Author: megan

"Integration Vs. Overtaking: How Has The Wheelhouse Met Waterloo Village Halfway?"

In the revitalization of any city, a seemingly rejuvenating renovation can unfortunately lead to exclusivity, and creating a space that targets a specific group, often time middle-upper class clients. However, businesses involved in revitalization projects do not have to conduct themselves this way; they can prioritize the well being of people and community, all the while creating an inclusive environment that still makes a profit. When the Wheelhouse opened in the Waterloo Village Area, we have made it a priority to be inclusive, and we have some tips for how prioritizing people and other small businesses can go a long way.

  • Supporting Local Businesses

As a new business integrating into a community, The Wheelhouse believes in the importance of supporting what was there before us. Our “business supporting business” mentality means that we are using the resources that are already around us, rather than overlooking them for a business outside the community. For example, The Wheelhouse’s cleaning and coffee services are both provided by neighbouring businesses, which supports development in Waterloo Village. This means that businesses supporting the community are being maintained, creating a healthy, thriving environment. Further, the nature of what The Wheelhouse has to offer attracts freelancers, professionals, artists, and remote workers, meaning that opportunities for inclusive business are being introduced to Waterloo Village. Since opening, The Wheelhouse’s members have included non-profits like Project Roar, B Corps like Adams Green, freelancers like NP Translations, businesses like The Pridham Group, Momentum Canada and Thompson Price Law. Each member offers something special to the community, regardless of how they choose to create an impact. The Wheelhouse is committed to creating a space where people can develop themselves personally and professionally. Whether they’re coming in for professional development courses, or becoming members and tenants, The Wheelhouse is providing space for people to have business connections in a supportive neighbourhood.

  • Supporting Social Enterprises and Non-profits

Positive change is extremely important to The Wheelhouse, which is why we support social enterprises and non-profits who provide services to the community that we cannot. Our neighbours, The Social Enterprise Hub, The Teen Resource Center and Outflow, are all unique organizations that play a huge role in supporting Waterloo Village. The Wheelhouse’s cleaning services are provided by Voila! Cleaning, and its coffee services provided by Stone Soup Café, both social enterprises housed in The Social Enterprise Hub. The Wheelhouse also works closely with the Saint John Learning Exchange, hosting workshops in our space as professional development courses. This said, while The Wheelhouse could not provide all of the support that Waterloo Village needs, we find organizations that can, and find ways to support them.

  • Inclusive Intentions

The Wheelhouse was founded on the motivation to have a positive impact, to serve the community that it’s based in, to politely have a place in Waterloo Village that’s inclusive and inviting. The Wheelhouse joined the Waterloo Village community with the intent to gently establish ourselves, and see what we could offer the people, not the other way around. Since opening a year ago, The Wheelhouse has made an effort to connect with other local businesses and create a community within the building that can extend to Waterloo Village.

When it comes to business, there’s a kinder way to do things: the world isn’t divided into entrepreneurs and customers or clients. The Wheelhouse is an excellent example of how those lines are blurred, how the business world doesn’t have to be cutthroat, or controlling. It can take the community, the people, the wellbeing of the customer and their competitors into account, all the while making a profit. Businesses, organizations, companies and non-profits have incredible potential to create positive change, to be inclusive and considerate of the community that was there before them. The Wheelhouse and other organizations in Waterloo Village are finding more ways to be apart of the inclusivity, to politely have a stance in a community that was there long before them.

"What I’ve Learned During My First 4 Months At The Wheelhouse"

There’s nothing quite like working out of a creative, inventive space, where every day is a unique experience, filled with friendly faces motivated towards creating positive change. I’ve had the incredible experience of working as an intern at The Wheelhouse of Waterloo Village for four months, witnessing the impact of a community inspired by making a difference. While The Wheelhouse has certainly taught me a lot this summer, here are three of the most important things that I’ve learned over the last four months:

  • Social Media and Marketing

The Wheelhouse has completely changed my perspective on social media. Marketing for a new business unlocks a whole other side of social media, giving me a broader understanding of how vital a platform is for networking, connecting, and reaching a diverse audience of potential members and customers. I had to consider that every word is something that can influence a potential connection when writing a new post, that details like word choice, graphics, and consistency are all a part of extending The Wheelhouse’s warm environment onto the internet.

