Free Coworking Workspace for Non-Profits in Fort Collins

FO(CO)WORKS CONTRIBUTES WORKSPACE FOR SOCIAL IMPACT ORGANIZATIONS

Fort Collins coworking alliance participates in All Good Work Foundation residency program.

Fort Collins, Colo., June 2, 2017 — Fo(co)works, an alliance of Fort Collins collaborative work spaces, announced a partnership today with the All Good Work Foundation to create a residency program for local social impact organizations. The All Good Work Foundation connects social impact organizations with flexible workspace operators around the world, enabling them to provide free workspace and business resources to verified social causes. Under the program, each of the fo(co)works collaborative workspaces will be able to accommodate a verified All Good Work resident organization, and provide access to fully furnished, top-quality workspace for a period of one year.

Residents will also have access to resources designed to help them grow and develop their organization. The fo(co)works alliance is currently comprised of the following Fort Collins coworking organizations: Cohere, Cohere Bandwidth, Front Range Business Centers, Mesh, Office Evolution Fort Collins, The Articulate, and The Music District. Fo(co)works will announce the All Good Work residency program to a broader local audience at an upcoming coworking happy hour event on June 6 at Office Evolution.

“We are excited to welcome our first All Good Work resident to Cohere,” said Angel Kwiatkowski, owner of Cohere and Cohere Bandwidth. Kwiatkowski, whose coworking spaces have been home to several nonprofit organizations in the past several years, said the All Good Work residency will allow more deserving causes to tap into a supportive, nurturing community of like-minded professionals.

The All Good Work application process is as follows:

Applications for the first round of eligible residents will be accepted between now and June 30, 2017.
All Good Work narrows down applicants through a verification process.
Successful applicants will be granted membership in a workspace for one year.
The impact residents have during this time will be tracked and reported on.

Residents are required to commit to making good use of the space, pay a program management fee of $50 per person per month to All Good Work, and provide feedback and reporting on the impact their organization has created during their time in the program.

For more information about Fo(co)works, visit http://focoworks.com/.

For more information about the All Good Work Foundation, or to apply, visit https://allgoodwork.space

Join us for our happy hour to benefit Global Leaders, June 6 from 5-7 p.m. at Office Evolution! RSVP Here.

EVENT: Coworking Happy Hour for All

The Fort Collins Coworking Alliance is proud to invite you to our next big collaborative event.

What: Happy Hour to benefit Global Leaders, a non-profit housed in Cohere that provides international service learning opportunities for high school students.

Where: Office Evolution 2580 E Harmony Rd, Fort Collins, CO 80528

When: Tuesday, June 6th from 5:00pm-7:00pm

Who: Any member of any coworking or shared space AND any person who is interested in finding out more about Fort Collins’ shared work spaces.

The Fun Parts

  • Suggested donation of $5 goes straight to fund Global Leaders’ work with local high school students.
  • Interactive COWORK bingo game to get you moving around the room and meeting new people for a chance to win a free month of coworking at your favorite space.

RSVP: On our Facebook page.

Choosing a Coworking Space in Fort Collins

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As I’ve said so many times before, what makes coworking unique and so beneficial isn’t the Wifi speed or the selection of office types: it’s the people. Coworking spaces are first and foremost communities where we celebrate, support, and challenge each other. By being independent together in our selected spaces, we are building a resilient local economy that’s focused on flexibility, openness and sustainability.

With a growing number of coworking choices in Fort Collins, I wanted to revisit the topic of how to choose a coworking space. Like that artist’s palette pictured above, there are many different shades of coworking. Choosing a coworking community is about more than comparing lists of amenities or evaluating price.

Anyone can set up desks and connect Wifi. But did they take the time to build a purposeful community? Are members encouraged to interact? Is there a spirit of collaboration and camaraderie, or do members pass like ships in the night? The answers to these questions will greatly affect your coworking experience.

