FREE coworking around the world for Locus members and other independent workers in Prague

One of the cool things about coworking is that a lot of people who decide to get involved in it really care about the idea and the value it has to offer, and not just about the business as a business. Sam Spurlin‘s several recent posts on this blog attest to this. Another sign of it comes from the grass roots cooperation across thousands of coworking spaces around the world that have contributed to coworking.com. The particular example I want to write about now are four options for free office sharing options across coworking spaces around the world: (1) the Coworking Visa, (2) The Prague Coworking Visa, (3) Loosecubes, and (4) Jelly. 

1. The Coworking Visa.

The coworking visa is one of the greatest largely-unknown sources of added value to participating coworking spaces, and also one of the most impressive examples of value-added cooperation across competing businesses I know of in any industry. If you’re a member of Locus or of another coworking space that participates in the visa program, you may know about it already. This is an informal group of about 500 coworking spaces around the world that have agreed to let members of other “Visa”-participant coworking spaces use their space for free (usually for up to 3 days, but the terms depend on the space; Locus is free for up to a month, but limited by the terms of the other coworking space). Here’s a link for details with the list of participating spaces and their terms, organized geographically. 

The coworking visa was the fortunate brain-child of two of the women leaders of the coworking movement, Julie Duryea of Souk in Portland, Oregon (now run by someone else and maybe under a different name) and Susan Evans of Office Nomads in Seattle, Washington. They proposed it on a google group to a network of people running coworking spaces around the world, and it was almost immediately successful.


2. The Prague Coworking Visa.
A group of coworking spaces in Prague (including Locus) were inspired by this visa program to create a Prague version of the visa that allows members of each space to use the other spaces for up to 25% of their membership time. See details here.

 
3. Loosecubes
Loosecubes is a corporate alternative to the Coworking Visa and it remains to be seen whether their intentions are pure and how well the system will work, but as it stands it looks very promising. It is an invite-only workspace-sharing network of about a thousand coworking spaces and other shared offices around the world. Right now (and from what they’ve told me, this is their permanent business model), their system is absolutely free for members of the network (including Locus Workspace members). This means you can use any of the other spaces on the Loosecubes network for free, though each space has its terms in terms of number of free days. So if you’re traveling abroad and want to cowork in most major cities around the world (though biased towards Western Europe and North America), you’ll have a coworking space to work at for free. Loosecubes also provides a software backend and a user-interface that make it easy to use and (it seems at least) perhaps more reliable than the Coworking Visa. 
 
4. Jelly
 
Jelly is informal coworking that started around the same time as the coworking movement itself with a group of freelancers in New York City who decided they’d rather work alongside other people than alone in their home office or at a cafe. They starting meeting as a group at each other’s homes or cafes, they created a wiki, and Jelly grew into a movement, with groups meeting to work together rather than alone around the world. Here’s a sample list of Jellies around the world on Meetup.com.
 
The group of collaborating coworking spaces in Prague mentioned earlier hosts a rotating series of jellies across their three spaces, which means people who don’t work in a coworking space (and may not want to) can experience some of the benefits of coworking for free every two weeks, and get to know a few of the coworking spaces in the city in the process.
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To me the added value that comes from sharing membership across coworking spaces (and with the public)–not just for independent workers and coworking space members, but also for the coworking spaces themselves–is immense. For the members, of course, it means they can literally work their way around the world (as long as they stick to major cities), for the price of the coworking space membership they already have at their home city. For coworking space owners, it means a wonderful influx of interesting visitors who add spice to the host spaces and use resources that were mostly available and going unused anyway!

Coworking in Prague | Coworking v Praze

Recently Locus Workspace has teamed up with a group of other coworking spaces in Prague to see how we can work together to do things we can’t do as individual spaces.

The project was largely inspired by Coworking Seattle‘s collaboration, so we owe a big thanks to their positive example.