  • The Beauty of a Coworking Community

Having had very little knowledge of coworking prior to my time at The Wheelhouse, I got to experience its benefits from a new perspective. My first impression was that coworking was something that everyone did differently. Some members preferred to stay in the main coworking space, sitting comfortably and taking part in the action happening around them. Others enjoyed the quiet of the lounge space or the patio, finding their sense of community through Wheelhouse events or course offerings. Similarly, while Wheelhouse tenants enjoyed all the amenities of their office, they were no strangers to the coworking space, often visiting for a quick conversation, or a change of scenery. The building is full of people experiencing coworking differently, and coming from different professional backgrounds and skill sets, yet everyone was still receiving all the professional support of a traditional office, with the bonus of flexibility and networking opportunities. Throughout the entirety of my internship, I continued to see evidence of Wheelhouse members committed to having a positive impact and receiving the support they needed from their fellow coworkers. It is so encouraging to see people who, professionally speaking, have little in common, working together to help each other make a difference.

  • Positive Impacts

Within my first week of working at The Wheelhouse, it was evident that everyone I was working with was motivated towards making their community, their professions, and Waterloo Village the best they could be. They are determined to be forces of positive change and help others make a difference in their personal and professional lives. Whether that be through something as simple as offering encouragement or support, sharing knowledge or skills with the community through Lunch and Learns, or working as a community to make kinder, stronger, businesses. The Wheelhouse community is dedicated to being forces of positive change. Through member interviews especially, I’ve seen that The Wheelhouse community believes that they can make their community a better place through their careers, and acts of patience and kindness, making our building a vibrant, encouraging space.

At The Wheelhouse, every day brings a new experience, a new friendly face, something exciting to learn. In a space that’s creative and encouraging, I’ve not only learned a new writing style, but I’ve also seen all the amazing outcomes of belonging to a coworking space.  In just four months, I’ve had the opportunity to see just how far kindness in business can go, and how a group of people motivated towards having an impact can make a really big difference.

"It Takes A Village: Why Waterloo Village Is The Perfect Location For The Wheelhouse"

Within The Wheelhouse’s first year of opening, we have fostered incredible relationships with our community. Our position in Waterloo Village provides us with unique opportunities to connect with businesses, non-profits, and individuals inspired by creating positive change. Our presence is more than just a building; we have become a space for people to thrive, give each other opportunities, bring all ideas regarding positive change under one roof. But why Waterloo Village? Why is it the perfect place for us to support others in having an impact?

  • Central Location

Evidently, being situated mere minutes away from the heart of Uptown Saint John is an extremely valuable asset. We are easy to find, and can be reached quickly on foot, or by public transportation, meaning that the commute isn’t a grave issue for many members, participants in events or workshops, or potential clients. Further, there’s the added appeal of enjoying one’s lunch hour Uptown or taking part in an event after work. Convenience is a great way to lift some unnecessary stress off someone’s shoulders, and our location is one of many ways that The Wheelhouse is able to do so. Waterloo Village gives The Wheelhouse the opportunity to have a positive impact in a community that needs a little extra love and attention. Our diverse network of members draws business, attention, and resources into the community, presenting opportunities to politely make a positive impact. Our location puts us in the perfect place to offer support, foster new ideas, and spread positivity in business, in our members, and in our neighbourhood.

  • Network of Social Enterprises and Non-Profits

Positive interactions create a positive space, and Waterloo Village has a web of organizations motivated to create positive social change. Places like The Hub, Outflow, and The TRC were already immense forces for change within the neighbourhood, and The Wheelhouse was eager to assist and encourage them in having a positive impact. The Wheelhouse is a place where people can connect and generate new ideas, a space for good ideas to develop and flourish.  We want to be an open, supportive place that can make a difference, and Waterloo Village was the perfect community in which to collaborate, connect, and support one another.

  • Bridging the Gap Between Waterloo Village and Uptown Saint John

The Wheelhouse’s location in Waterloo Village was the perfect space to connect the for profit and non-profit parts of the city, and to foster meaningful relationships with both parties. Situated perfectly in between Uptown Saint John and the heart of Waterloo Village, The Wheelhouse is a great place for people to meet halfway and seek to make either side of town the best it can be.  Our building is where business and non-profit coincide, a way for us to bring people of any profession under one roof to share ideas and contribute towards positive social change.