Rules of Thumb when Choosing a Coworking Space

1. Look for the people. What kind of website does the space have? Are there people in the pictures, or just empty chairs and desks. The way a space markets itself tells you a lot about the type of community that lives there. Member profiles, events, and scheduling functions should always be easily accessible. This indicates activity, enjoyment, and gives you a peek at your new neighbors.

2. Work there first. Never choose a coworking space sight unseen, I don’t care how attractive their prices are. Most coworking spaces offer a free tour or day pass so that you can experience the community culture first hand. Sit in the seats. Listen to the chatter (or lack thereof). Test the lighting, Wifi speed, and coffee. Shake some hands. A coworking community has the ability to drastically affect your mood, motivation, and yes, even profits. Choose wisely.

3. Peruse the plans. A well-established coworking space offers a variety of membership plans so that you can choose the relationship that suits you best. Look for flexible contracts so that you can adjust your memberships according to your needs. No sense choosing a 12 month contract when you travel for 3 months every summer. Also be on the lookout for nights and weekend availability if that’s when you are most productive.

Alright, now that we’ve got those tips out of the way, feast your eyes on a sampling of Fort Collins area coworking options on our fo(co)works alliance home page at http://focoworks.com.

 

How to Attract Women to Coworking

Men might fit into the popular ideal of what a freelance digital professional looks like. But in the coworking world, women are giving this stereotype a run for its money.

The Global Coworking Survey found that “most coworkers are in their mid twenties to late thirties, with an average age of 34. Two-thirds are men, one third are women.”

But some communities exist in complete opposition to these statistics. And those spaces that are predominantly male are very interested in reaching out to connect with what some consider the untapped freelancing audience: women.

Attracting talented, motivated women to coworking must be done delicately, however. Coworking space owners must not perpetuate damaging perceptions by thinking that a few women-only events and some girly decor will do the trick.

Liz Elam of Link Coworking, a space in Austin, Texas, that enjoys a majority of female members recommends developing services that would attract any hard-working, bread-winning professional: “Coworking is very popular in Austin, women were looking for a space that they connected with and felt comfortable – Link is that space.  When women find what they want they tend to tell all their friends so word of mouth has been the primary mode of spreading the word.”

Elam credits Link’s clean, comfortable personality and an emphasis on personal connection with its ability to attract more women members than men. “I’ve visited over 20 Coworking spaces worldwide and I can tell you everything you need to know by looking at their bathrooms and kitchens. When someone comes in, greet them.  It’s very un-nerving to interrupt a work environment and first impressions make a huge difference”

For Susan Evans, community manager at Office Nomads, attracting women has more to do with the people who make up the community rather than the space itself. 

“Truthfully, I can only say that we attract women into the space by having other women in the space. I think women feel most comfortable when they’re not the only female. I’m pretty sure that it’s easier to bring women into the space when either one or more of the managers/owners/operators of the coworking space is a woman.”

Office Nomads is in a different position from Link Coworking, with only about 30 percent female members. Evans said that what might seem like obvious strategies to introduce female entrepreneurs to coworking aren’t always the smartest.

“In the earlier days, I tried to go to some women-specific networking events, but didn’t find that process all that successful. I have found the best conversations about coworking have just come up in casual conversation with friends or folks at events. I truly believe that the best source of finding other female coworkers is having our current female members out and talking to their friends.”

Rayanne Larsen of Work Spot has also found that reaching out to females in the community at large is a great way to share the message of coworking with ladies who would be an asset to the space.

“I’ve tried to work with women that are in positions in companies/organizations/government/etc. that I think are beneficial for the Work Spot,” said Larsen. “We are right across from city hall and our Mayor is a woman. I recently found out that she has been a teacher and principal for many years. I have been wanting to venture into offering classes (to again, bring more exposure to moms) and asked her to help me develop the program.  Since I don’t know the first thing about that area, partnering with someone who does and has influence offers a win-win-win situation.

Another benefit of having women on staff and as part of your core membership is that they can help demonstrate the myriad unique ways that female professionals use coworking to meet their needs.

Women, by their very nature, wear more than one hat at any given time. Women are professionals, moms, sisters, wives, business owners, employees, teachers, students, and leaders. All at once. Finding a way to address more than one of those roles only increases the benefits of becoming involved in your community.

