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    Coworking; it’s more than just a desk.

    The journey of any coworker starts with a simple request; “I’d like to rent a desk” and usually followed by, “how does it work”.

    I get asked that question nearly 5 to 6 times a day, from people looking to get out of the house and home office environment and into a shared office, where they can come to and get some work done. Of course, I give them all the information such as cost, what’s included and how our membership is structured, but what I can’t tell them (yet), is just how much more there is to coworking than simply renting a desk in an office.

    I mean, how can you? For the most part,  it’s fair to say that my experience will differ from yours as yours will from mine, but in this world of coworking and indeed Cape Town Office, I can tell you this.  Every single coworker that’s come through the door has at one point or another said this to me…”it’s so much more than I could ever have imagined”. The reason for this in 99% (and I’ll tell you about the 1% is in a moment) of cases, is the people, their new coworkers.

    It’s not just someone that they’re sitting next to in an office, it’s someone they go hiking up Lions Head with before work. It’s someone they go surfing with, or surf school because they’ve always wanted to learn and now they have someone to do it with. It’s someone they go trail running with on a Saturday in Stellenbosch. It’s someone they meet up with on a Sunday morning to watch the cricket over breakfast in the Waterfront, because let’s face it, it’s not something my wife loves doing any day, but especially a Sunday.

    ctocrewlionshead

    The other 1%? Well, they claim it’s Pac-Man ….so who am I to argue with that.

    Coworking is a VERB,  the space we do it in is secondary to the people we do it with is how Adam Teterus of Indy Hall so beautifully explained it at CWA2015. And I for one, couldn’t agree more.

    Happy October kids x

    October 10, 2016
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    Coworking Africa, a growing community.

    coworking-Africa-Conference-2015-970X180

    Coworking Africa

    On the 5th of February we had the 2nd meetup of Coworking Africa at the Design Bank, in the East City of Cape Town. Organised by the Coworking Europe crew, this was very much a spur of the moment event as a follow on from the very first gathering in 2015.

    Like the first #CWAfrica conference, the content was rich and the contributors all evangelical about the growth of the coworking movement on African soil. What’s clear is that we [operators / owners] are all passionate about the people we’re creating these amazing spaces for; the freelancers, the entrepreneurs, the lone rangers out on a mission to start his/her own business and desperate to get out of “coffee shop working” and into a community of like minds. We understand how crucial enabling this environment is to the bigger picture, i.e. the growth of our economy and that any part we can play in helping the start-ups and small businesses can only be a great thing for the South African and greater African economy.

    For example, we heard at the meet up that there’s so much good news around the growth of Fintech in Cape Town, be it the vast amount of talent Cape Town has to offer the Tech (global) scene, that could rival any San Francisco, London and Silicon Valley today. And the influx of investment that leads to the creation of more Hubs and Incubators that in turn feeds beautifully into coworking spaces. It’s all very good news!

    Now for the part that’s not so good… YET! A clear message from the unconference part of the day was that more needs to be done to assist those who live outside of our cities, in townships and informal settlements to help become part of our coworking communities. It’s not enough to offer discounted or even free space to these entrepreneurs and freelancers. Paying for a desk is only one part of the problem, what about the nearly R2,000 per month to travel in and out of town on top, not to mention lunch!

    We don’t have the answers to these complex social issues, not by a long shot, but participating in platforms like Coworking Africa brings us a little closer to finding those sustainable solutions. I look forward to the continued discussion around this subject and welcome you – yes you reading this – to put forward any ideas on how we can make this a reality.

    A big thanks to Vanessa and Coworking Africa for putting the day together with the help of Steven from The Design Bank and all the lovely people I met on the day! To catch the presentations and an overview by the organisors, read up about it here, http://coworkingafrica.com/2016/02/15/a-look-back-at-the-second-coworking-africa-2016-meetup/

    Keep an eye out for the next meetup & hope to see you there!

    Lizelle

     

    February 15, 2016
    Africa Business Cape Town co-working community coworking Entrepreneur flexoffice hub Not for Profit Shared Office SouthAfrica Uncategorized workcation

    Time flies

    capetownoffice

    It’s been an exciting couple of months here at CTO. We had the crew from Touch Foundation visit from Tanzania who decided on Cape Town as a go-to workcation destination. They took full advantage of all that the Cape has to offer visitors during their 7 week stay and I dare say the experience is one that will leave a lasting impression. Always lovely to see this beautiful place we call home through the eyes of visitors…reminds us of just how lucky we are!

    It was an absolute pleasure getting to know Karin, Renae, Andrew, Dancho, Sarah, Vallerio and Massi who do such amazing work in the health care sector in Tanzania.