Waterloo Village has much to offer its residents, its businesses, and its organizations, making it an excellent location to harbour forces for good. An optimistic environment like this makes Waterloo Village an encouraging place to connect with others and cultivate even more positive plans. The Wheelhouse is proud to be a place where people can gather to have a positive impact, in a neighbourhood that cares.

"Working From Home: For Better Or For Worse"

As the workforce is evolving to catch up with rapidly developing technology, and office spaces are attempting to become more environmentally and economically friendly, working from home has become an appealing solution for employees and employers. More and more workers are taking advantage of efficient technology and choosing to work from home, but few consider all the resources at their disposal before setting up their home office. This said, while the thought of working from your couch is certainly tempting, there are a variety of factors to consider before making the transition.

Pros:

Aside from working exclusively in comfy clothes, there are many obvious appeals to working from home. You can set your own hours, work when you’re most productive, in a space where you feel comfortable and confident. There’s complete autonomy over how you want to spend your day, without the stress of a commute to work, or the hustle and bustle of a potentially very busy office. There’s the option to choose what you want your work environment to look (or sound like), crafting your chosen workplace to suit your individual, professional needs.

Cons:

Although working from home may seem ideal, there are some unspoken disadvantages to take into consideration. Seemingly lovely perks, like setting your own schedule, also mean maintaining your focus in a realm of distractions and keeping your productivity levels up without support from your coworkers. Further, difficulties focusing can be accompanied with anxiety about one’s worth as an employee, and pressure to make oneself available at all hours of the day, so as to appear busy. The “out of sight, out of mind” mentality can result in loneliness, which can eventually lead to career burnout. There is a lot to juggle, with little of the support that coworkers, a set routine, and a communal space provide, leaving many once optimistic workers feeling isolated and defeated.

So, is there a way to have the best of both worlds? To take part in the growing trend of working remotely, while also maintaining a supportive, productive, and functional environment? Avoiding isolation will make the transition all the easier, especially if you’re choosing to work in a motivational, supportive space. Coworking is the “healthy medium” between working from home and working in a traditional office space. It offers the flexibility of working remotely, but you’ll be working amongst other professionals, providing the support, encouragement and motivation that a traditional workplace offers. In short, coworking offers all the benefits of working from home, without isolation and distractions, and the added benefit of being a part of a supportive community.  You’ll become acquainted with likeminded professionals who offer unique networking opportunities, and personal and professional support. Coworking offers you an environment that separates work from home, but offers the option to blur those lines, should you so choose. It combats isolation, offers free coffee, and still has a positive impact environmentally and economically

"Working Hard or Hardly Working: Searching For Productivity"

When it comes to productivity, there are so many factors to take into consideration. The smallest things like motivation, distractions, or the environment in which you’re working can have a monumental impact on your productivity but can be taken care of once you find a space that offers the support you need. This said, here are three important things to consider when trying to find the perfect space to get stuff done:

  • Distractions

If you’re a freelancer or remote worker without a set office, the comforts of home will soon become the distractions of home. It’s difficult to find a balance between work and play in a setting that you associate with play, or offers enough temptations to convince you not to work. A coffee shop offers a similar problem. Oftentimes, a coffee shop offers a lounge setting that many people will take advantage of to catch up with a friend, talk on the phone, or meet new people. While this is certainly nice, it’s far from a distraction free environment. In a coworking space, you’ll not only receive all the comforts of home, but you’ll be surrounded by people who are also working hard. Better still, in a coworking space, casual chats with your coworkers can spark new ideas, new connections, and create networking opportunities: you’ll be productive without even knowing it! Comfort, no distractions, free coffee: what more could you want?

  • Generating New Ideas

Hubs of freelancers, entrepreneurs, and remote workers are all an incredible asset to your work. While home offices and coffee shops are certainly nice short term, the coworking alternative offers the interaction with other entrepreneurs, freelancers, and professionals that can increase your productivity and business connections.  Coworking not only provides community and relationships with likeminded people, it also provides an endless amount of resources and support. It has a special way of connecting people you never would have expected to meet.

