A few weeks ago I attended a Girl Geek workshop about WordPress at Inspire9 and I just had to blog about this terrific concept and amazing place.
Inspire9 is a coworking space. That is, a shared working environment. Unlike a typical working environment, those coworking are usually not employed by the same employer. They are work-at-home professionals, freelancers, independent contractors, and other types of workers who end up working alone. There are many advantages to being this type of worker, but among the significant disadvantages are isolation, the lack of collaboration, and the lack of community. That’s where coworking spaces come in.
A coworking space gives you a place to go when you’re looking to escape the cabin fever of working from home. It can also provide you with tools you may not have such as a conference room or photo studio. But the best part may be joining a community and the collaboration and new ideas that could emerge from it.
I spend a lot of time at my computer at home. Occasionally, I go to the library and although that gives me a change of scenery, it’s not a creative, collaborative space. I’d been meaning to check out Inspire9 and I finally got the chance recently.
Inspire9 is a giant space in a converted warehouse in Richmond. It’s buzzing with energy, hatching great new ideas no doubt, with lots of people at work, and a few at play over the ping pong or pool table. There are meetings rooms and a kitchen as well. There are big desks that drop-ins share and permanent stations with desktop computers for members. There’s a lot of natural sunlight and a good feel overall.
I spoke a little bit with Community Manager Kathryn McGrath who told me the people at Inspire9 are mostly techies, freelancers, startups, and other geeky types. She did warn me it can get loud; there’s a train line running by it and that ping pong table is very popular. Also, it’s the kind of place where people like to bounce ideas off each other and collaborate. Inspire9 may not be a good choice for workers who like a quiet space with few interruptions.
Here are a few snapshots of Inspire9 that I took with my iPhone after my workshop was over. It was about 8:30pm so it was pretty quiet by then.
Inspire9 is inside the old Australian Knitting Mill, established in 1910.
Lots of work stations.
Unfortunately, there are no bike racks outside, but Inspire9 provides a space for them.
More work stations and a few comfy couches to chill out on.
Permanent workstations for members.
Take a break with ping pong, Foosball, or pool.
You can use Inspire9 for free once a fortnight, which gives you a chance to get to know the space and its people. Beyond that, there are a couple of different pricing plans depending on how often you want to use the space. Inspire9 is located at 41 Stewart Street in Richmond.
What has your experience been with coworking spaces? Have you every used one? Would you?