    Never heard of Touch Foundation? Well here’s a little snippet:

    Touch Foundation is a secular, non-profit organization committed to improving the health of the Tanzanian population by strengthening the health system across the different levels of care. Touch expands its impact by sharing the acquired knowledge with the local and international public health community.

    So here we are with less than 5, yes … 5 weeks till the end of 2015 and I can’t believe how time flies. It’s been an incredible year for CTO and there’s so much to talk about that I’ve decided this year to write a proper Directors’ Report with the highs and lows of coworking life at CTO which I’ll publish in the coming weeks.

    If you’re starting or thinking of starting a new business in 2016, get in touch. We’re always looking for cool, creative and inspiring entrepreneurs to join our clan.

    Have fun!

    November 25, 2015
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    The growth of coworking.

    A friend shared this video with me today and so here it is, thanks Marius of Freelance Cape Town.  The growth of coworking in Cape Town has been staggering over the past two years which only proves that more people are waking up to the benefits of working from a coworking space.

    Coworking is no longer an idea or concept or even a thing of the future, Coworking is now.

    Video via Turnstone.

    November 04, 2015
    Cape Town co-working Collaborate community cowork coworking Design Digital Entrepreneur Entrepreneur Network flexoffice hub Internet networking Shared Office SME SouthAfrica Start-up workcation

    Five reasons to join a coworking space.

     

    photo-1433650552684-d4004a945d6c (1)

    So this is something I get asked quite a lot and I hasten to add that it’s usually from people who have never worked in a coworking space or people that haven’t heard of coworking before *gasp*, but yes…it’s true, there are people out there who haven’t heard of coworking.

    I think there are many really great reasons, but as we’re all busy people I’d like to distill it down to just five great things and I guess you could say reasons why it’s great to be in a coworking space.

    1. You’re not alone.

    Now even though this sounds pretty obvious, I think it’s really important to remember that humans are naturally quite social beings. We like to meet new people. We like to share our experiences and most of all I think we like to be reminded that we’re not alone.  So being part of a coworking community like Cape Town Office is a great way to not spend what is a large chunk of your day/s alone.

    2. You get all the trimmings, without the price tag.

    This is a pretty great reason all on it’s own to join a coworking space. With the collective buying power a coworking space has, you get enterprise class internet (or you should) without the hefty price tag, for example. Installing a fibre optic internet line, if you’re lucky enough to be in an area where it’s possible, can cost thousands. Then there’s the monthly premium which again can cost you thousands per month so as a freelancer or a small business that’s a really tough expense to swallow every month.

    3. Resources.

    Here at Cape Town Office we have loads of really talented people. Graphic designers, Illustrators, Website developers and even a guy who sells aluminium components to the building industry. Now, granted the last one isn’t exactly something you can make use of daily, but being a couple of desks away from someone who can help create your new brand identity, a cute logo or even your new website can be a very handy thing!

    4. Productivity.

    I know we all like to think of ourselves as self-starters, energy bunnies who jump out of bed in the morning with a big smile on our face ready to face the day, but let’s be honest. There are many days where the mere idea of getting out of bed can be a challenge. Here’s where having “somewhere to go” can be a life saver. You get in, grab a coffee and get to it! Head down for a few hours and before you know it you’ve conquered most of your To-Do list and suddenly the world is a sunnier place.

    5. It’s fun.

    In a coworking space like ours, there are loads of cool and quirky things you can do when you need to get up from your desk and take a break. Games, yes proper arcade games with Pac-Man, Space Invaders and even Moonpatrol on tap…suddenly it’s all about setting that high score. We’ve also got an old school vinyl record player with heaps of tunes and if you’re still feeling a little bored you can always grab a deck of cards and have a few games with someone.

    So there you have it. Five really great reasons to get out of your pajamas and book a desk here at Cape Town Office or any of the coworking spaces in Cape Town for that matter. It’s important that you find your tribe and settle in to a great working experience, so give me a shout if you want to check out CTO.

    Lizelle

    Your host at Cape Town Office

    August 10, 2015
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    Keeping on track.

    04-05-15

    It’s that time of year. We’re nearly half way through 2015, wow…can you believe that, so I thought it might be good to touch base and share how I’m doing on the old “things to do” list.

    Looking at my list at the start of this year there were a few familiar ones.

    1. Loose a few kilos
    2. Be more productive
    3. Find more creative things to do in my spare time

    Like I said all too familiar and alas … not quite as ahead of the game as I’d like. Although I have to give myself a bit of credit on a few things on that list that are some what better than the year before and isn’t that worth celebrating? I say YES – celebrate the little victories along the way, you don’t climb a mountain in one big leap after all, it’s one step at a time.