Central to the collaboration is a recognition from all of us that there are many ways in which we all gain by focusing on how we can collaborate as well as on how we can co-promote the idea of coworking, coming together as coworking spaces much as individual space members might come together to facilitate something greater than the collection of individuals. We all believe the potential future size of the coworking community in Prague is much larger than the capacity of our combined spaces, and that at least for now the more options out there the better for the success of coworking more genreally. For now–I think–the biggest barrier to our collective success is not one another, but the extent to which the public and media are unaware of the coworking option, and how valuable it can be.

We do things such as:

  • Co-sponsor a Jelly (free, informal coworking open to the public) that meets every two weeks and rotates across 7 different coworking spaces in Prague.
  • Participate in a “Coworking in Prague visa program” (inspired by the international Coworking Visa) that allows members of any one of 5 coworking spaces in Prague use the other spaces for free for up to 25% of one’s membership time.
  • Share a common website and Facebook page (please join it, we just started up) for promoting the idea of coworking and communicating options for coworking in Prague to the public and to the media.
  • Help organize cross-space events that can bring our members together as well as bring awareness about coworking and what it has to offer to the public.

I’m really excited about the collaboration and the support for it that has come from the other participants in the Coworking in Prague program!

Start of Weekly Locus Jellies & international Coworking Day

To commemorate International Coworking Day, Locus Workspace will host its first jelly. This will mark the start of an (almost*) weekly jelly, starting at Locus for this first event, but hopefully moving to other coworking spaces in the future (Coffice is already a co-host and will start participating when it can).

So what’s a jelly and what’s International Coworking Day?

“Jelly is a casual working event. It’s taken place in over a hundred cities where people have come together (in a person’s home, a coffee shop, or an office) to work for the day. We provide chairs and sofas, wireless internet, and interesting people to talk to, collaborate with, and bounce ideas off of. You bring a laptop (or whatever you need to get your work done) and a friendly disposition.” Learn more about jellies at http://workatjelly.com.

For details on International Coworking Day (and some things you can do to commemorate it, see my blog post from last year’s Coworking Day here: http://bit.ly/oQmadb.

Space is limited, so please sign up early if you know you want to go.*

The jelly will take place at Locus’s new upper floor (take the elevator to the 4th floor and find the door around the corner to the left). The jelly will be followed by a film night on Locus’s 3rd floor at 6:30pm where we’ll show *Harold & Maude* on the whiteboard with a data projector.

If interested, please sign up for that separately.*

Here’s the schedule:
9am-12:30pm: 1st block of coworking
12:30pm-1pm: Presentation (TBA)
1-2:30pm: Lunch at Vytopna ( http://praha.vytopna.cz/) for those who want to join.
2:30-6pm: 2nd block of coworking.
6:30pm-8:30pm: Harold and Maude.

Feel free to come for just the 1st or 2nd coworking block if you can’t make it to the whole day, but please indicate that in your confirmation comment.

If you’re interested in giving a 1/2 hour before-lunch presentation, please let me know.

* – If you’d like to attend, you will need to confirm your attendance by accepting a Google Calendar event invitation. Please send me an email letting me know you want to attend with a google email account if you have one (but you need not have a google account to accept the invitation).

Two more Locus events

 

1) This Friday, Dec. 3rd, 7pm: Film night. This is the first in a series of film nights that we’ll try to keep up every two months with a different theme. The first one is “Russia” with two contemporary Russian films, first an intense drama and second a comedy. Films will be in Russian with English subtitles. There may be a fee to attend to pay for Russian food and drinks that will be provided, but this will likely be optional.
2) Wed., Dec. 15th, 2nd Texas Holdem poker tournament. 6:30pm (for the half hour tutorial for beginners); 7pm (for people who don’t need a tutorial). Last time the vast majority had never played poker before and it was great fun.
To get more details, to sign up for these events, or to keep up with Locus Workspace events more generally, sign up at the Locus events webpage: http://events.locusworkspace.com (you need to sign up for a meetup.com account if you don’t already have one).