“One interesting (and small) group of our members (I believe one woman and one man) have come in as spouses of medical residents who have relocated to Seattle for their residency,” said Evans. “These spouses (again, not always women) often have negotiated to have flexible jobs, and as they don’t always know a lot of people in the city have enjoyed having our coworking space not only as their work-base, but as their social-base as well. ”

“I have found that I really enjoy putting people and talents together, so I take those that I meet, listen to what they have to say and see where I can bring that back to someone else,” continued Larsen.  “I try to partner with women that know things I don’t -which is a lot! I also have been able to utilize my business experience to offer advice or opinions.  (I even used my mommy talents by taking care of a member’s son for 2 hours while she conducted a client meeting in our conference room…I can’t imagine that happening over at locations owned predominately by men).”

If you’re a fairly new space, it’s important to think about positioning your brand in a way that will be appealing to members of both sexes. Shelly Leonard of Conjunctured speculates that the way the community presents itself online has a lot to do with its ability to attract female members.

“Actually, offering free day passes and making that pretty prominent on our website has helped us attract the most women,” said Leonard. “In Austin (and by looking at our membership page), I think they get the idea that coworking is primarily male so it helps to come in and actually try it out; get a feel for the space and see if they’ll fit in with the crowd.”

Quick Tips For Attracting Female Members

  • Think light, bright and clean when designing or decorating your space.
  • Approach each day as if you’re welcoming people into your home.
  • Not all events need to be about WordPress or hacking, think of what women in business are interested in!
  • Build long-term relationships with women-centric organizations and offer your space for their events.
  • Make a point to hire female staff members.
  • Empower female staffers and members to speak about coworking to their personal and professional connections.

How to Cowork: A New Member’s Guide

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Coworking is a fun, social and productive alternative to working from home or the coffee shop.  You need just a few essential things to cowork effectively at any of the Fort Collins coworking spaces.

  • Your laptop & integrated or external wireless receiver + your power cord and any other laptop accessories you like to use.
  • Your cell phone in case you use that to make work calls. Not all coworking spaces have land lines.

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  • A happy, helpful attitude.
  • A project to work on or your normal daily work routine.

What to do when you arrive on your first day:

  • Find the community manager or staff person. Get another tour if you need it.
  • Pick a place to sit.  Many coworking spaces have multiple seating options, the community manager can help you find just the right one.

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  • Introduce yourself to your fellow coworkers.  Take a moment to learn what they’re working on and let them know what projects you’re tackling.
  • Begin being wildly productive.  Collaborate with others, ask them questions, offer advice or help your coworkers and start building your coworking community.
  • Any questions or problems, ask your neighbor.

Not sure where the coworking spaces are in Fort Collins? Check out our list at the fo(c0)works coworking alliance at http://focoworks.com.

 

Why You Can’t Afford to Skip Coworking

Coworking For Your Dreams

The first time a freelancer hears about coworking, their initial response is something to the effect of, “that sounds great but I just can’t afford it right now.”

There’s no denying that as independent professionals, we live without the illusion of security that our jobs will always be there. At the same time, we can’t be fired. And when life makes it necessary to increase income, it’s far easier for a freelancer to find a new client than for a traditional employee to get a raise.

But I digress.

The truth is, if you’re a mobile worker with a dream, you can’t afford to NOT be coworking. Consider this: you can join a coworking space in Fort Collins for as little as $55/mo. That’s 13 lattes. And I doubt the coffee shop is doing much for your professional image. Here are 3 more reasons you need to be coworking.

1. Pain-free Networking

Let’s be real: networking events are the worst. People standing stiffly against the wall, juggling a tiny plate of appetizers and a stack of business cards. Name tags. Elevator pitches. It’s not pretty, and most people get nothing from it.

Coworking allows you to network without the pain and humiliation. Your fellow coworking members are some of the most talented, successful professionals in town. And you get to sit next to them every day! Instead of 5 minutes of small talk, you’ll have real, meaningful conversations with people who can and will refer you work.

