I’ve been meaning to create this map for ages, and here it is.
It’s a map to show social working spaces in Staffordshire (borders are fuzzy, add places wherever you want, we’ll introduce a bit of discipline if it gets too full).
As many of us become less reliant on offices for much of our work, social working spaces can help make work more sustainable by cutting down on the amount of commuting people have to do. Also for freelancers working at home, social workspaces are useful for meetings and to avoid stir-craziness.
Stoke-on-Trent lends itself very well to having more social working hubs, being a city with lots of different centres. The county has a similar make-up of dispersed towns and villages. Many of us have to travel around a lot and could reduce this if there were more places where we knew we could plug ourselves in, bump into people we know and get a bit of work done.
Social working is a good business model too, from the simple coffee shop which offers an uncovered plugpoint and a wifi code to the more structured membership centres such as The Hub, TechHub and One Alfred Place to name a few in London. If this sort of model emerged, I think a lot of voluntary sector and social enterprises would consider spreading the money that they currently spend on one office so that they could access a few – secure availability of storage is the crucial factor they’d need to have. City council workers would also benefit and the council is well-placed with all its buildings to develop this kind of scheme in partnership with the business centres it has often part-funded through different streams; perhaps this would make a good LEP proposal.
What is growing in popularity in the area is social working and networking events with the most recent, Staffs Marketing Academy, attracting a good turnout. There are also a number of business breakfast clubs and the Jelly working day takes place monthly at the Moathouse. Typically these charge a fee to cover food and room hire and are quite business-focussed, but I’ve always found them friendly and welcoming to non-sales types like me. The Business Brokers, part of the Chamber, also run events which are more often free.
So to gather this together I’ve used Google maps so it links easily to other ratings and more information about the places. It’s open and I’ve started adding my favourites, so please add anywhere you know about to it. There are instructions on the map or if you get stuck just add details as a comment here.
If you are a freelance or other worker looking to get out and about more, then Twitter is what many people use to organise meetups or check-in to places they are working if they’re interested in seeing who else is about. Creative workers are a bit more elusive and where there is social organising going on it often takes place on Facebook or in real life networks. For more links, explore the network tag and also the monthly events list.