  • Other People Being Productive = You Being Productive

Finding the motivation to be productive, or that spark of inspiration, is something that many professionals strive for, and something that is heavily influenced by where you choose to work. Working from home is certainly appealing, but there’s also little external motivation to enhance your productivity. The same can be said of the coffee shop. Although there are fewer distractions, there’s little of the support that’s essential for professional growth. In a coworking space, you’ll be surrounded by other working professionals, encouraging you to keep your focus. Better yet, a room full of likeminded individuals can offer advice, support, and business connections: resources that are incredibly beneficial to professionals.

When in search of a place to work, it’s all about what your workplace has to offer you, considering what you need to be productive. Not only does everyone work differently, but every space prioritizes different things, or has a specific purpose. All you need to do is find a space that motivates you or caters to your needs as a professional, whether that be in a home office, a coffee shop, or a coworking space.

"Keeping Your Office Organized: 3 Organizational Tips From Someone Who Interned For Lawyers and Business Owners"

When you work in a bustling office setting, keeping everything organized can become difficult, especially if you don’t quite know where to start. After interning for both lawyers and business owners, I’ve come to understand the many benefits of staying organized, as well as the uncertainty of not having the structure that organization brings. With this in mind, here are three tips that will make life at the office easier for you, and your coworkers:

  • Label everything

The first thing to note when organizing your office, is that labels are your best friend. Make sure that they’re visible, easy to read, and if possible, detailed. An unclear label defeats the purpose of having a label. For example, a file reading “disclosure” is not as effective as a file reading “completed disclosure forms”. Small changes like these will save you, and your coworkers, a lot of time, stress, and confusion, and will make sure that nothing important gets lost in the shuffle.

  • Create a system that anyone could follow

Having everything organized in a way that’s best for you is certainly nice, but if you want to ensure that it stays well organized, consider a system that is easy for anyone to adapt to. Should your system become too complicated, you may find it becomes innocently disorganized in other’s attempts to help or find what they need. To avoid this chaos, always remember that someone completely unaware of how you’ve organized something should have your system figured out at a mere glace.  Organizing something alphabetically or by date are means that are both common and effective. Consistency is also important. Once you commit to an organization strategy, follow through with it. For example, if you’re filing member agreements alphabetically by last name, make sure that all the member agreements are filed this way. This will help you avoid losing something important, and help you find something quickly.

  • Communication is key

Much like anything, communication is the key to maintaining organization in an office space. Be sure to inform your coworkers if you’re borrowing or moving something and put it back where you found once you’re done. In the case that you are reorganizing, keep your coworkers in the loop, and be sure to work together to create a system that works best for everybody. Everything will be more likely to stay organized this way, and you’ll ensure that the new system is something everyone can maintain.

Organization is far from universal. There’s a different system in every office, at every desk space, perceived differently by each individual. While it’s certainly difficult to find a system to please everyone, it is important to take the majority into consideration, to make everything easy and accessible.  It will not only make your life easier, but it will also improve efficiency, and moral, at everyone’s desk.

"3 Things I Learned In My First Month At The Wheelhouse"

The Wheelhouse is a creative, innovative, and imaginative space, where no two days are exactly the same. Working at The Wheelhouse means that each day is a new experience filled with happy faces, kind people, and creative collaboration. Even after two and a half months in this beautiful building, each day continues to be an exciting learning curve for me. Although The Wheelhouse team has taught me more tips and tricks than I can count, I have no doubt that these are the top three most important things I’ve learned during my first month at The Wheelhouse!

  1. Intro to Coworking

Before The Wheelhouse, my knowledge of coworking was limited, and I was unsure how I would fit into the mix, or what coworkers would expect of me as an intern. Within my first two weeks, I became acquainted with The Wheelhouse members, all of whom experienced coworking differently. Some preferred the hot desk approach and were a regular presence in communal spaces. Others were tenants, and although they worked primarily in their private offices, they were still a regular presence within the building. There were also members with corporate memberships, or people who frequently rented the space for meetings and conferences. Regardless of how the members chose to work, they quickly revealed the primary appeal to coworking: community. People, who were very different professionally speaking, had all found their way to this collaborative space, and were finding unique ways to support and encourage each other.  It was uplifting to see a building full of people going out of their way to be kind and create a positive impact in a neighbourhood that needed patience and attention.