2. An Elevated Reputation

Joining a coworking space might seem like a big jump for your career. Maybe you’re just starting out, and profits are still tight. That’s fine, we’ve all been there. Even though you may starting a business out of your garage, that’s not the best place to meet potential clients. Coworking provides the professional image you can’t yet afford. A conference room with presentation equipment, quiet areas to take important phone calls, work space for brain storming sessions, etc. You’ll also get a business mailing address and someone to sign for your packages while you’re at lunch. For no extra charge! (P.O. boxes alone can cost more than $20 a month).

3. A Tribe 

Are you looking to grow your business? Want to avoid those first-time freelancer mistakes? Need constructive feedback on a project from someone other than your mother? These are the intangibles provided by your coworking tribe. For two dollars a day, you’ll have access to some of the brightest minds in the business. People who have been there and lived to tell the tale. Professionals who can give you advice, sympathize with your failures, and rejoice in your victories. Coworkers share their knowledge freely, knowing that strong small businesses are the backbone of our larger community. We participate to help each other become better.

Check out all the coworking options in Fort Collins at http://fo(co)works.com.

Image Credit: Flickr – mdanys/Hub Vilnius

Why Coworking is the Ideal Environment for Productivity

According to a Global Coworking Survey, when pressed to list an adjective that describes their coworking experience, most members said the same thing: “fun”. Wait a minute–fun is supposed to be something that happens when the day’s work is done, right? We’ve all had bosses scold us about goofing off on the clock. The same thing goes when you’re your own boss: too much Facebook and the day will be over before you’ve had the chance to rack up any billable hours.

Here’s the problem: when all the fun is sucked out of a workplace, stress moves in to fill the void. And that’s bad news for productivity. As the infographic below shows, the type of environment in which we work has a big impact on how we feel while we’re doing that work.  Everything from lighting to temperature can affect our mood, and take our day from kick-ass to nightmare. As you can see, working together with people (but not too many people) in the same room is the best way to create a low-stress work environment.

That’s why we coworking spaces that offer many different types of work environments, from open desks to private offices, lounge space to outdoor space are better for you. We’re here to help you work in whatever style will help you remain peaceful, relaxed, and productive. Check out all the fo(co)works alliance coworking spaces on our home page at http://focoworks.com.

What’s the most stressful work environment you’ve ever been a part of? Are you more relaxed as a coworker? Share your thoughts in a comment!

Image via Turnstone

How Coworking is Better at Networking

networking and coworking

For freelancers and small business owners, networking is absolutely essential. Getting to know people–what they do and what they need–is the fastest way to build connections, and by extension your potential customer base.

The only problem traditional networking SUCKS. Business card exchanges, 5 second elevator speeches, feeling like you’re trapped at a used car salesman’s annual conference–all of this makes me want to gag.

Unfortunately, nothing is more effective at building your professional reputation and creating customers like face-to-face interaction. The good news is, thanks to a wealth of communication technologies, traditional networking events aren’t the only way to get to know someone.

The infographic below breaks down some interesting statistics about the impact of face-to-face networking, how the mobile workforce is changing the look of networking, and the types of situations that demand a handshake vs. those that can be accomplished over the phone or on a video chat.

But before you start scrolling through all that visual goodness, just remember: coworking is the ultimate networking event. Every time you come into your coworking space, or visit another of the thousands of coworking spaces around the world, you’re expanding your collection of contacts, colleagues, and friends. Better yet, you’re not doing it in a contrived, forced, squint-at-their-nametag-and-pretend-to-be-interested kind of way. You’re doing it in a totally casual, genuine way.

Coworkers get to know each other as friends and office mates, with no hidden agendas. We ask about each other’s projects, clients, and experiences, and as we grow closer as community, there are often reasons to refer work or collaborate. It’s 21st century networking that’s effortless and efficient. And doesn’t make me want to gag. Wins all around.

Face to Face Networking
Source: GreatBusinessSchools.org

Image via opensourceway