OK, so let me be the first to break it to attorneys who represent companies of all shapes and sizes. There is a new business force in town, and there are bound to be all kinds of ethics issues, legal ramifications and newfangled terminology arising out of the novel concept, so clear some room on your diaries and get your mobile devices ready! (At the very least, you’ll be getting calls on how to negotiate contracts.)
Digital Workplace Blog recognizes the unfurling of new vistas when it predicts: “For companies considering this option, careful management planning and legal guidance will be needed to ensure that these engaging and productive working spaces promote corporate values and conform to workplace policies.”
Known as co-working or jellies, this very avant-garde entrepreneurial set-up is a reaction to what one participant calls our “oh-so-digital world”. Jellies also manage to expand on the concept of where technology exists. Although it started out as an urban movement, the sky’s the limit for this operation…there are jellies cropping up in suburban and rural places all over the nation–and even around the globe. And the movement is gaining momentum.
What started out with full-time freelancers in NY bistros and segued on to part-time solo practitioners hanging out their shingles in tandem once a week, has become another uniquely American invention. Jellies provide a place for independent agents to convene….and perhaps partake of some refreshment. Oh, and they get some work done, too.
DWB recently reported on an article in Strategy + Business which described an Atlanta (Georgia) jelly community where folks who generally work at home gather ‘round a work space, or several, one day a week. (The word “jelly” has been adopted for the whimsical reason that those who came up with the idea for these generic gatherings happened to be eating jelly beans at the time.) Roam, the place in Atlanta where these independents convene, is not a restaurant or a café. Rather, it’s an “innovative meeting, dining and gathering place for a progressive workforce”.
A “Co-working Community Blog” for the surrounding area explained the phenomenon this way: “Co-working is a movement to create café-like community/collaboration spaces for developers, writers and independents.”
Some jellies are free; some are at members’ homes. So not only do co-workers get a way cheaper rental and a place that is usually closer to home than most business districts, but they also get the chance to bounce ideas off each other, as well as to network. It’s like social media, but without the password. And, hey, you’re eyeball to eyeball with your fellow muses.
“[We] provide communal workspaces for independent workers,” explains another co-working site, GPCW or Greenpoint Co-working. GPCW, based in Brooklyn, NY, claims that: “Our goal is to build and nourish community in a beautiful and professional environment while fostering individual work.”
An attorney who sometimes co-works, Nancy L. Schick of Greenpoint, says: “I am a counsellor at law [in] business and conflict resolution. I am a sole proprietor and employer advocate who feels a special connection to the broad range of businesses that fall under the range of ‘freelancer’.” Nancy finds that co-working is very “efficient, ‘green’ and…fertile ground for incubating ideas”.
She says: “My experience has been that most co-working professionals are genuinely interested in building a supportive community, so everyone succeeds. I can’t imagine a better place to do business.” For more information go to http://www.digitalworkplaceblog.com/remote-access/telecommuters/is-co-working-the-shape-of-things-to-come/ and http://blog.coworking.info/2007/10/04/jelly-austin-tx-and-jelly-atlanta-coming-up/ and http://greenpointcoworking.com/blog/