Here I am again, back on this blog to talk about coworking, and I’m doing it from Belfast: last 9th November, in fact, I took part to the Coworking Day organised by WabiSabi (I already talked about them, do you remember?) at the brand new Business and Community Centre in Bleary.
Let’s refresh our memory: what is WabiSabi?
WabiSabi is a venture by Sensei.ie and it’s not the usual coworking. Allen and Dawn, the two minds at the back of the organisation, aim to open in the future a coworking space in Belfast, and they are preparing to that in the best way: through the creation in primis of a community of professionals and entrepeneurs that is taking shape in time thanks to itinerant coworking days (if you read my previous articles you will see that the events have always been held in different, always fascinating places) which, appointment after appointment, are becoming more and more interesting.
WabiSabi Days aren’t just a way to seat to a desk that could be our own studio’s one if we were inviting some colleagues, but a completely new way of experiencing the meeting with other professionals: thanks to the organisation of the day, divided in many micro-speeches, problem solving moments, convivial pauses with good food and, of course, work, you go home enriched, with new colleagues and often with some problem solved by a specialist.
After attending some times, to have a chat and socialize becomes even easier, since you will be meeting again people from the previous days: the concept of the creation of a community helps a lot in this and is a serious thing for WabiSabi since as you take part to your first day you start to be updated on the next appointments, on how they are gone and you will be sent news about the world of coworking.
The new Business and Community Centre in Bleary
This last day has been held in the Bleary Business and Community Centre: the centre is open few time ago and it is very, very nice. You can find Wi-Fi, a conference room, a computer room and a kitchen, that contributes to make the place pretty cozy. Bleary is around 15 minutes from Lurgan, so to reach the place from Belfast you need to take a train and then a bus (but I don’t know the line since I got a lift).
The Coworking Day
As I already said, one of the things I love about WabiSabi is the organization of the day, so, as the participant arrived and we were all sitting down, it was the moment for a presentation of the programme and the welcome by the Centre’s Manager, Catherine McNeill:
Then there was one moment that in my opinion is just brilliant: the “Grab a Flipchart Challenge“, where they handed out some Post-it-like notes to everyone with the invitation to think about a problem, a criticality, a hurdle that in this moment is a difficulty in our job; since there are various professionals in the room that work in different fields, there is a good possibility that what for us is a very big obstacle will be in the end easily solved by a colleague. Once written down our questions we were invited to attach them to a board:
After a hour of work and a short break, with scones and tea in pure northern irish style, Dawn and Allen asked everyone to go near the board, read the questions and choose one/two that we could solve. The notes had names on them, so it was easy enough to find the colleague in need and to sit down to give an answer to his/her question. This activity is brilliant on many sides: it helps socialize even the most timid and introvert ones (like me, for example), it makes the participants feel useful and competent, it sends them home satisfied and with some problems solved.
After the Challenge it was the turn of the short learning session “Digital Marketing for SMEs“.
One of the things I love about these speeches is that they are never unidirectional: since they are held for professionals, among professionals, Dawn always leaves open the possibility of kicking in the conversation if you have something to add.
The schedule of the day planned after this a lunch all together at 1, another hour of work and then the speech by Allen on “Mental Health and Entrepeneurs“.
This was a pretty interesting learning session: often we underestimate the problems that freelancers and entrepeneurs have to deal with since of their isolated lifestyle. Yes, because to be by yourself is not just freedom, but it also means to be alone during difficulties. How can you fight stress, depression, anxiety? Easy: play and work has to be the same. Of couse this isn’t always possible, but there is a good probability that freelancers love what they do; we just have to think about it more often.
During Allen’s speech, to remain as previously in the field of dialogue and of non unidirectional lessons, we did an exercise to understand what are the activities that we like more in our jobs, the ones that make us feel strong and that show us the path to take in the future.
After this speech there was still some time to work and do some networking: at 4.30 the day was ended and we said goodbye to each other feeling very friendly and satisfied.
Useless to say that I love to take part to WabiSabi Days; I think they totally catch what a freelancer needs:
- Problem Solving
- Recognition of each other’s professionalism
In the end, let’s not forget the convivial breaks that, for someone like me coming from Italy, are very important in the process of socialization.
Also the catering this time was even better than the other times: scones with jam, fruit and cream and coffee and tea for breakfast, then casseroles, focaccia bread, potatoes, rice and other plates for lunch, and pastries as dessert…and all so yummy!
Ciao a tutti, hopefully see you at next WabiSabi Coworking Day!