  • Social Media for Business

Social media was something I was certainly not a stranger to, but using social media for something besides self expression was uncharted territory for me. I had to learn how to use social media to direct attention to The Wheelhouse, to have a presence that caught people’s eye. There was a strategy to it that I’d never considered before. I was taught that wording, timing, and frequency were staples in a successful social media platform. Marketing strategy, and reaching an intended audience are evolving goals, and are skills that I’ll have the pleasure of learning for the duration of my time at The Wheelhouse.

  • Promotional Writing 101

A new voice, a new audience, and a new goal: switching from informative to promotional writing was a personal challenge during my first month at The Wheelhouse. It involved rewiring my brain to reconsider the purpose of what I was writing. How I was presenting research, an idea, or an interview had to be tailored to appeal to a new audience, who would have entirely different intentions when reading my posts. Rather than writing for a grade, I was writing to invite people into The Wheelhouse community, or encouraging people to visit the coworking space, and participate in events and workshops. It was a welcome challenge to adopt a warmer, more persuasive writing style, for the sake of bringing people together.

As of now, I’ve had the pleasure of working at The Wheelhouse for two and a half months, and every day continues to be a new experience. Whether it’s an exciting new skill, person, or event, this beautiful building continues to provide me with a new learning curve everyday. I look forward to seeing what The Wheelhouse, and the next month and a half, have to teach me.

"How To Have Your Cake And Eat It Too: Being A Tenant With All The Amenities Of A Coworking Space"

Being a tenant in a coworking space means that your surroundings entertain two extremes: either the isolation of an office space, or the hustle and bustle of the coworking space. But how can you enjoy both to their utmost? Is there a way to enjoy the solitude of your office while also experiencing the community aspect of coworking? Explore these three tips, and see how you can have the best of both worlds!

  1. Come to events

If you’re someone who needs to work out of their office but is enticed by their coworking community, participate in events! They allow you to get the most out of your office, while also interacting with your coworking community. Because you may not be working alongside your fellow coworkers, events are a great way to stay grounded in the community, relax, create connections, and enjoy your coworkers’ company in an interactive setting.

  •  Have a presence

By using communal spaces, you can take time to dabble in the community when you’re comfortable, and then recede to your office space when you need to. Have a presence in the coworking space by taking a few moments every day to interact with others in the building. Even saying a quick “good morning” before you start your day will give you some engagement with the community! 

  • Coworking vs Office Space: Why Choose?

The great thing about being a tenant in a coworking space is that you have options. You can choose whether you want to work in your office, or in the communal coworking space. Don’t be afraid to use that option to your advantage! Take some time to explore both working environments; you certainly don’t have to be confined to your office. By using communal spaces, you can take time to dabble in the community when you’re comfortable, and then recede to your office space when you need to.

The incredible thing about coworking is that everyone does it differently: there’s not a “right” way to approach coworking. If you’re a tenant with an office space, engage with your community in a way that feels the most comfortable. For example, if you’re someone who loves working around lots of people, your fellow coworkers will be more than happy to see you in the communal spaces, but if you prefer working alone, you’ll be greeted with equal enthusiasm when you choose to resurface. Creating an environment where you can have your cake and eat it too is subjective. You’ll only feel like you’re getting the best of both worlds if you’re enjoying your coworking experience, regardless of what that may look like.

"3 Ways To Break The Ice At Your New Coworking Space"

Coworking spaces often discuss the beauty of the communities they’ve built, but when you’re about to join that community for the first time, those first introductions can be intimidating. Although you certainly don’t have to be nervous, there are three important things to remember when you’re the new kid on the block and looking to connect with others at your coworking space.   

  • Sit in communal spaces for the first few days

Something important to keep in mind is that you’ll be more likely to meet new people if you’re around people. Take some time to sit in communal spaces; you’ll become more familiar, more approachable, and appear as if you’re interested in engaging with your new coworkers. Further, you’ll also become more familiar with the pace of the coworking space, perhaps giving you more confidence to introduce yourself or interact with the space itself.