    As most women, the first item on my list is generally the one that causes a lot of angst and complimentary guilt. My vice is not the sweet stuff, but the delicious combination of barley, hops and wheat best served cold with a bit of a fizz. I am of course talking about beer, any beer but especially craft beer. Cape Town is such a haven for all things craft beer, from The Beer House on Long Street to our Cape Town Office local, Lefties – it’s just so hard to resist.  But, as I said it’s about keeping on track and celebrating those small victories and to that end I’m rather chuffed with myself by only visiting these fine establishments once a week now. It all helps.

    When it comes to productivity, I like most of you, suffer from syndrome known as “loss of time” directly attributed to scrolling aimlessly down the timeline of my social media fix, Facebook. Why is it that we care so much about what others are doing, seeing, drinking or even thinking? This is not a post that will attempt answering the question of our time, but rather how the hell do we cut the umbilical cord and shed that fear of missing out? #FOMO Here’s what I did and it works! I simply deleted the Facebook application from my phone. No, really it’s as simple as that. At first it was hard, really hard filling in time whilst sitting at Vida drinking coffee or standing in the lobby waiting on the lift when I’d usually just stare at my phone and scroll through the posts. The difference is in so small way, A M A Z I N G people. I highly recommend you do it today.

    I still pop in from time to time via my desktop to see what’s been happening, event invitations and wishing people far away Happy Birthday so it’s not like I went cold turkey, but it’s a start!

    The 3rd item on my list is an ongoing project. I’m very excited to be joining a weekly Life drawing class with good friend, Viky Petermann Rueda right here in the building at Artsauce Life drawing studio. It’s been a long, far too long, time since I’ve let the creative juices flow and I’m really looking forward to getting back into that rhythm. There are still spaces available, so if you’re keen on flexing that creative muscle, why not come along. Beginners (and trust me that’s where I’m at) are very welcome. https://www.facebook.com/events/863154777085807/

    We all get so busy with our daily routines, especially when you’re self employed / an entrepreneur that stopping every now and then to nurture that inner Picasso, Leonardo or Monet just moves further and further away.

    Academic researchers have begun to converge on the opinion that:

    “Considerable evidence now suggests that employee creativity can make a substantial contribution to an organization’s growth and competitiveness” (Baer & Oldham, 2006).

    Further in an article in The Economist it was suggested that the biggest challenge facing organizations is identifying and developing individuals with “brainpower (both natural and trained) and especially the ability to think creatively” (Frymire, 2006).

    (Creativitypost.com)

    So what do you to be more creative?

    In the world, this wonderful world of coworking I’m fortunate and blessed to be surrounded by some of the most creative thinkers and do’ers from all disciplines and walks of life. I love how a quick chat in the kitchen over a coffee can lead to a collaboration which may initially only be a small project, but has the potential to be the next big start up. Coworking is such a great way for all of us to be motivated in the morning, especially a Monday, to get out of bed and get to your desk. I wouldn’t change it for the world!

    Here’s to the start of a new month and in keeping with #StarwarsDay … May the 4th be with you!

    Cheers,

    Lizelle

     

    May 04, 2015
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    Coworking Africa – Cape Town – 23 & 24 July 2015

    Announcing the 1st Coworking Africa conference!

    More than 5.500 coworking spaces operate worldwide. Now, the Coworking wave has hit Africa. For the first time, the African coworking community is invited to gather in Cape Town, on July 23th and 24th 2015.

    Day 01: Insightful keynotes and panel discussions on the latest trends and inspiring stories from the Coworking community from Africa and beyond.

    Networking cocktail at The Design Bank coworking space.

    Day 02: Unconference – A whole day of barcamp which attendees choose and facilitate participatory workshops to celebrate collaboration and to share best practices. We will make sure there will be even more collaboration, interactions and meaningful encounters this year.

    Cape Town Coworking Tour

    At the end of the Barcamp/Unconference, on the second day, groups will leave for a guided tour of the Cape Town Coworking scene, across the city. The tour will end at the cocktail/party venue.

    Closing party at Cape Town Garage coworking space.

    Get a discount on the regular price !

    Two days left for booking your Coworking Africa conference Early Bird ticket. It will be available only until April 15th. Register now ! (http://coworkingafrica.com/book-now/)

    Feel free to call me or mail me if you have any questions!

    Lizelle – lizelle@capetownoffice.com / +2771 7620960

     

    Not sure what to expect? Check out highlights of the 2014 Coworking Europe Conference.

    Banner Big CWA 2015

    April 13, 2015