Sometimes it takes an outside perspective to see what should be blindingly obvious.
Dawn and I always knew the kind of coworking space we wanted to create. It would be professional yet non-corporate, playfully productive, with a facilitated friendliness. WabiSabi would cater for and encourage a diverse range of members in terms of businesses, ages, sectors, nationalities and personality traits. Choice, too, was vital, so that the users of our space could choose where, when, and how to work.
But how do you bring all these moving parts together?
We explained our coworking vision to Niall Carlin of Double Jump Studios. Niall met with us to discuss our Kickstarter video, which he would record and edit.
We also told him about our background as trainers with a mental health charity, and the courses in Emotional Intelligence and Positive Psychology I had designed and delivered in university departments and Dawn’s work with CAUSE on Resilience, and our total commitment to erasing the stigma around poor mental health.
“So it’s all about positive mental health at work then, is it?”
Dawn and I looked at each other.
“Well, yes… Yes, it is!” we said, at first cautiously, then with gusto. We should have known.
I’ve studied games and play for years in my capacity as a designer of training materials and courses, in order to increase their power and participant buy-in. One of my favourite insights is from a brilliant book by Brian Sutton-Smith called The Ambiguity of Play. In it he says:
“The opposite of play isn’t work. The opposite of play is depression.”
We Want WabiSabi To Be a Place Where People Come to Play
That doesn’t mean it’s a place for rest, recreation and relaxation, although it might include those, at the right time and way. Rather, we want a workspace that is structured and infused with all that is positive and playful. We want a workspace that keeps depression out and allows mental flourishing in. We want a workplace that does all this deliberately, continually, and structurally.
Our workspace will facilitate this by its location and (hopefully) view. It will do this through its layout and design. It will embrace positive light and colour. It will take into account air, temperature and sound. Even its chairs, desks, and furniture will contribute to a healthy environment. Décor, plants and art will be the cherry on the cake. It will support mental flourishing, above all, through its people.
WabiSabi Concerns the Pursuit of Happyness at Work
You’ve seen the film The Pursuit of Happyness, right? (This might explain our creative spelling!) We want a workspace that proactively pursues the arts of happiness in the acts of work.
As community curators, we can’t create happiness, but what we can do is create a workspace that actively enables members and users to pursue it for themselves. That’s what we want for ourselves, and what we want to share with others.
It’s a beautiful, exciting, optimistic vision of our life from 9 to 5, Monday to Friday (ish).
Can you share it? Will you join us?
Image credit: freemovieposters