  • Mix personal and professional conversation

Coworking is so much more than sharing an office space, it’s about building relationships, making connections, and growing both personally and professionally in a shared space. This said, you can’t build well rounded relationships with your new coworkers if you are keeping your conversations one-sided. When meeting someone new, try to present an honest picture of yourself. Discuss your job, your hobbies, and be open and engaging in the face of new conversation. The relationships you build while coworking are invaluable, so be open minded; the beauty of coworking is that you never know who you’ll meet, and what they can offer.

  • Participate in events

Because so many coworking spaces are passionate about building community, they often offer events that are a great way to connect with new people. You’ll not only learn something new, but you’ll be sharing an experience with other coworkers. Events create opportunities to have a conversation and meet new people, so when you participate in events and workshops, it shows that you’re interested in being a part of the community.

Each coworking community is unique. Every space will boast different professionals, different events, and different dynamics. While it may seem intimidating at first, the beauty of these invaluable spaces is that they all have something special to offer you, including the relationships you make while you’re in that space. Further still, remember that your new coworkers will learn something from you as well. Coworking is a learning experience for everyone, and you get to contribute to that.

"5 Things You Should Know If You’re Considering Coworking"

In recent years, coworking has become increasingly popular, attracting people from countless professions who are looking to experience more engaging, creative work environment. Each coworking space is different and offers unique experiences to their coworkers, so it’s important to know what you’re hoping to get out of your coworking space. There’s a lot to consider, but there are five important things you should know about coworking whilst searching for your perfect coworking space.

  • Does the vibe of the space suit your needs? (Louder and more conversational/ quiet and individualistic/ a mix of the two?)

Always keep in mind that a coworking space is where you’re going to need to be productive and comfortable. Pick a space that has a vibe you’ll be able to work to your utmost potential in. For example, if you’re someone who likes a lot of background noise when they’re working, choose a high energy coworking space with lots of traffic and communal space. However, if you’re someone who likes complete silence when you’re working, be sure to pick a space with quieter coworkers, and a nice space where you can work alone if you need to. If you’re uncomfortable and unproductive in your coworking space, it’s probably not a good fit for you. Take a good look around, be observant! Most coworking spaces have a drop-in rate, so you can experience the space and see if it’s the right fit for you before you purchase a membership. It’s better to be safe than sorry, after all!

  • Can the coworking space accommodate you professionally?

If you’re work requires you to be on the phone frequently, or meeting with clients, then these are things you need to consider when scoping out a coworking space. The right space for you will meet all your needs and allow you to work with ease. If you’re meeting with clients, make sure that they have a conference room that can be available, and have a quiet space to make calls are all things you should take into consideration. Your coworking space should be someplace where you can work with ease, and if it can offer you everything you need, it’ll just make your coworking experience all the better!

  • What does the space offer to create a sense of community?

Every coworking space approaches community differently, so all you have to do is find one that matches your needs. Some spaces are not community oriented at all, whereas others are very focused on networking and connecting. If you’re someone who craves community, try to look for a space with lots of events and activities that you can be apart of. However, if you’re someone who prefers a more subdued environment, find a space where your social obligations are limited to friendly conversations with your desk mates!

  • Do they have space where you can choose to work comfortably (couches, lounges, etc.) or at a desk?

Being able to work comfortably is important, so when looking for your perfect coworking space, see what they can offer you in terms of comfort. Do they have couches, lounges, or cozy chairs? Are there lots of different places where you can sit and work? Places like these are not only great for productivity, but they also create an awesome setting in which to form personal relationships with your fellow coworkers.

  • What do they offer besides a place to work?

The special thing about coworking is that each coworking space offers something different. Sometimes their offerings are something included in the price, such as free coffee/tea and snacks, but other times, they might offer an engaging community, a welcoming environment, or kind, likeminded people. If there’s a coworking space that you’re interested in, see if you can drop in for the day. Engage with some of the people coworking there and try to imagine yourself working there everyday.

When it comes to coworking, every space offers something unique. There’s no “right way” to cowork, just like there’s no “perfect coworking space”. Everyone’s experience with coworking is inimitable; everyone works differently, and each coworking space offers them a unique community and environment. Regardless of where you choose to cowork, coworking is an incomparable experience. It offers a whole new level of support, encouragement, and professional engagement that you truly cannot get anywhere but a coworking space.

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