Examples of collaborative projects are on the horizon. For example, we are talking to a potential launch partner who intends to purchase a 3D printer and another who is interested in supporting nonprofit resource sharing. Possibilities for community building include a Vashon roundtable, a town hall, networking events and a business incubator program.

A Vashon coworking space is a win-win for island workers, the environment, economic development of the town core and maybe you. We are currently looking to round out our steering committee of launch partners to build a space that truly reflects our island community and the way you want to work. If this is something that makes sense for you, please consider helping us launch Vashon’s HUB070 by contacting camick@gmail.com or by filling out the form at www.hub070.com.

— Carolyn Amick is a small business consultant, serial entrepreneur and mother of three.

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