Transforming Diversity and Inclusion into Drivers of Growth

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First published by the European Coworking Assembly

There has been much uncertainty about what the future workplace will look like. Speaking to the Founder of Creative Blueprint, Coworking Canada, and COHIP, and one of the industry’s brightest minds, Ashley Proctor, we learned what she believes to be some of the biggest contributing factors towards shaping the future of work.

Coworking highlights

The Coworking IDEA project has been formally issuing challenges to the coworking industry for the past year. They have been trying to engage all of the coworking operators around the world in those challenges and to get them to apply what they learned, in their own communities. 

About Coworking IDEA Project challenges

The main idea was asking people to take a look at their own communities and put things into play that can be used by their own members in their spaces or at upcoming events. Some of the past challenges include: How to create and curate diverse and inclusive events, Supporting gender equity for working parents, Applying anti-racism tools in coworking spaces, and Accessibility

Main challenges faced by coworking industry and communities

The issue is like colonialism, systemic racism, and sexism, which are prominent in our society, also show up in the coworking industry—within communities and events. These are still issues that we’re grappling with as human beings. What’s changing is that these types of conversations are happening far easier than before, particularly over the pandemic, and since the murder of George Floyd. 

The biggest gift to give to the rest of the industry is to make a safe and inclusive space to hold these conversations and to encourage people to come. Even if they don’t feel that they have a lot of experience in this conversation or maybe with these topics. Maybe they’re new, maybe they’re afraid of getting the language wrong. 

The aim is to make it an accessible and safe entry point for people who are practising, who are learning how to be more inclusive, who might not have considered their privilege before. 

Is coworking sustainable?

Coworking is sustainable. The reason being is that the original founders of the movement, people who started coworking, did this because work was broken and the system wasn’t working for them. The reason coworking communities were created in the first place was to create a place where people can be included and have a safe area to complete work. 

The biggest lesson learnt over the years

Coworking, the verb, is the future of a concrete thing. It’s not just the future of work. Coworking is how we put people’s health and wellbeing first and how we strengthen the social safety net and provide relief to people. It’s how we prioritise the needs of workers in our communities and our neighbourhoods. It’s how we build resilience to prevent future crises. Collaborative effort is the only way forward.

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