Many of us can work from anywhere nowadays, laptop and cellphone in hand. As with most freedoms, sometimes the flexibility of contemporary work can leave us craving structure and community. While working at home or in a coffee shop can be a delight, other times it is fraught with distractions. That was the experience of Janet Howse, winner of the 2013 Bear’s Lair and owner of The Work of Art, a start-up that markets adaptable art products for people with dementia and their caregivers.
Howse joined Hatch Ptbo, a new coworking space located in St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church (120 Murray St.). “Being a small independent start-up can be a lonely business," she says. "I tried working at home but the pull of my domestic life and lack of human interaction impaired my focus. I came to Hatch in June of 2013 to try it out. I have been here nearly full time ever since. Being a one woman show, I have really benefitted from sharing resources and skills. The space is beautiful, full of light with soaring ceilings. I feel good every time I walk through the door.”
Inspired by the Centre for Social Innovation in Toronto, Hatch Ptbo is the grassroots creation of many local community builders. Opening its doors on May 31, 2013, Hatch Ptbo is an architectural beauty—a professional office filled with natural light, and a warm and welcoming space. Now a COIN social enterprise, it strives to be a dynamic entrepreneurial community which exists to promote creativity and innovation for the benefit of the community of Peterborough.
The office space is run on a membership basis with various options. Some members keep a permanent nine to five schedule, while others drop in on nights and weekends to enjoy a productive space. Office sizes also vary, with some members taking over entire rooms, and others simply using a desk and a chair; meeting rooms, lounge area, and kitchen are shared. All memberships include access to Wi-Fi, meeting rooms, kitchen, office equipment, and best of all, coworkers.
Current members include for-profit start-ups, small non-profit organizations, and freelancers who do everything from programming, graphic design, and cartography to book writing and organic farming inspections. Jo-Anne Green, Employment Development Officer, is the sole staff member running the Peterborough office of Kagita Mikam, an Aboriginal training and employment non-profit: “I really like the open concept space because I like the commotion of people around me and the chance to network and bounce ideas off others," she says. Previously, Green felt isolated in a rented basement office.
For home-based businesses, budding entrepreneurs starting out, or non-profits with short term projects but no more desk space, Hatch Ptbo is a smart option. Its flexible memberships are affordable and low commitment. Shared space is not just about economizing and maximizing space, but also about becoming part of an inspiring community that allows you to function at a higher level.