Featured Member: Matt Greenwood, Desk Cowork - Swindon, England

 

Where are you located?

We are located in Swindon in the United Kingdom. It’s about a 1 hour drive from London, 1 hour the other side to Bristol, and 45 minutes or so to Oxford. Around 200,000 people live here!

How many members enjoy your coworking space?

43 members in our space, 10 of which are full time residents and the rest tend to come in on average once a week!

What is the reason you opened your coworking space?

Having moved back to Swindon after starting a business abroad, I started to get lonely and bored of working for myself. I was losing motivation and couldn’t work out why. I tried coffee shops, libraries, Regus hotdesk lounges but just couldn’t knack it. After a while I found other business owners in my home town who were in the same boat - bored and de-motivated by working with the cat at home every day! I decided to be the super hero and take on this mission to open a space where we could all work together with little more than a few nods from 10 or so excited people.

Why did you join Cowork University?

Cowork University was a no brainer. Cowork spaces in England (with the exception of London) are few and far apart – and learning about how to do it was just so difficult. Literally trial and error for the last 2 years. I have only just found Cowork University, and I love sharing my experiences with other space owners and operators and learning from them too.

How is Cowork University supporting you and your ideas?

It’s like a real big brain dump every time we have our monthly hangouts, and even if we discuss something that is not a present concern of mine, sometimes it just sparks a lightbulb moment or arms me with a solution to a future problem. And now, I know who to call when I have a particular hurdle to jump.

Are you involved in any additional coworking projects (other than your space)?

I am currently working a new exciting concept that I have been so excited to try since opening. A passion of mine is good coffee, and I always wanted to combine good coffee with amazing and inspiring places to work. Low and behold, project X is a totally cool, coffee shop/cowork space/event space/meeting space. A community in the shop with a wonderful door that leads to a thriving cowork space – a hub for entrepreneurs.

What excites you the most about the future of the coworking industry?

The future of work is changing at such a rate, and the office space model is changing. Lean startups and companies wanting to grow fast or just starting out can’t afford to sign 5 to 10 year leases on properties, so are looking for more flexible space.

Cowork spaces aren’t for everyone, that shouldn’t be assumed. But what is certain is that people are fast realising the improvement in their productivity, networks and work life enjoyment. For me, the increasing demand for flexible workspace is an exciting business opportunity that delivers more than just a healthy bottom line. Coworking adds value directly to people’s lives, businesses and relationships. And if I can say anything for certain, it’s that i’ve made friendships and contacts to last a lifetime.

 

Other insights you’d like to add…

If you’re thinking of starting a cowork space, my two tips are this.

 

  1. There are no rules as to what a cowork space should be – every space is so different, and every demographic will want different things. Don’t get too hung up on the initial fit out – start on a budget and your members will help you shape it as you grow. When you show people around they will suggest what they need, and with a pinch of salt its all about tailoring the space to just that.
  2. Join Cowork University.

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